The Great Dane who saved the life of a miniature dachshund – read the incredible story of blood donor and Surrey therapy dog ’Bear’
we are huge dog in love here at HELLO! and just recently we met a very special canine friend, a Great Dane named Bear.
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Two-year-old Bear lives in Molesey, Surrey and is an amazing dog. Not only does he have the sweetest and most laid back temperament, he also donates blood to save the lives of other dogs and he has just started working as a therapy dog.
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Earlier this year, Bear donated blood for the first time and helped save the life of a seven-year-old miniature dachshund named Otto.
Emma Kite, the bear’s mother, explained: “Normally dogs need to be sedated before giving blood, but they didn’t need to sedate Bear because he was so calm and well-mannered. I was so proud.”
Below, Emma tells us all about her gorgeous Great Dane and the amazing job he does…
Getting a Great Dane Puppy
emma said HELLO!: “I already had two German Shorthaired Pointers and I wasn’t looking for a third dog, but I was watching Dogs behave badly on TV and they had a Great Dane on, and I always wanted one. I looked online and found there was a litter near me, so I called the breeder.
“When I first saw Bear he was two weeks old. I had to choose one of five puppies that remained out of a litter of 11. I had already decided that if I chose a giant breed the dog should be laid back and relaxed – I didn’t want a 60kg dog that was a handful.
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A newborn bear puppy
“The puppies were only two weeks old so you can’t see much of their character at that age so I did the test where you put the puppies on their backs. An independent, high energy pup has tends to wiggle and squirm, but if a pup relaxes, melts down, and is happy, they tend to be more easy to please, laid back, and confident.
“I did this test and Bear relaxed, so we went with him. I also watched him with the other puppies and he was the calmest and coolest of the pack.”
Be a bear mom
“I love owning a Great Dane and it’s not a lot of work. Everyone always says, ‘You must have a huge house!’ but I have a two-bedroom cottage with a garden.
“Great Danes are like greyhounds. They need a minimum of exercise and they sleep a lot. He takes two walks a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, but the rest of the day he does not move not.”
The cute bear
“If the doorbell rings, he doesn’t get off the couch. I have to bring his dinner to the couch… he comes down, eats it, and goes back to the couch. Then I drag him around a bit before I go to bed.
“You literally don’t know you have it other than there isn’t much space on the couch! Whereas my Pointers follow me everywhere. Great Danes are known to be very lazy.”
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Giving blood for the first time
“I knew dogs donating blood were a thing, but it never crossed my mind. I’m a member of a local veterinary practice that has a 24-hour emergency clinic, and in February they called me asking for Bear’s help, I’ve helped the vets a few times, transporting dogs in poor condition in my van.
“The vet said, ‘We had an emergency, we need a blood donor. We know you have a very friendly Great Dane. Are you free to drop it? I said ‘yes of course’ and ran over there.
“When we arrived, the vet took us to a consultation room and explained the whole process to me.
“At first they had to draw blood to check that Bear was healthy and to see what blood type he was. I think there are only two types: positive or negative. Negative blood type can be given to any dog but Bear’s positive, which is not as good because he can only donate to another dog that is positive. It’s not universal.
Brave was so brave at the vets
“The actual process of drawing blood is all about gravity, so wherever they put the cannula, they’re relying on gravity to draw blood from the bag.
“The vet said that normally they give a dog a light sedation before drawing blood, which takes 20-30 minutes to fill the bag, but remarkably they didn’t need to calm Bear down because he was so calm and well behaved.
! I was a little worried because he had never donated blood before and was only two years old – what if he decided to move during the process?
“They assured me he would be fine, so I sat next to him and held his head up to the ceiling so they could draw blood from his neck, and a nurse sat behind him. They inserted the cannula and tried to draw blood for three or four minutes but it wouldn’t come, there wasn’t enough gravity, the woman said we’d be here all night!
A relaxed bear giving blood
“It was decided that it would be best to put him on the consulting table, which was high and quite small. Three of us lifted him up, then we had Bear laid down, and the blood flowed well.
“Bless him, they kept taking the needle out, putting it back in – it must have been a little painful because there was no numbing cream or anything. It took about half an hour and it was hot in the room. He didn’t flinch at all. I was so surprised.
“The vet said it was so helpful that he was so big – once they had an emergency and a Collie dog gave blood but he almost passed out because they have to take the same amount of blood than a large dog, about 420 ml.
“When we pulled Bear off the table afterwards, he was wagging his tail and just wanted another bone of gravy! They had to give him two bags of drip liquid to top up the blood they took, and it lasted almost an hour. Bear was unreal, I was so proud. We were in there for about three hours. They said he was amazing.”
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Super Dog Bear!
Saving the life of a miniature dachshund
“Bear’s blood went to a seven-year-old miniature dachshund called Otto. He suffered from an autoimmune disease where his body attacked its own red blood cells, which is why he needed a blood transfusion.
“He went to TV Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick for the rest of his treatment and has since recovered. He is back home and doing well.
“Once a dog has donated blood he can donate again but he must wait two months for his body to replace the lost blood. Bear is now on our vet’s blood donor registry so he can give again in the future.”
Work as a therapy dog
“Bear has just been approved to be a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Nationwide!
“As a therapy dog, he will go to places like hospitals, hospices, schools, nursing homes, stressful work environments such as emergency call centers or police stations, and basically he goes and fidgets – which is his idea of absolute paradise.
“It’s about putting a smile on people’s faces. He’s absolutely going to love it.”
Bear works as a therapy dog
“Bear even has his own uniform: a bandana, jacket, collar and leash that says ‘Therapy Dog’, and I have a polo shirt to wear.
“The therapy dog work is voluntary, so it depends on how often and where I want to take him. One of my neighbors works in a home with young adults who have severe physical challenges, so she m asked to visit Bear.
“Sometimes people contact the charity and ask if a therapy dog is available, but a lot of people don’t know the free service is there. I know they have a lot of requests for therapy dogs in the schools, where children read to dogs if they have trouble reading – apparently they appreciate it more if they read to a dog.
“I love that so many people enjoy being with Bear so much. I get so many kids who say, “I don’t like dogs, but I like Bear.” It’s so great to build children’s confidence with big dogs.
“For me it’s such a great experience to own a special Great Dane and meet so many people. I love sharing it with everyone.”
Visit therapy dogs nationwide at tdn.org.uk
Follow Bear on Instagram at @bigblueboybear
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