Formerly unwanted stray dog saves lives by donating blood

CORBIN (AP) — An unwanted stray dog has become a hero at the Corbin Animal Clinic, donating blood to other dogs dozens of times since he ran up to Rebecca Bryant one snowy day six years ago.

The Times-Tribune reports Rebecca was 13 at the time, and she took Rascal home to her mother, Deborah Berry Bryant, a veterinary technician.

Deborah Bryant said she started taking the dog to work with her, intending to give him away, but nobody wanted him.

Then one day a patient dog needed blood.

“He was the only healthy donor here, and I said, ‘Well, you need to earn your keep!’ Because he comes here and he uses a cage, he sleeps, he eats here, he donates blood for the clinic,” Deborah Bryant said.

Since then, staff have lost track of how many times Rascal has given blood, but they say it must be in the dozens.

“He’s saved a lot of lives,” Bryant said.

Veterinarian Addison Hamlin said dogs need blood transfusions for a lot of different reasons including infections, poisonings, wounds from gunshots or being hit by a car and certain illnesses. Unlike humans and cats, Hamlin said, dogs do not have to be blood typed for their first transfusion, so any dog that hasn’t had a previous transfusion can accept blood from Rascal.

Clinic staff said Rascal gets a little nervous when they reach for the needles because he knows what’s coming. But he doesn’t avoid it. And afterward, he always gets a treat or a meal.

Rebecca Bryant, who now works part-time at the clinic, remembers the puppy that nobody wanted. Things are different now.

“Everybody wants him!” she said.

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