English mastiff honored for donating blood

February 19, 2008 4:11:09 AM PST

Not bad for a 200-pound, 2-year-old English mastiff who answers to the name Lurch. He'll receive the chapter's "Pet's Best Friend" award at an event here Thursday.

"We're doing something different this year," executive director Diane Serra said. "We're honoring Lurch because he's actually donated blood."

Lurch's owner, Joni Melvin-Thiede, said Lurch donates blood for other canines about once every four weeks. His blood has helped dozens, including saving one dog who got into some rat poison.

"You really don't end up knowing which dogs he helps, but his little picture goes on each bag so the person that gets it will actually know it."

Besides being cooperative with nurses, Lurch is also friendly with his housemates: four pugs, seven cats and the occasional litter of kittens. There's also an American mastiff named Lucas, who teams with Lurch to eat about 200 pounds of food per month.

"Mastiffs are just like 200-pound pugs," Melvin-Thiede said. "They're just as friendly and just as goofy except they have a couple more zeros at the end of the weight."


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