A hero spaniel who has donated 21 pints of blood is retiring – after helping to save the lives of more than 80 other dogs.
English springer spaniel Arnie, aged nine, started donating blood to Pet Blood Bank in 2015, but has stopped making contributions after reaching the age limit for donors.
Canine lifesavers must be aged between one and eight, over 25kg, fit and healthy, and not been abroad recently.
Arnie started donating after owner Rachel McFarlane, 36, read an appeal for more blood donors to help save dogs.
Each pint donated has the potential to save four dogs lives, meaning Arnie has helped around 84 other dogs.
Dog groomer Rachel, from Falkirk, said Arnie didn’t start donating until he was nearly three but she would have signed him up sooner if she had known about the service.
Rachel said: “It’s amazing the number of people who have never even heard of dogs donating blood.
“Dogs have two blood types, positive and negative, with positive being the most common, which is what Arnie is.
“Each pint can go towards helping four other dogs.
“He would have started earlier but I didn’t know about it.
“I don’t think a lot of people know about it – until you are in the situation it’s maybe not something you think about.
“It is very usual for a springer spaniel to be able to donate because they are generally under 25kg.
“It is normally bigger dogs like Poodles, Labradors, and German Shepherds you see donating but Arnie is big for his breed so been able to do it.
“When he goes in they take a little sample of his blood to make sure everything is ok.
“Then they get him up on the table to put the needle in his neck to draw the pint.
“Some dogs are so relaxed they are almost sleeping while the blood is being taken, but Arnie is a bit too highly strung for that.”
Rachel, who also has Border Terrier Finlay, aged 15, takes Arnie to a vet in Dunfermline to donate – and said dogs can go every eight weeks to make a contribution.
She said: “The nurses distract Arnie with lots of gravy bones and treats and I have been able to go in with him.
“He is always fine when he is getting it done and loves having everyone fuss over him.
“Some dogs can give more than 30 pints between the ages of one and eight as they can donate every eight weeks.
“Arnie didn’t start until he was nearly three-years-old and he had to take a few breaks when he was having operations.”
Arnie gets a goodie bag after every donation and was even given a hamper with his favourite treats and toys when he retired.
Rachel added: “The dogs get a goodie bag after every donation which has treats and toys in it, and they get a bigger gift bag every fifth time – Arnie got a lead in his.
“He also got a goodie box when he retired with treats and toys.
“The nurses who take blood from Arnie are always really nice – they get to know him before taking any blood.
“It is a very relaxed and friendly environment for dogs and there are always lots of treats for him.
“It’s an easy process and not stressful at all, and all owners of bigger breeds should definitely look into donating as they need to get it from somewhere.
“Arnie isn’t the cleverest of spaniels, but he has certainly done a wonderful job over the years – he’s a good boy.”