Blood hounds: Donor dog saves St Bernard's life
THIS was the moment when Samson the St Bernard came wet nose to wet nose with the dog that saved his life.
However, there was no tail wagging, or even a thankful lick, instead the seven-year-old had to be kept away from his guardian angel.
For although Samson owes his life to German pointer Blitz, he was not in the mood for company when he was reunited with his saviour.
Samson was rushed to Kingston Vets with a twisted spleen but, after it had been removed, vets discovered he had also lost a large amount of blood.
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He was in need of an urgent blood transfusion and, as luck would have it, his blood group was a perfect match with Blitz – owned by vet receptionist Jackie Symons.
Vet Sharrin Powers said: "Samson's life was in the balance. His twisted spleen was engorged with blood and weighed a staggering 3.5kg when, normally, it should have been about 1kg.
"Because of the volume of blood trapped in his spleen and due to the blood loss during surgery, his blood count had dropped severely, so it was vital he received a blood transfusion as soon as possible."
It took half an hour to take the blood from Blitz and a further five hours to complete the transfusion into Samson.
Samson's owners, Kerry and Chris Waterhouse, of Selwyn Avenue, North Ferriby, were relieved and delighted when he pulled through.
Mrs Waterhouse, 40, said: "He wasn't eating his food, so I knew there was something wrong with him – he likes his food.
"He was walking as though he was in torture taking tiny baby steps.
"I had been fearing the worst because Samson also has a heart murmur.
"At one point, you could see a big bulge in his side, where his spleen was pushing out."
Three of the Waterhouse's dogs died last year. Mrs Waterhouse thought it was going to be further heartache, having lost the mongrels Ben, ten, Max, 14, and Botham, eight.
"He was taken to the vets just five days after the anniversary of losing Ben," she said.
"I just thought I couldn't lose another dog. I was given the choice of an operation for Samson or putting him to sleep."
Coincidentally, Mrs Waterhouse was featured in the Mail in August 2010 calling for more owners to register pets to provide blood.
Samson used to be registered as a blood donor dog, but was never called upon to donate. He was taken off the register when his heart murmur was discovered.
"I think blood donors are important," she said.
"Blitz is half the size of Samson, so a pint of blood seemed quite a lot."
The St Bernard is a regular at the vets.
"He is a walking medical dictionary," said Mrs Waterhouse.
"He is my big cuddly teddy bear, but if he does have an illness he doesn't do it by half – it is always the extreme version of the illness."
Blitz, who has donated blood to two dogs, and Samson were reunited for a photograph for the Mail.
However, the St Bernard was not too happy to see him when the two came together and Mr Waterhouse had to position himself between the two dogs.
"He's not aggressive, just a bit grumpy," said Mrs Waterhouse.
"Being such a big boy, he has had years of smaller dogs coming up to him and barking. He is at a level of doggy friends and doesn't want any more.
"Samson also won't know what happened and what Blitz has done.
"He was asleep when it happened and woke up with a sore tummy.
"He is doing fantastic now and it is as though he has been given a new lease of life."