How one adorable wolfhound helps other animals stay alive
ONE day, this dog could save your pet's life.
Abandoned in a paddock as a tiny little puppy, Bruce found his purpose as blood donor dog after he was rescued by Southern Downs ARK just over two years ago.
He is one of a small group of canines in Warwick that come to the rescue when a medical emergency strikes.
While falling supplies of human blood cause alarm, dedicated dogs like Bruce play a crucial role when the region's veterinarians have an animal in need.
"If you were using blood on a regular basis, you might have a collection program that gives you access to blood all the time," veterinary nurse Tarni Boyce said.
But in rural practices, dogs like Bruce are the on-call donors staff rely on to treat their patients.
"Having a nice, calm nature like Bruce is very important because they have to lie still and give us nearly half a litre of blood," veterinary nurse Zoe Cox said.
"Afterwards he is spoilt with a nice meal and warm area for a bit of rest."
Bruce found his calling as the clinic dog and resident blood donor at Condamine Veterinary Clinic after he was rescued from a paddock near Stanthorpe.
In the past 14 months he has given about five life-saving donations.
Mrs Cox said Bruce's size was one of the most important factors in making him the perfect donor dog.
"He grew very, very big and we realised he could also work as a blood donor," she said.
"The bigger the dog, the less impact blood donating has on him."
When Bruce has filled his quota of donations, other dogs are called on to help.
Warwick veterinarian Coralyn Turner said blood transfusions were sometimes required when animals consumed rat bait or were struck down with immune diseases.
But although there are about 12 different blood types in the canine species, Dr Turner from Warwick Town and Country Vets said most dogs could donate and receive blood.
"Usually anything can give to anything, but there is a higher risk in cats," Dr Turner said.