WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Dogs are known to have excellent olfactory abilities that they can even detect the presence of cancer in humans.
- A Siberian husky named Sierra started acting strangely after sniffing her owner’s belly when she was having abdominal pain; the owner was later discovered to have ovarian cancer.
- Other dog owners have reported that when dogs detect illnesses in their humans, they start acting strange and scared.
When it comes to detecting illnesses in humans, dogs appear to have much keener senses than we do.
It’s a well-known fact that dogs have an excellent sense of smell. But what’s so great about a dog’s olfactory abilities is that he can potentially sniff out cancer in humans.
Sierra, a Siberian husky did just that to his new owner Stephanie Herfel, a native of Wisconsin. Herfel told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that when she started having abdominal pains, Sierra placed her nose on her lower belly and sniffed so intently.
“She did it three times that I thought I spilled something on my clothes. Then Sierra went and hid. I mean hid,” added Herfel.
Later, during a visit to her gynecologist, Herfel was told that she had an ovarian cyst. She was prescribed medications.
But Sierra still acted strangely by curling up in a tight ball and hiding in the closet when Herfel arrived home. Thinking it very unusual, Herfel went for a second opinion.
Eventually, Herfel was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer in 2014. Yet though she had a hysterectomy and chemotherapy, Sierra reacted similarly once again in 2015 and the following year as well. And each time she did, cancer was confirmed to have returned; to Herfel’s liver, then to her pelvis.
“She’s really been a godsend to me. She has never been wrong. I owe my life to that dog,” Herfel told the newspaper.
Other dogs have been reported to have been able to sense cancer in people. Ashley Wagner from the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance told the Journal Sentinel, “It’s almost like the dog knows what’s going on and is scared.” When a friend with cancer visited Herfel, Sierra displayed the same behavior.
Now cancer-free, Herfel is planning to write a book about the special relationship she and Sierra has. She is also seeking to raise funds for women with ovarian cancer.