Sweet dog helps save kittens' eyesight

KTRK logo
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Sweet dog helps save kittens' eyesight
Jemmie has many tricks, including saving the lives of her friends in need

SACRAMENTO, CA (KTRK) -- This sweet face and those big brown eyes belong to a dog with a very big heart.

Jemmie is an adorable rescue. Her human, Sarah Varanini, works at the Sacramento SPCA. That's how they found each other.

They enjoy walks together, and Jemmie has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. She dances. She can sit and play dead. But her biggest trick of all is helping to save a life.

"We had a family come in with two kittens they found in their backyard," says Varanini. "Stray kittens that just showed up, they were the only two that were alive."

These two tiny kittens had some very big problems.

"One had two eye ulcers in his eye, so basically eye infections that are really really bad," Varanini says. "Squinty, couldn't see..."

So bad, in fact, veterinarians believe that at least one eye would have to be removed.

Now there's an all-out effort to save the other eyes using antibiotics and a special serum. And that's where Jemmie comes in.

She donated the blood to help to help save their lives.

"In order to get the serum, we need a good amount of blood," Varanini says. "We get that from Jemmie here and basically we spin it down until we get the serum on top, and that's all the good stuff in the blood, and then we use that as eye drops for the little kitten."

Because it's not a blood transfusion, Sarah says mixing dog blood with the kittens is not a problem.

She says it's been a successful procedure used many times at the Sacramento SPCA and for at least one of the kittens, the prognosis is good.

"It looks a little better, the kitten is able to open it just a peep, and so hopefully we'll be able to save it."

After donating her blood, Jemmie then gets a special reward, spending time with her favorite furry friends.

And Sarah thinks it's their way of giving back.

"She came from here, she's giving back to kittens and there's nothing she loves more in life than kittens, so I know she would love to do it if she could talk," Varanini says.