Lubbock greyhound donates blood to save dogs' lives
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Every two seconds nationwide, someone needs blood.
This is a statistic provided by the American Red Cross, because they have found there are 36,000 units of red blood cells needed each day.
While they share this information in hopes for more donors, what is not commonly known is dogs and other pets have the same needs when they have surgery.
"You hear about it in people, but not animals," Jennifer Brown said, "so it was kind of a shock to me that they did that."
Brown learned about dog donors after her toy Australian Shepherd, Stormi, did not act like herself two years ago.
"She got real sick and couldn't hardly walk, and would kind of fall over and didn't want to play ball," Brown said, "and that's when we knew something was wrong."
Brown had only had Stormi for a year at that point, but their relationship was already strong.
"It was just me and her living together when I was in college," Brown said. "She was my little sidekick…went everywhere with me."
So it was devastating to Brown when a vet discovered that Stormi was anemic.
"She needed blood or she wasn't going to make it," Brown said. "She was my child at that time, it was just me and her…and so I thought, 'I've got to save her.'"
Miles away in Lubbock was the only option Stormi had left – a greyhound named Kylie, who is one of four dogs Lynn Tiedemann has rescued.
"She was a victim in an animal cruelty case," Tiedemann said.
But with love and pampering, Kylie recovered well enough to become a blood donor.
"The only thing is just that everything looks good, and they're good and healthy," Tiedemann said. "They have to weigh enough to be at least 55, 60 pounds…so as long as she meets all the criteria, then she's good to go."
Lynn's other greyhound, Awny, was not able to pass those tests.
"Awny has had a tick borne disease," Tiedemann said, "and so that kind of rules her out for being able to do that."
As a member of a Lubbock greyhound rescue group, Tiedemann knows one of this breed's unique qualities.
"Seventy percent of them have the same blood type that's the most popular one that can be universally donated," she said.
So for the past six years, Kylie's blood has given the gift of life to veterinarians like Blaine Oden.
"It's not something that happens every day," Oden said, "but it's something that when you need that blood, it's nice to have it."
Shelved blood only lasts a few days, Oden said, but in emergencies he needs it within hours.
"Sooner, in some situations," he said. "But I'll call the owner of the dog, such as Lynn, and she will bring her dog up there if she's available at that time."
While a needle to Kylie's neck has never made her whimper or cry, it almost has that effect on Tiedemann.
"I tell you, it is harder on me than it is on her," Tiedemann said.
Once Kylie donates her pint, she is pampered.
"Afterwards they get really good high-fat meal as a treat," Oden said. "It helps them to recover."
Tiedemann believes that is Kylie's motivation.
"Selfish, but it worked out," she said.
When Tiedemann got a call about Stormi's last chance, Kylie was ready to step in.
"I think that it's just a wonderful feeling to do the right thing," Tiedemann said.
While Kylie donated blood, Tiedemann also gave freely with words of encouragement that stuck much longer than the needle.
"Those times where you're able to actually meet them and talk to them and maybe say a little prayer with them…that was always something I would try and do," Tiedemann said.
That encouragement gave Brown hope.
"She was just so sweet and loved on Stormi before she went in there," Brown said.
That is because out of the 20 times Kylie has donated… Tiedemann has learned a hard lesson.
"It's not always a favorable outcome," she said.
But when Kylie's blood filled Stomi's tiny body, it brought the twinkle back into Stormi's eyes.
"You could tell pretty quick that she was back to normal," Brown said. "They didn't want us to play too much for a while, just to make sure."
Which means thanks to time from a stranger, all Stormi has to worry about these days is her attention competition…Jennifer's newborn daughter.
"I'm glad that we were able to do that transfusion because we have her now," Brown said, "and now my little girl can play with her and they'll be best friends just like me and Stormi are."
At eight years old, Kylie is about ready to retire from donating blood.
To help with this need, Tiedemann suggests asking your vet if they have any needs for blood donors and if your dog would be a good match.
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