VOLUNTEERS BROUGHT different breeds of dogs to a shopping mall in Mong Kok last Thursday. The dogs were assembled for a good cause: to encourage pet owners to contribute to Hong Kong's first animal blood databank. The 'Loving Doggie Blood Donors@Langham Place' campaign, aimed at encouraging pet owners to register their dogs for blood donation, was organised by The Society for Abandoned Animals (SAA). The event was accompanied by a dog training demonstration, with animal trainers taking the dogs through their paces in various tricks and routines. Set up in 2003, the SAA animal blood databank provides backup support for veterinary clinics and pet owners. The databank contains the blood type and medical history of each registered pet. The importance of having a blood databank available for animals in need was illustrated by Linus, an abandoned dog that survived thanks to the blood databank. Linus is now a healthy and enthusiastic ambassador for the blood databank campaign. When Linus was found abandoned in 2003, the animal was suffering from serious malnutrition and anaemia: its life was at risk. Fortunately, through the blood databank, Linus was able to receive a blood donation from Duke, a dog that belongs to SAA veterinarian Dr Owen Swan. Linus recovered shortly after. Dr Swan, who is a pioneer in animal blood test procedures in Hong Kong, says there is absolutely no harm in animals donating blood. 'The amount of blood taken from an animal is based strictly on how much the animal weighs,' Dr Swan said. 'Generally, an animal can resume normal activity one hour after donating blood.' The databank is open to other pets as well, such as cats. So far, more than 165 blood donors have registered with the SAA animal blood donors' databank. All pets donating blood must undergo a blood test. There is great need for a regular supply of blood to treat animals. Every year, on average, about 90 animals requiring blood transfusion as a result of accidents or chronic disease are brought to veterinarian centres. A fund-raising programme is under way at the shopping mall. Anyone who donates HK$10 to the SAA will be rewarded with a HK$100 blood test coupon from the SAA. Visit its website at www.saa.org.hk/public/main for details.