Pet Tales: Blood drive for dogs




A playful pug puppy named Daisy was having a great time exploring the landscaped yard of a relative. It's a good thing her owners were watching carefully because they saw Daisy eat a very small number of pretty green pellets hidden amid the plants.

Sean and Nadine Merry knew the pellets were rat poison. They pried her mouth open and removed the pellets. Daisy was fine for three days, but on the fourth day she had diarrhea and then just fell over.

They rushed her from their Crafton home to their veterinarian, who said Daisy's gums were white, a sign of internal bleeding from ingesting poison. He told the family to take Daisy to Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Ohio Township.

It was touch and go for four days. The puppy was in an oxygen tent, hooked up to IV lines as vet specialists treated her with vitamin K and blood transfusions.

"The veterinarians said Daisy might not make it. It was very scary, but they saved her life," said Nadine Merry.

That was 31/2 years ago. The family -- which includes two children and pugs Bean, 6, and Levi, 10 -- now lives in Waterford, just south of Erie.

"You'd never know Daisy was so sick," Mrs. Merry said. "She is funny and feisty." The specialists had warned that Daisy could have permanent liver damage, but follow-up blood tests gave her a clean bill of health.

Daisy is a poster dog for canine blood donors. The Blood Bank for Animals, part of the nonprofit Animal Care and Assistance Fund, is hosting a canine blood drive from 10 a.m. to noon next Saturday at PVSEC, 807 Camp Horne Road, Ohio Township (15237). Appointments aren't necessary, but they'd like a head count. Contact program director Jessica Balogh at jbalogh@pvs-ec.com or 412-348-2588.

At the blood drive, they'll draw small amounts of blood to test and screen would-be canine donors. Volunteers will get $300 worth of blood work, and if anything bad or suspicious shows up, the dog owner will be notified. Results of all blood work will be forwarded to the dog's regular veterinarian.

If a dog is approved as a donor, an appointment will be made to draw about a pint of blood. Canine donors must be 1 to 7 years old and 50 pounds or larger.

In addition to poisoning, dogs that need blood or plasma include those diagnosed with cancer, anemia or clotting problems. Dogs that have suffered major trauma from motor vehicle accidents may need them, too. Blood is sometimes needed during surgery.

Advancements in veterinary specialty services have increased the demand for blood transfusions. There is a national shortage of stored blood, according to the news release from PVSEC. The blood bank currently has 67 approved donors, some of them personal pets of PVSEC employees, including the veterinarians.

Free Fur Fall

There will be no adoption fees at the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center next Saturday. And, you can bring your pets in for free micro-chipping, toenail trims and dog baths.

The offers are part of Free Fur Fall, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the shelter at 6620 Hamilton Ave., Larimer (15206). There will be games, prizes and food.

The event is part of the ASPCA Rachel Ray $100K challenge, which runs from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31. ARL is one of many shelters nationwide competing for $500,000 in prizes, including the $100,000 grand prize. The goal of the contest is to encourage shelters to increase their adoption rates.

ARL is just 100 adoptions short of the assigned goal that will earn it money. The shelter has had 1,365 adoptions during the contest, 216 more than last year at this time.

Bird tips

Is your cockatoo plucking his feathers? Is your African grey parrot screaming or nipping the hands that feed her? Learn training and behavior techniques to correct those and other problems at a session to be presented at 11 a.m. next Saturday by Pittsburgh Parrot Education and Adoption Center in the North Hills, at Northland Library, 300 Cumberland Road, McCandless (15237). The tips will come from John Lege, known as "That Guy With the Birds." Seating is limited. To register: www.pitpeac.org or 724-378-7588.

Feral cat day

Frankie's Friends Mobile Cat Clinic will be at the Animal Nature store, 7610 Forbes Ave., Regent Square (15221), at 9 a.m. Tuesday in honor of national Feral Cat Day. Spay/neuter plus a rabies shot will be $40. Call 724-889-7011 to sign up.

Puppy raisers needed

In the past two years, Perfect Fit Canines has trained three Labrador retrievers and placed them as service dogs for people with autism. Five puppies are in training, but more than five children and adults are on the waiting list for service dogs.

The Pittsburgh-based organization needs more families to volunteer as "puppy raisers." You get an 8- to 10-week-old puppy, and your job is to love the puppy and take it to basic training classes until it is 12-16 months and ready to be turned over to professional trainers. All puppies so far have been Labs except for Moe, a standard poodle.

Perfect Fit Canines, started two years ago by Jim and Susan Wagner, pays all veterinary bills and provides collars, leashes and other supplies for the puppies. The puppy raisers are financially responsible for food and the gas needed to get to local training classes.

For information: www.perfectfitcanines.org, send email to perfectfitcanines@verizon.net or call Ms. Wagner at 412-445-9768.

Pet family reunion

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society will hold a family reunion for pets and people who have adopted from any of its shelters at Round Hill Park in Elizabeth Township. Dogs must be on a leash, and cats and other small pets must be in carriers. All events are free, but donations of high-quality pet food are welcomed. Information or to register: www.wpahumane.org.

Pet Tales appears in the Saturday Home & Garden section. Linda Wilson Fuoco: lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3064. First Published October 13, 2012 4:00 AM




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