Stephanie Herfel shares her life with a special Husky named Sierra. Stephanie is a survivor. She has battled ovarian cancer that has gone into remission and come back again a total of four times. Each and every time her cancer has emerged, Sierra has sent Stephanie warning signs that something was wrong. At first Stephanie didn’t listen. Now that she understands Sierra’s means of communication, she acts on the warnings and it has made all the difference.
Sierra Tried to Warn Her, But Stephanie Didn’t Understand
Stephanie had been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst about six years ago. Although Stephanie thought that everything in her body was fine, her intuitive and perceptive dog Sierra wholeheartedly disagreed. It started with Sierra placing her nose on Stephanie’s abdomen repeatedly. Stephanie told ABC 7, “She came up and put her nose on my belly, which I dismissed.”
Stephanie went about her business as usual until a few days later. She found Sierra curled up in a little ball inside a back closet. This was highly unusual as Sierra had never gone in there before. Sierra was visibly upset and Stephanie could clearly see it.
“(She was) curled up in a little ball with her nose under her tail. Her little face was completely wet and her eyebrows were crunched,” Stephanie told ABC 7. Stephanie believes that when she ignored Sierra’s initial warnings by placing her head on her belly, Sierra decided to “speak” to her in a different way.
Stephanie had been having stomach pain. That coupled with Sierra’s odd behavior motivated Stephanie to listen this time. She decided to go the doctor. She was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.
Three Recurrences and Sierra Spots it Each Time
Only a few months after Stephanie’s 6-month fight to put her cancer into remission, Sierra gave her another warning. She went into the closet, as she had before. Stephanie listened right away and it was found that the ovarian cancer had spread to her liver. This happened 2 more times. Most recently, the cancer was in such early stages that it was undetectable with a standard scan. If not for Sierra and Stephanie’s ability to believe and listen, Stephanie may not be here today.
Dogs’ Sense of Smell Finds Cancer with 97% Accuracy
Stephanie told her oncologist about Sierra’s ability and he was not surprised. He says that her dog’s sense of smell was likely to thank along with Sierra’s intuition about Stephanie not feeling well. A study conducted by Experimental Biology showed that dogs can detect cancer in blood samples with an impressive 97% accuracy. With smell receptors 10,000 time stronger than that of humans, dogs have capabilities with their noses that we are only beginning to tap into.
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