Canine blood donations critical to saving pets' lives

Isa Farnham and her four dogs feel like family at the Blue Pearl Pet Hospital in Tampa.

So much so, the Blue Pear team has a special name for them.

"We are the love pack. They're all rescues," said Farnham.

Every two months, the love pack travels all the way from Weeki Wachee to Tampa to donate blood.

"Because it's a necessary function and this is our way of giving back to the community," said Farnham.

The canine blood bank's director, Dr. Dee Ann Dugger said doggy blood donation is essential to saving lives. 

"And it is a great, feel-good kind of thing," she added.

Just like people, they each have a blood type. The blood donated by the dogs could be needed right away.

"Sometimes we'll get a member of the critical care team that will run over, and it's happened before where they've needed fresh, whole blood immediately and we'll be able to have her blood go into a patient that's in the hospital," said blood bank coordinator Lalania Hill.

Of course, it's important that the donors are comfortable with the procedure.

"It is a wonderful experience for our pets. If they're not having a good experience then we do not keep them in the program because we do not want this to be a stressful event," said Dr. Dugger.


The donors also benefit from this act of giving.

"They get a ton of blood work to screen and make sure their pets are staying healthy, not exposed to any infectious disease. They get treats, they get lots of love," said Dr. Dugger. "Three of the four are getting their two-gallon certificates because they've donated 16 times and that's a nice little milestone."

The love pack of rescues may not realize the lives they are saving, but their mom does.

"It means a lot to me because I know that we're giving back and if there's anything we can do to help other families save their fur babies, then it's just as important to me if someone did for us," said Farnham.

Pets need to meet certain requirements to become donors. For more information, visit