2 spaniels: one saved lives while the other’s life needed to be saved

These are the stories of two spaniels dogs. In terms of contributing to human society they were at the opposite end of the spectrum for a while (but they are both adorable).


Arnie is described by his owner, Rachel McFarlane, 36, as not the cleverest of spaniels but “he has done a wonderful job over the years – he’s a good boy”. He’s a good boy because over his life he has donated 21 pints of blood to help save the lives of more than 80 dogs. He is now retired which is why he made The Times newspaper.

He is nine years old and an English springer spaniel. He began donating to the Pet Blood Bank in 2015. They have an age limit for donor’s and he reached it. Donating dogs need to be between 1-8 years old and weigh over 25 kg.

Rachel McFarlane says that dogs have 2 blood types: positive and negative, with positive being the most common. Arnie is positive. Each pint of blood can go towards helping 4 other dogs.


Winton, a cocker spaniel, got into trouble when he dived into a badger set as his owners Heather and Alex Peake were out for a forest walk near Normanton le Heath, UK last Saturday afternoon. Winston is three-years-old. He vanished when he dived into the hole in the ground. His owners called Leicester Fire and Rescue for Assistance.

Cocker spaniel, Winston. trapped in empty badger set

Cocker spaniel, Winston. trapped in empty badger set. Photo: Leicester Fire Dept.

They spent 48 hours applying for a badger digging licence in order to avoid breaking the law before attempting to rescue him. If you dig up a badger set without permission you can end up in jail which is ironic seeing as the British government is shooting badgers in large numbers (currently up to over a hundred thousand) in order to help curb bovine TB despite the fact that there is no hard evidence that badgers transmit bovine TB to cattle (as far as I know).

A nine-strong fire crew with high-tech listening devices finally located and rescued him. Heather said that she felt helpless. She thought that they had genuinely lost him until she heard him whimper. She couldn’t believe it when she heard his cries.

She said:

“I just burst into more tears when we finally saw his little face poking out of the mud. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped. It’s been a traumatic few days and we are just so happy to have him home. Despite what he’s been through he is doing well-he’s a real miracle.”

Below are some more articles on dog rescue: