Red Cross Honors Blood Donating Dog
GREGORY, Illinois – In less than a week, a 200-pound English mastiff has gone from being a small-town Illinois dog to the sweet heart of international media outlets.
It started on Monday when a dog named Lurch was honored by Livingston County American Red Cross as one of its “Everyday Heroes.”
The award came to the two-year old pooch after he donated blood some 20 times at Midwest Animal Services, including saving one dog who had eaten rat poisoning.
Donating about once every four weeks, the mastiff is hardly phased by having his blood drawn.
‘He just likes all the people hugging him and mauling him at the time, I think that’s what he appreciates the most,” said owner Joni Melvin-Thiede. “He doesn’t realize what they’re doing, he just wants the loving.”
Now, the Red Cross is honoring Lurch for his noble generosity. The award is usually given to people, but the dog’s actions exemplify the spirit of the organization.
“We’re doing something different this year,” Red Cross Executive Director Diane Serra said. “We’re honoring Lurch because he’s actually donated blood.”
The big hearted dog has caught the attention of intense media coverage, including CNN, ABC, the Canadian Press and other media outlets across North America.
In addition to being a cooperative and gentle donor, Lurch spreads his compassion out among patients at the local emergency veterinary clinic. There, he accompanies Melvin-Thiede, where he plays big brother to cats and dogs.
For Lurch and his owner, it’s all about being able to help other dogs whenever they can. That includes rescuing dogs in need.
“We started rescuing pugs 12 years ago at the emergency clinic when pugs would come in and then (we) kind of got connected with pug rescue, and a lot of them just don’t leave,” Melvin-Thiede said.
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Special contributions made to this report by Kristofer Karol with The Daily Press & Argus.
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