These pooches are the health-care heroes we need but don't deserve.

Advertisement
Meet the Clever Dogs Who Saved Their Owners Lives
Credit: Getty Images

Thanks to their sense of smell, canine companions may be able to help protect your health — and even save your life. A recent study found that dogs were 97 percent accurate at sniffing out blood samples from people with cancer. Their smell receptors are 10,000 times more precise than humans', scientists say. Other research indicates that dogs may also be able to sniff out seizures.

Here, to showcase their abilities, two stories of life-saving pups. (Related: A Heroic Therapy Dog Helped Save a Woman Who Was Contemplating Taking Her Own Life)

The Dog Who Detected Serious Disease

Sierra the husky has saved her owner from cancer not once but multiple times. In 2013, Stephanie Herfel of Madison, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with a benign cyst. Sierra, however, seemed to think otherwise: She began intently sniffing Herfel's belly and kept doing it. When Herfel found the dog hiding in a closet afterward looking upset, she became worried and decided to get a second opinion. It turns out that Sierra's nose knew something was wrong; Herfel was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. She had to have surgery and chemotherapy.

Fast-forward to 2015, when Sierra again started sniffing her owner's belly and hiding. This time, Herfel didn't hesitate to go to the doctor, and scans confirmed that her cancer had returned. But Sierra wasn't done playing doctor: The husky detected the cancer again in 2016, and Herfel was put on a new cutting-edge drug treatment. She is forever grateful to her furry savior. "I wouldn't be here today if [Sierra] hadn't reacted the way she did," Herfel has said.

The Pooch Stopped Traffic Who to Save Her Owner

Last March, Haley Moore was walking with her dog, Clover, near her home in Ottawa, Ontario. When Moore suddenly had a seizure and collapsed, Clover didn't miss a beat: She checked to see if Moore was okay, then ran into the street to stop traffic and get help. Two motorists pulled over; one said the dog blocked his truck until he got out. The entire scene was captured on a neighbor's security camera.

But Clover had more work to do. Once she saw that her owner was in good hands, she ran home to alert the rest of the family that something was wrong. Moore's parents rushed to the scene to find their daughter being treated by paramedics.

Today, Moore is doing fine, though her family still doesn't know what caused the seizure. But there's one thing Moore is certain about: "If this ends up happening again, I feel 10 times safer. I know [Clover] will be there for me," she told a local TV news station. "She's a really amazing dog." (In other news showing the power of a dog's sniffer, researchers are studying if pups can be trained to smell out COVID-19.)

Shape Magazine, November 2021 issue