Heroes can come in all shapes and sizes, whether two-legged humans or four-legged dogs.

According to Dr. Travis Wodiske, medical director at Family VetCare of Chandler, a dog can become a hero by simply doing one task: donating blood.

Wodiske said in the state of Arizona there’s a high demand for canine blood donors, with no clinics in the area specializing in donating blood.

That’s why he and his team decided to put together a blood bank at the Family VetCare of Chandler this Saturday to meet the high demand for blood donors.

This will be the first of its kind in the state, according to Wodiske. He adds that more types of these facilities are in need at a local level.

Wodiske and his team’s main goal for hosting the Sept. 7 blood bank is to get as many local heroes to donate blood for blood transfusions.

They’re also hoping that by having the blood bank they can establish a core group of donors to assist any dog in critical need.

“All the blood products that are coming into Arizona are coming across state lines. Many of the critical patients have to wait to have a blood transfusion, and sometimes we don’t have the luxury of waiting without risking losing their lives,” Wodiske said. “The need has been there, and being in such a large market like Arizona, we are well overdue for a blood program.”

Being a canine hero

The process for drawing a dog’s blood is similar to drawing a human’s blood, with all the equipment being relatively the same.

Wodiske jokingly said the one difference is the dog donors expects a treat afterwards.

Saturday’s blood bank will be designed to run tests on the canine donor’s blood to see if they can become potential donors.

Each dog’s blood will undergo tests to see if they have a universal blood type, and be checked for any diseases in their blood stream.

Blood donors also must meet a weight requirement that supersedes 50 pounds and are between the ages of 1-7.

Dogs that show no sign of diseases in their blood will be welcomed into the center’s Canine Hero Program, where they can serve as blood donors for dogs in need.

Wodiske added that some dog breeds likely to have the universal blood type range from Greyhounds to Boxers and Pit Bulls to mixed breeds.

Along with helping dogs in need, donors who attend Saturday’s blood bank at Family VetCare of Chandler, 5995 W. Chandler Blvd., will be given a gift consisting of a coupon for a free veterinarian exam.

Dogs eligible to be placed in the Canine Hero Program will receive a $50 credit each time they donate blood, which can go towards any veterinarian services.

“It’s a small way for us to say thank you for allowing your dog to be a hero, thank you for saving a dog’s life here in the Valley... we’re very appreciative for that,” Wodiske said.

Their facilities, including the Ahwatukee Foothills location, have seen a high volume of people interested in having their dogs become blood donors.

Wodiske recently posted a video advertising the event on their Facebook page, and within 24 hours the had received 20,000 views.

They’re anticipating 200 donors to be present at Saturday’s blood bank.

“There’s a huge community of support for local blood heroes,” Wodiske said.

Individuals interested in having their dogs become potential canine heroes can visit www.familyvetcare.com to see if they meet all requirements.

Email caninebloodheros@gmail.com to schedule appointment times for the blood bank, which will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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