ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – Do you have what it takes to be a super hero?

The American Red Cross and NorthStar VETS are hoping the answer is yes, as they encourage both people and pets to consider lending a hand – or paw – to those less fortunate by becoming a blood donor.

The Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region is partnering with NorthStar VETS for their annual human and companion animal blood drive on Tuesday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to a joint press release from the RCPJBSR and NSV.

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The drive will be held at the emergency and specialty veterinary hospital, located at 315 Robbinsville Allentown Road.

“While most people realize that humans often require donated blood for survival, most don’t think about dogs and cats having the same need for blood that people do,” Kimberly Hammer, VMD, DACVIM, said. “NorthStar VETS Blood Bank for Dogs and Cats offers this vital service and this is a wonderful opportunity to join forces with the Red Cross so we can help save human and animal lives at the same time.”

An internal medicine specialist at NSV, Dr. Hammer also serves as the supervising veterinarian for the blood bank.

The Red Cross will be the recipient of all human blood donations, and all pets will be processed and screened by the NorthStar VETS Blood Donor Program.

According to the release, the donation process is quick and easy for pets and interested pet owners can take the online survey beforehand at northstarvets.com/blood-bank-screening.

Owners of qualifying pets will be contacted by NSV to set up the first appointment.

According to Dr. Hammer, dogs and cats have several different blood types, in the same way that humans do.

While these blood types differ from human blood types, as with humans, some dogs are considered ‘universal donors,’ meaning their blood can be safely transfused into dogs of any other blood type. Greyhounds are frequently universal donors.

Many pet owners aren't aware that, just as in human medicine, blood products can be a life-saving resource for critically ill or injured pets.

According to the release, blood and plasma products can often be difficult to find when time is of the essence, underscoring the importance of Fluffy or Fido's donation.

Human blood donors can call 1-800-RED CROSS to schedule an appointment or log on to redcrossblood.org and enter the keyword “NorthStarVets.”

Interested individuals can also download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App for more information or to make an appointment.

To ensure a reliable supply for patients, all blood types are needed, according to the release.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters and supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, according to the release.

It also teaches skills that save lives and provides international humanitarian aid, in addition to supporting military members and their families.

The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, visit redcross.org or on Twitter at @RedCross.

NorthStar VETS is the region’s leader in providing advanced veterinary services by board-certified, residency-trained, or highly experienced veterinarians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the release.

As an American Animal Hospital Accredited (AAHA) Referral Practice, NorthStar VETS continues to set the standard in medical excellence for dogs, cats, birds, exotics and other family pets.