A woman’s pet husky has saved her life on more than one occasion after sniffing out her cancer three times before doctors detected it.
Stephanie Herfel adopted Sierra, then just a puppy, from her son in 2011 after he was sent overseas with the Air Force.
Two years later, Ms Herfel noticed Sierra acting strangely for the first time.
"She put her nose on my lower belly and sniffed so intently that I thought I spilled something on my clothes,” the owner told 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!"
Sierra would bark and run and hide in a closet.
Ms Herfel said the behaviour worried her – particularly as she had been feeling a pain in her abdomen.
She went to an emergency room and was told she had a cyst on her ovaries, but after Sierra’s strange behaviour continued, Ms Herfel sought a second opinion.
This time, a gynaecologist ran several tests and confirmed that she had stage 3 ovarian cancer.
She started chemotherapy, underwent a full hysterectomy and had her spleen removed.
But Sierra’s detection skills were just getting started.
Two more times, in 2015 and 2016, the dog again acted strangely – and both times Ms Herfel’s worst fears were confirmed; the cancer had returned.
In the follow-up occasions, Ms Herfel was diagnosed with cancer in her liver and then her pelvic area.
When a friend of Ms Herfel’s – who also had ovarian cancer – came around to visit, Sierra hid.
On another occasion, the husky went into hiding when a construction worker came inside the home, prompting Ms Herfel to contact the worker’s boss to let them know of Sierra’s skills and what her prediction might mean.
"I owe my life to that dog. She's really been a godsend to me. She has never been wrong," Ms Herfel told the Journal Sentinel.
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