A heroic greyhound who donated 10,00ml of blood over the course of his life is enjoying a well-earned "retirement" after his efforts saved the lives of dozens of pups.

Dog blood doner Woody made made 22 separate donations to the Pet Blood Bank over the past six years and had to give it up reaching the age of nine.

At each donation, Woody gave about 450ml of blood, which was enough to save about four dogs. This means in six years, Woody saved the lives of 88 dogs, the Mirror reports.

Owner Wendy, 53, of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, said: “Woody goes rushing in; he's quite happy to give blood.

"He never shows any sign of stress and then comes bouncing out – even though he’s got all four legs empty of blood.

“My dogs get a full health check every time they go to make sure they're okay to donate.

"They go up on the table and immediately go into a sort of daze and the vets take blood from their jugular.”

Greyhound blood is particularly sought after as it is more likely to be negative, which means it can be given to any dog in an emergency.

Dogs can have either positive or negative blood. It is thought that only 30 percent of dogs have negative blood.

Wendy had Woody when he was aged three and he has been giving blood ever since.

Woody, whose favourite food is cheese, cucumber and carrots, received a special hamper for his retirement, complete with a ceramic bowl, dog collar and treats.

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She said: “He just strode, got all the cuddles and treats and then laid down patiently as they took his blood."

Plasmas are extracted from the blood and are used to treat illnesses and for emergencies.

Wendy said owners whose pets are saved from blood transplants can't thank her enough.

Wendy, who is hoping to raise awareness of the Pet Blood Bank, added: “Dogs are my whole life. Lots of people don't realise we exist. As an ambassador for the pet blood bank, if I see healthy dogs I’ll introduce them to the bank.

“People are always surprised to hear that dogs need blood banks too. I always post on social media after we’ve visited the bank, and after 22 times it still gets people saying ‘I didn’t know that existed’."

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The bank, set up in 2007, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure blood is always available. It now provides blood to vet surgeries across the country.

To be a donor a dog must weigh at least 25kg, be between the ages of one and eight, and be fit and healthy. Any dog below 25kg has not got enough blood to give, and after eight dogs blood is not optimal.

After every donation, dogs receive a gift bag for their troubles.

She added: “Owners are always so grateful. I haven't met too many but occasionally they will contact you and say things like ‘my dog wouldn't be here without it.’

“There was a case a couple of years ago that traced Woody's blood to a dog that was saved. It was a little dog on the other end of the country with a blood disorder who would have died without Woody’s blood.

“My dogs have helped save all these dogs' lives, and it's just amazing.”

Anyone interested in allowing their dog to donate blood can visit the Pet Blood Bank’swebsiteor call 01509 232222.

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