A GOLDEN retriever is retiring after helping to save the lives of 48 fellow canines.

Nine-year-old Crystal has been donating blood to Pet Blood Bank UK for four years and has also donated blood three times at Oakhill Veterinary Group in Windermere to patients requiring an emergency blood transfusion.

Her final donation on January 9 was the practice’s first of 2022.

The Westmorland Gazette: FAMILY: Clover and Crystal

Crystal’s aunt Clover was also a blood donor, helping to save up to 20 lives.

Proud owner Janet Fox, who is practice a manager at Oakhill Veterinary Group, encouraged others to consider putting their pets forward to donate blood.

The Westmorland Gazette: OUTING; Crystal with owner Janet Fox

“Having had both of my dogs donate during practice it seemed a natural transition to do it through an organised scheme and help more animals,” she said.

“Each donation Pet Blood Bank takes will help four animals.

“Crystal’s donated 12 times so to think each donation has helped four animals is amazing.

“I’m extremely proud and to know that if my dog was in need there is something out there that will help me.”

Oakhill has been working with Pet Blood Bank UK since 2016 and holds regular donor sessions at the practice.

During session dogs are thoroughly checked first by a vet to ensure they are healthy before giving their donation if they are calm.

“Not all donations are successful, if the dog isn’t relaxed enough or fidgety the Pet Blood Bank staff, who are fantastic, won’t do the donation because the dog has got to be comfortable,” said Ms Fox.

“They’re constantly monitoring the dog’s heart rate.”

Afterwards, they get some food, a toy and treats to take home.

The Westmorland Gazette: FAREWELL: The team at Oakhill Veterinary Group with Crystal

They also have their photo taken in their ‘I’m a Lifesaver’ bandana for the charity’s social media pages.

Donor dogs must be fit and healthy, be aged between one and eight years old, weigh more than 25kg, have a good temperament, have never travelled abroad, be vaccinated and not on any medication.

To find out more and to register your dog visit www.petbloodbankuk.org/