SPECIAL DELIVERY: Sheila Wylie with May, a former racing greyhound who is now helping others by giving blood
SPECIAL DELIVERY: Sheila Wylie with May, a former racing greyhound who is now helping others by giving blood

A FORMER racing greyhound has begun a new role helping to save other dogs’ lives.

May, a four-and-a-half year-old grey, ran in more than 80 races under the name Lily’s Princess before she was taken in by new owner Sheila Wylie from kennels at the Greyhound Trust, Merrybent, near Darlington.

Now enjoying life at a much more leisurely pace, May has become a blood donor for the charity Pet Blood Bank.

Ms Wylie, from Staindrop, one of the organisers of the annual Great Global Greyhound Walk at Hutton Magna, said many people do not realise pet blood donations are needed.

“It has been a talking point,” she said.

“At the donor session they get a fitness check. They are monitored for signs of anxiety.

“The blood is run through a series of checks and the results are given to the owner.

“So, as well as being used by the Pet Blood Bank, it works as an early warning system, for free, for your dog’s health.”

Ms Wylie added: “May has ‘negative’ blood, rarer than ‘positive’, so is especially useful as a donor. Donations are eight weeks apart.”

The Pet Blood Bank vets use a human sized needle so the actual donation time is not long, just ten to 15 minutes.

“Each donation can save the lives of up to four dogs, so it is well worth doing,” added Ms Wylie.

“If a dog is nervous at the first donation, they do not go ahead but offer training sessions to get the dog used to the situation before taking blood.

“The PBB take the donor’s well being very seriously, monitoring the donor’s heart rate before and during the process.

“May took to donating straight away. She loved the foam mattress on the vet’s bench so much she would not get up – but that is typical of lazy greyhounds.”

After giving blood, doggy donors are given a bowl of tinned food in the same way human donors enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit.

To be a donor, dogs must be fit and healthy; aged between one and eight; weigh more than 25kg; have a good temperament; have never travelled abroad; be vaccinated; and not be on any medication. For more details, go to www.petbloodbankuk.org.