Recipient story by Nicholle – about her best friend Digger.
My story about my little man Digger is from back when I was a teenager in Sydney, over 10 years ago now. We were given the heartbreaking news from the vet that the diagnosis was terminal cancer; leukemia. Less than two weeks later, we had to make the decision to lay Digger to rest.
My family had lost my grandpa only a few months before, and this little dog (Digger was a Mini Foxie crossed with a Jack Russell) was really important to me… He truly was my everything. Digger was only eight years old when all this happened and my heart was still hurting for my Grandpa when it was totally torn to pieces having to say goodbye to Digger as well.
For about half of the last two weeks that we had with Digger (post-diagnosis and before he grew his wings), Digger spent his time at the clinic getting regular blood transfusions from the vet’s own dog to keep him alive… I still remember the vet telling my parents that he wasn’t eating, towards the end Digger only accepted food from me.
I wouldn’t have had time to appreciate Digger’s circumstance, to accept that he was really sick and would begin to suffer, and grieve his impending passing if it wasn’t for those incredibly vital blood transfusions. The vet assured us he wasn’t in much pain, but when he started showing signs of discomfort it made us realise it was his time to go and so we made the call to euthanise. The time the donated blood bought our family meant I was able to emotionally prepare for the end and make sure he was well looked after and loved until the very last moment.
I know Digger’s story is not a pick-me-up tale of ‘transfusions saved his life’, but those few weeks meant everything to me… More than words could accurately express. I was struggling a lot with my own health and was in hospital for a few months very close to this time too, so this dog and his loss was absolutely monumental in my life. I still cry for him at times so many years later and he is the background picture on my phone, so he is always with me.
I now have Mini Dachshunds so unfortunately, they can’t donate. But I hope that me being able to share my experience with Digger, and express what the donated blood meant for all of us (including him), how it shaped the end of his life for the better, I hope it helps other owners understand why having this resource available at all vet clinics is so important. If I had big dogs, I would definitely get them to donate regularly. Until that time, I can raise awareness about the need for canine blood donors and use Digger’s situation as a motivator and an example for potential donors to sign up. In loving memory of Digger xx