A woman who has battled ovarian cancer multiple times credits her faithful companion and furry best friend for saving her life, sniffing out the cancer and alerting her each time.
Stephanie Herfel says about 6 years ago, her beloved dog, Sierra, began acting strangely after pressing her nose onto her owner’s belly.
“She came up and put her nose on my belly, which I dismissed,” Stephanie told ABC7. A few days later, Stephanie found her dog crouched in a closet “curled up in a little ball with her nose under her tail.”
“Her little face was completely wet and her eyebrows were crunched,” Stephanie described. Sierra’s strange behavior continued as Stephanie began to develop stomach aches.
A visit to her doctor revealed stage 3 ovarian cancer.
Following six months of treatment, Stephanie’s cancer went into remission. But, when Sierra began acting strangely again, she knew the cancer had returned.
Four different times, the cancer has returned. And each time, Sierra pressed her nose against her owner’s belly and began acting strangely. “Sierra was telling me. Sierra was telling me,'” Stephanie said, thankful for her loyal companion and best friend for always being there.
Sierra’s ability to sniff out her owner’s cancer is extraordinary – but not all that rare. A recent study found trained dogs to be 97% accurate in detecting lung cancer and dozens of other stories of dogs acting strangely enough to prompt their owners to visit a doctor are not uncommon. Dogs’ sense of smell is around 10,000 times more acute that a human’s, allowing them to detect cancer often earlier than tests and imaging can.
So, the next time your dog begins acting strangely, first make sure that they’re ok, then… make sure you’re ok, too!