Wisconsin woman Stephanie Herfel sought out a diagnosis for her pain after her Siberian Husky, Sierra, began displaying strange behaviors, including sniffing her lower belly, then running and hiding.
“She put her nose on my lower belly and sniffed so intently that I thought I spilled something on my clothes,” Herfel tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “She did it a second and then a third time. After the third time, Sierra went and hid. I mean hid!”
Herfel tells the outlet that her dog sniffed out the cancer on three separate occasions.
The first was in 2013; the pain in her abdomen and Sierra’s sniffing behavior led her to an emergency room doctor, who told her she had an ovarian cyst. Sierra’s strange and seemingly urgent behaviors continued, however, so Herfel went to a gynecologist.
"To see her become so afraid was spooky in its own right. So I made an appointment with a gynecologist and in a matter of weeks and some blood work with an ultrasound, on 11-11-13 I was sitting in the gynecology oncologist room in shock that I had cancer," she tells the outlet.
Herfel had a full hysterectomy and spleen removal, and she was on chemotherapy until April 2014.
Then, Sierra played doctor twice more. Herfel was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2015 and then pelvic cancer in 2016, and Sierra had successfully detected both.
Herfel tells the outlet, "I just feel like my story can let people think about their animals and think, 'Wow, my animal did this when I got diagnosed.' Just to give the animals credit that they are pretty smart.”
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