Pets are known to bring health and happiness for some people, as it turns out, they yield this power for other pets, too.
Such is true for one local pup, a husky named Fionn, who has helped save several other dogs’ lives by being a regular blood donor.
“His story is an interesting one,” said Alison Glussich, who owns Fionn along with her husband, Doug. "It also sheds a light on canine blood donation and the impact it can have."
For Fionn, it happened serendipitously.
Glussich had taken Fionn to see their vet, Dr. Justin Levy at the Thornbury Veterinary Hospital, for his annual checkup when she overheard Levy asking the receptionist to try to locate a blood donor to help a very ill dog.
Filled with concern, Glussich chimed in: “Well, Fionn is here and he is fit and strong… would he work?”
To give blood the dog must have a calm and friendly temperament, have a healthy weight of 50lbs or more, be between the ages of one and eight years old, be in good health and up to date on vaccinations.
Fionn checked all of these boxes.
“So that was the first time he became a donor,” Glussich said. “We just happened to be there at the right time.”
For a dog like Fionn, the side effects are few and minor, and the benefit to the other dog was life-saving.
From a personal perspective, Glussich is anemic and has received several blood fusions herself, so the ability to help was one that meant a lot to her.
“It became a way to give back of sorts,” Glussich said.
After that she thought, if Fionn was able to save one dog’s life, then he can probably save several more. To date, Fionn has now donated blood three times, and is scheduled for a fourth at the end of the month.
“The first time he did it, I think he was a little confused, what was going on. But now it’s almost like he knows,” said Glussich.
He now donates blood through the Canadian Animal Blood Bank (CABB), a not for profit that collects, processes and sells canine blood for veterinary medical needs across Canada.
In addition to being able to help other dogs in need, canine donors receive benefits from the CABB where needed.
Fionn is one of two dogs in the Glussich family. His 'brother' is called Faolan.
Both of their names are Gaelic, paying homage to Glussich’s heritage, and together they are the Irish Husky Bros (who even have their own Instagram page!).
“They are so protective of each other,” said Glussich. “The four of us, we’re like a pack.”
Glussich always knew they wanted a husky, and when they found a breeder in Singhampton five years ago, Fionn was the only one left.
“But he was the right one for us,” she smiled.
Shortly after they stumbled on little Faolan who had been rescued from northern Ontario. Faolan was born with only three legs, and Glussich said they call him their “little tripod.”
For this reason, they decided not to sign Faolan up as a donor as well.
Despite being bonded like brothers, Fionn and Faolan are very different. Glussich said she can tell Fionn is from a breeder, and calls him their little drama queen, while Faolan is a “rough-and-ready, funny little fighter.”
The Irish Husky Bros are also very popular clients of other local businesses, MegWalks Canine Services and Dogs at Blue, as well as The Dog Club in The Town of the Blue Mountains for their overnight services.
“What we love most is the pack vibe. I think they think they are our equals,” laughed Glussich. “But they are very loyal and loving, and also are very chill.”