It’s been said that animals have a sixth sense, and they use it in ways to help their owners.
Max, a dog who was typically inseparable from his owner Maureen, had become distant towards her.
“He just wasn’t happy,” Maureen told BBC Earth. “He wouldn’t come with me, wouldn’t sit by me, wouldn’t sit on my lap.”
As he was nine years old at the time, Maureen had thought that maybe he was approaching the end of his life. There seemed to be no other reason for the behavior.
Maureen then noticed that Max would sniff near her chest, and then back off afterward — she couldn’t figure out why.
At this point, Maureen knew she had a lump in her breast, but a recent mammogram had not found anything to worry about. However, her dog’s behavior made her reconsider.
One day she was looking at herself in the mirror, and then saw Max looking at her with the saddest eyes. She suddenly thought the lump in her breast could be cancer.
Maureen went to get more tests done. She was given another mammogram, which again came back negative. But just to be sure, Maureen went and got a surgical biopsy. It was this test that revealed that her fear had come true—she had cancer.
Max had detected the breast cancer before doctors did, potentially saving Maureen’s life.
BBC Earth said that dogs have been found to be able to smell the “tiny volatile chemicals given off by cancerous tumors.” Max had detected the chemicals and feared the worst for his owner, which is what sent him into his depression.
Maureen then underwent a procedure to have the cancerous lump removed, and the day she returned from the hospital, she noticed an instant change in Max’s behavior.
“He put his nose across my breast to check where the operation had been, and he was wagging his tail, and his eyes were happy,” Maureen said. She finally had the old Max back, and she could also thank him for showing her there was something wrong, and for the fact that she is now cancer-free.
Along with being able to detect cancer, dogs can also detect low blood sugar, before a person can even feel it.
Dogs are also being trained to detect for narcoleptic and allergic reactions. It’s amazing how an animal so close to us can end up saving lives, like Max did with Maureen.
If your dog gives you a sign like Max was doing, don’t ignore it! Dogs are smarter than you may think.