Watch CBS News

How dogs are saving lives amid nationwide blood shortage

How dogs are saving lives amid nationwide blood shortage
How dogs are saving lives amid nationwide blood shortage 02:08

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. -- There is a nationwide need for blood donations, but it's not just affecting humans. It turns out that dogs are saving lives.

Even though Nezzy's owner, Tyler Lashbrook, travels all over the country for work and doesn't come home until late at night, Nezzy's always at the front door ready to greet him.

"Very dependable in that way," Lashbrook said. "You know that you can always come home and he's always there for you."

But on his last work trip, Lashbrook learned Nezzy may not be waiting with the usual welcome home greeting.

"He had been panting. He was not acting the same," Lashbrook said. "He didn't have any energy."

His wife took Nezzy to Mount Laurel Animal Hospital, where Nezzy was diagnosed with IMHA, a disease in which a dog's immune system destroys its own red blood cells. Nezzy needed a blood transfusion.

"It was scary. He's been with us for six-and-a-half years," Lashbrook said. "He's like a child to us."

But Nezzy will continue to grow with the Lashbrooks thanks to Lagatha, whose blood saved Nezzy's life.

"So at least 22 dogs that she's donated to," Deb Consiglio, Lagatha's owner, said.

Consiglio runs Mount Laurel's blood bank. She says they need more donors because of a nationwide shortage of canine blood.

"We'll have a large dog that got hit by a car that could take five donors to get him stabilized," Consiglio said.

Consiglio says it's so bad they don't even bother going to the commercial blood banks. Instead, they bring in employees' or clients' dogs.

While they tend to look for dogs who have a universal blood type, there are not many requirements for your dog to be a blood donor.

"If you have a young, healthy dog that wouldn't mind laying on a table for 10 minutes and getting lots of belly rubs and spoiled rotten, they could be a blood donor," Consiglio said.

As Nezzy recovers, Lashbrook says Nezzy may join Mount Laurel's donor wall.

"If we could save another dog's life, we would consider that easily," Lashbrook said.

Allowing Nezzy to be just as dependable to his fellow dogs as he is to the Lashbrooks.

If you want to see if your dog is eligible to be a blood donor, click here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.