Dog Donates Blood - Helps Save Lives - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Dog Donates Blood - Helps Save Lives

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It's never really a good thing when during a life saving operation, one of your organs makes the doctors gasp.

"It's huge. It's huge, huge," said the doctor and his assistant.

Normally the size of a deck of cards, the spleen is four times that, engorged with a large amount of the patient's blood.

"This is where having the blood on hand, having Winston's blood, that sort of thing is key," said Dr. Mike Jones.

That's right, Winston is the name of the blood donor, something not normally revealed, but Winston isn't your normal blood donor.

"They call us when they need it," said Winston's mom, proud as can be of her boxer.

"Boxers are the universal blood donors for dogs," she said.

And they are also, apparently, allergic to the media (as Winston sneezes on our camera) but other than that he's healthy as a horse. Running around outside with the kids, pretending he's a shark under the trampoline, grabbing on to a rope with his wife Libby.

"He and Libby, they took to each other and so the kids married them in a ceremony?," she said.

Hey, if you're gonna shower together you better be married. It's the kind of life every life-saving dog deserves. It's the kind of life, a dog that has his life saved appreciates.

"The doctors that saw him felt like he had acid poured on him or something," she said.

This is what Winston looked liked when they first got him; seriously wounded, starving, infected.

"It took like an hour or so to clean out all the maggots," she said.

His very sight scared the kids, the potential damage to his psyche scared mom and dad.

"I mean we thought for a little while, we might have to, you know, take him back," she said.

But as sure as his scars healed, his personality turned out to be all love, well, except to certain boys.

"He doesn't like men to talk to Amanda," she laughed.

What he doesn't seem to mind, is having a huge needle plunged into his jugular every few months to donate.

"He's doing very, very well," said the woman drawing his blood.

"Dogs and cats need blood, just like we do in emergency situations," said Dr. Rebekah Heinz.

A situation that would be faced by a Yorkie named Barkley.

"He was a wedding gift , we've had him for 9 1/2 years.," said his owner.

His malfunctioning spleen had to be removed, with most of his blood in it.

"Now he's gonna have a little bit of boxer blood in him, so I'll be interested to see if it, if he thinks he's a little tougher now at this point," she said.

The answer, seen in his driver seat position as he left the clinic.

"He's ready!" she said.

And Winston, the brutality and chaos of his past behind him, now enjoys a life of peace and quiet.

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