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You and your best four-legged friend can help save lives — both canine and human — this Valentine's Day during the third annual Dog People Blood Drive. Event organizer Jessica Osborne, practice manager at the Lincoln Heights Veterinary Clinic, says pet owners often don't think about the local pet population's need for eligible donors, which led her to start this now-annual donor drive back in 2013.

The first step on your dog's path to becoming a life-saving hero starts with a small blood sample taken during the blood drive, along with a quick health examination. Osborne says dogs who qualify as donors must weigh at least 60 pounds and be between one and six years of age, among other things.

"You need a big pool of dogs to get at least 6 or 7 who are good candidates," she says, noting that Great Danes, Labs and Standard Poodles often qualify.

After the initial blood sample is sent off to the Pet Emergency Clinic (PEC) for testing, dogs can still be deemed ineligible because of their blood type or medical conditions, she explains. Eligible donors will be contacted by PEC, which generally asks for a two-year commitment with donations every eight to 10 weeks.

On the human side, the Inland Northwest Blood Center's mobile donation center is on site all day, so dog owners can donate while their animal pals do, too.

Third Annual Dog People Blood Drive • Sat, Feb. 14, from 1-5 pm • Lincoln Heights Veterinary Clinic • 2829 E. 27th • lhvetclinic.com • 535-3551

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