Dedicated mama dog saves another puppy as blood donor

Magenta the dog lying on a couch with her mouth smiling with her tongue out
After her own trio of tiny tots went on to their new homes, mama Magenta took care of another puppy — one who needed blood during an emergency surgery.
By Sarah Thornton

Magenta is a dog with a lot of love to give. Whether it’s a day out wandering the trails, playing in her yard, or snuggling up with her people pals for an afternoon nap, she’s just happy spending time with her friends and family. She can be a bit choosy about her canine companions, but hey, you can’t always get along with everyone, you know?

Arriving at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary from a shelter in New Mexico with three puppies in tow, Magenta immediately started earning admirers with her bright personality and obvious adoration for her little furballs. The family needed somewhere safe and comfortable to grow healthy and strong, and Best Friends supports shelters in reaching no-kill by taking in pets who may need extra care before going to homes — pets like Magenta and her pups.

She was a magnificent mother. And it wasn’t just her own pups Magenta would provide for; like all moms, it turned out she had a bit of hero in her.

Dedicated mama dog

Magenta and pups Orchid, Lilac, and Amethyst swept through the Sanctuary — “aww”s trailing them wherever they went. They spent time in a non-parrot-populated area of Parrot Garden when space at Dogtown was a little tight, bringing an extra dose of cuteness to caregivers’ days as they watched over the furry family of four. They charmed caregiver and visitor alike during their stint at the puppy area of Dogtown. And all four settled right in when they went into foster care with Best Friends veterinary assistant Tina Sylvester.

“She loved her puppies,” Tina says with a laugh. “She’s one of the rare dog moms who I was thinking, ‘She may be on board with this for eternity.’” Magenta doted on her tiny trio, always making sure their bellies were full and not a single fluff of fur was out of place. She delighted in a good ole puppy pile, snoozing away no matter how squirmy her little litter got, even as they grew bigger and bigger. She certainly wasn’t in a big hurry to wean them.

[First-time foster volunteers team up for a mama dog and her 14 puppies]

If left to her own devices, Magenta probably would have pampered her pups indefinitely. But when she was stung by a bug and needed a round of steroids to bring down the swelling, she unfortunately had to be parted from them just a bit early. She needed a chance to rest and recover, and it wouldn’t have been good for the puppies to nurse while she was on her medication.

That didn’t stop her precious pups from being surrounded by love, of course. Tina and her own dog delighted in having puppies to play with until Orchid, Lilac, and Amethyst each got adopted into homes of their very own.

And Magenta wasn’t done taking care of puppies either.

Hero to a puppy in need

A flurry of activity rippled through the Best Friends Animal Clinic when a puppy was brought in by his very concerned person. He’d stopped eating and was just not acting like his usual playful self. Something was wrong.

Veterinary staff quickly brought the pup back for X-rays and found what appeared to be a foreign body in his abdomen. He needed surgery, fast — and he’d end up needing a blood transfusion to help pull him through the procedure. Luckily for him, he was in excellent hands, and there were dogs right there at the Sanctuary who were signed up as blood donors.

Magenta was on that list. She’d recovered from the bug sting, and while Dogtown was now her home-between-homes, she still spent a lot of time with Tina, hanging out in the veterinary assistants’ office. She was very comfortable at the clinic and with clinic staff, even giving blood once before. So when the call went out for a donor dog, Tina and fellow vet assistant Brianna Vlach knew just who could help.

[Laid-back hero dog saves a life as a blood donor]

“A couple of our dogs had already donated in the last few months, and they can only donate once every three months,” Brianna explains. “So Magenta was who we had lined up.”

She did a stellar job, as expected. Magenta was at ease trotting into the clinic and didn’t fuss as she was sedated for the draw. And though she was asleep for most of it, Magenta’s contribution helped ensure the puppy pulled through and made it to the “rest and recovery” phase of his treatment, before heading home safe and sound with his family once again.

Making way for new heroes

While she was asleep for her blood donation, veterinarians also took the time to give Magenta a thorough examination. Because sedation always comes with risks, they want to make sure the dogs on the donor list are always in tip-top shape. And for Magenta, who they discovered during the exam was developing hip dysplasia, this would be her last donation. She’d likely need to be prescribed pain medication, which would disqualify her from donating.

Magenta’s retirement from blood donor status came with plenty of treats and lots of snuggles after she woke back up, as content to soak up the attention as she always was. And that doting will continue up to and beyond when she’s matched with a home of her own.

Already, the veterinary team is making sure the blood donor list won’t be at risk of running short. As part of each new dog’s arrival exam, their blood type is checked along with the other tests run. If they are between 2 and 5 years old, weigh more than 50 pounds, and aren’t on any medication — and as long as they’re comfortable in the clinic — they can be lifesaving blood donor candidates.

Because, as Brianna rightly states: “Here at Best Friends, it’s not just the humans who Save Them All.”

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

Saving lives around the country

Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

Let’s be friends! 

Connect with us on social media to stay in the loop about the lifesaving progress we’re making together.  

Facebook logo    Instagram logo    icon