It’s commonly said that dogs have a sixth sense – an ability to sense when something just doesn’t seem right and they have their own subtle ways of letting us know.
Lauren Gauthier from Buffalo, NY says her dog “rescued” her by alerting her to small lump on her nostril which, after clear warning signs from her dog, she decided to have examined by a doctor and couldn’t believe what he told her.
Victoria is a gorgeous Treeing Walker Coonhound who sadly lost an eye before Lauren and her husband Benjamin decided to adopt her from Magic Mission’s Beagle and Hound Rescue Center.
Staff at the shelter told Lauren they thought the eye injury may have been caused by “careless hunting” in the pup’s past.
The couple had only welcomed Victoria into the family eight months before Lauren noticed the dog had begun to display a strange reaction to a blemish on her nose.
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While Lauren had noticed the small mark previously, she had dismissed it as just a scratch, until Victoria’s continued unusual behaviour concerned her:
“She started smelling a specific are of my nose to the extent that she would actually touch her nose to mine, lean back and look at me and smell it again and look at me,” Lauren explained.
“It was very odd and she kept doing it repeatedly and I thought that that was a little bit unusual for her to do.”
Sure her dog had sense something amiss, Lauren decided to have the blemish examined by a doctor. Astoundingly, a skin biopsy showed that it was basal cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer.
“She’d been literally putting her nose onto my nose where the cancer was,” Lauren told Inside Edition.
“My dog’s persistence in smelling that area made me wonder if there was something suspicious about it.”
Lauren explained that she would regularly use a tanning bed as a teen numerous times a week, “I think that that’s probably most likely where I developed this,” she said.
According to Skin Cancer Foundation, basal cell carcinoma can present as an “open sore, reddish patch, irritated area, shiny bump or nodule, a small pink growth or a scar-like area”.
Skin cancer’s main cause is “exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning”, says the charity, but if it’s caught early, it is mostly very easily removed in surgery without any further damage caused.
The cancerous lump was successfully removed and although Lauren’s nostril is now slightly scarred and she lost some feeling in her nose for a short time after surgery, she is extremely grateful to Victoria for helping to ensure early detection – potentially saving Lauren’s life.
“She’s just our family dog, she’s not a detection dog of any sort,” Gauthier said. “There’s the old term of ‘who rescued who’ and I think it’s especially true in Victoria’s case.”
Stories like this just go to show how much man’s best friend is capable of – perhaps they even have some abilities we are yet to fully understand.