SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Craig Prindel calls his dog a hero and a lifesaver: Ginger, an eight-and-a-half-year-old lab mix, has been giving blood at Banner's Blood Bank for more than five years.
"She just seemed like she had more of a purpose in life, just like a human being," Prindel said.
Ginger is getting too old to donate, so on Saturday she gave her 14th and final pint at Banner's Blood Bank in Springfield -- the only place in our area where dogs can give blood.
"It's very sad because she loves coming here," Prindel said.
Veterinarian Donna Dimski said the need for canine blood donations is greater than ever. After all, "people are a lot more willing to do more for their pets," she said. "They are members of the family."
One pint of donated canine blood can save the lives of two other dogs.
Donating is completely free for dog owners. In return, the veterinarian tests the blood for things like anemia, and kidney and liver disease.
As a donor, if Ginger ever gets sick or hurt she'll get the blood she needs for free. Unlike humans, dogs don't get dizzy or tired after they donate. So, 10 minutes into the visit, Ginger is good to go.
Her owner Prindel, however, plans to be back here soon. He has a new dog on the way.
"It's something that I'm really going to miss until I can start the new puppy doing it," Prindel said.
Banner's Blood Bank takes dog blood donations once a month. Those looking for more information can call Oregon Veterinary Referral Associates, the blood bank's home office, at 541-726-1100.