CHENNAI: Distance did not come in the way of James Ralph when his beloved pet was battling for life. A near-death anaemic dog, three-year-old Spitz, was in urgent need of blood.
Ralph did not think twice when he decided to fly to Chennai from Mumbai on Thursday to pick up blood bags from the animal blood bank at Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS). This was a first for the government-run institution, which had never permitted sale of blood to a private vet, let alone a person who is not a veterinarian, said Dr G R Baranidharan, blood bank officer, TANUVAS. The pet was too weak to travel and diagnosed to breathe her last if not transfused blood immediately.
Moved by the plight, the empathetic vets at TANUVAS decided to make an exception. “We took special permission to go ahead and help save a life,” said Dr Baranidharan. The SOS call came on June 14 (World Blood Donor Day). Ralph was in such a frenzy that he had first asked if the blood could be sent via courier service, before requesting leave from his boss to fly to Chennai on Thursday, and return for the procedure the same evening. “My flat mate and I have made about 25 calls to hospitals all over North India — Odisha, Gujarat, Nasik... but no one was able to help us get what we were urgently looking for,” Ralph said. Later, clutching the ice pack shielding 420 ml of blood that would save his pet, he assured the doctors, “This is coming with me in my hand baggage. There’s no way I’m going to let this out of my sight till I have it safely delivered to our vet in Mumbai.”
If all this isn’t endearing enough, Ralph got to meet the two dogs who were called in to donate blood for Toffee, Ralph’s Spitz, and took a picture with them. Rusty, a majestic Chippiparai, and Simba, a Great Dane were only too glad to oblige.