THE outlook was bleak for Millie the Labrador when she suffered complications following a routine operation.

But a brave Rottweiler named Bentley proved to be her knight in shining armour and now the loved-up pooches have given the story a furry-tale ending

The pair have become inseparable since Bentley saved Millie's life by donating blood after she had surgery.

Bentley’s owner, Marie Bray from Richmond, had recently signed her dog up to a pet blood donor scheme at Vets4Pets in Pets at Home in Catterick Garrison.

And just a week later she got an urgent call from the veterinary practice asking if Bentley could step up to help a dog whose blood was not clotting as it should following a routine neutering operation.

Mrs Bray said: “I got the call from Vets4Pets to say a dog needed an urgent blood transfusion so I took Bentley up straight away.

“It was really easy for him to give blood and he took it in his stride – he was really calm and just let the vets get on with it.”

She said hearing that Millie had recovered the following day was such a relief and although she had never met Millie’s owner - Karen Nicholson from Leyburn - they met up the following week once Millie had recuperated.

Mrs Nicholson said: “We have had Millie for eight years so she is totally one of the family. I’m just so grateful to Bentley for saving Millie’s life.

“When they met up it was so lovely, they are clearly the best of friends now and couldn’t stop playing together and licking each other.”

Both Mrs Bray and Mrs Nicholson said most people they had spoken to had not realised the dogs could give blood in the same way as humans can.

And although dogs have different blood groups the first time a donation is made a dog can usually safely take a different blood group to its own.

Becky Gamble, head nurse at Catterick Garrison Vets4Pets, said it was a straightforward process that would not harm the dog giving blood.

She said: “We give the dog some food and water before they give blood and they stay with us for about half an hour to make sure they are okay.

“A dog also has to be a healthy weight, has to have been vaccinated and can’t have travelled abroad.”

Joanne Barker, Millie’s vet at Vets4Pets, said just as in human operations, animals can often need blood even after routine procedures and the blood bank is a good way to make sure there is always a supply for the demand.

She said: “We can take 20 per cent of the dog’s blood volume. The blood bank is such a good idea because sometimes a dog just needs some blood to help them get through an operation.

“Millie’s blood wasn’t clotting so she needed the extra platelets and luckily Bentley stepped up to the mark.

“It’s great to see them both looking so well and are obviously such good friends now.”

For information on becoming a dog blood donor, contact Vets4Pets on 01748 876070.