After eating rat poison, Rory had begun to bleed internally and appeared to be on death’s door.

Though he needed a transfusion, it was late Friday night and, in Tauranga, New Zealand, the lab was already closing — there wasn’t enough time to send out a sample to check his blood type, reports. The wrong type of transfusion might kill him, but doing nothing meant certain death. A call was placed, a friend arrived, and soon an 18-month-old Labrador named Macy was donating “the gift of life.”

“He was dying. We didn't have time for the cat blood to arrive or be matched," Kim Edwards, Rory's owner, told 3News of New Zealand. Cat blood? Yes, Rory, a seven-year-old ginger cat, was saved by none other than Macy, a dog.

Blood Type

Just like humans, cats and dogs have blood types.

In cats, the most common blood types are A and B. Cats with type B blood would have a severe reaction if given “A” blood, though in the opposite case, where an A cat is given “B” blood, the reaction would be only minor. A third very rare type of blood is known as “AB." Cats with this blood type are universal recipients as they do not have naturally occurring antibodies that react against the different types.

Veterinarians classify blood type in dogs by number; there are eight basic blood groups, though it is believed that as many as 12 could exist. Dogs also do not have naturally occurring antibodies against other blood types. Though a first-time transfusion from one type to another would not cause a negative reaction, a second transfusion might, as the recipient dog would develop antibodies against the foreign blood. Bottom line: cats are finicky when it comes to blood, and dogs are not.

Book Club Connection

Seeing Rory suffer, Kate Heller, the veterinarian, suggested a dog blood donation. Although it was a rare and tricky procedure that could easily backfire, she knew that doing nothing was an even greater risk. “It was one of those situations that it was a do-or-die. So, he would have died if we did nothing," Heller told 3News. Edwards put in a call to Michelle Whitemore, a friend from her book club.

"[I had] never heard of anything like that before. I thought she was joking," Whitemore, Macy's owner, told 3News.

Despite her doubts, Whitemore rushed Macy to the vet who then collected 120 milliliters of Macy’s blood and transfused the blood into Rory.

Within an hour, Rory was saved.

Friends are still whispering that Rory will begin barking soon, or fetching the paper... but so far so good, SunLive reports.