|Dog "Sniffs Out" Walnut Grove Woman's Breast Cancer (VIDEO)|
Carol Witcher and her dog Floyd Henry are practically inseparable. It's a strong bond, one that defies explanation, she tells 11Alive News. And what he did for her almost defies reason.
"He nipped my nose and then pushed against my right breast. And I said, 'what are you doing?'" the Walnut Grove woman remembers.
"He pushed again and stood back and looked at me right in my eyes like, 'there's a problem here.' Then, he raised his right front foot and pawed at my breast. And I said, 'uh oh.'"
She checked, and what doctors found launched her into a battle for her life: breast cancer in the exact spot Floyd Henry touched.
Now, three years later, Carol is living cancer free.
"He saved my life," she says. "He truly saved my life."
And some doctors at Emory's Winship Cancer Institute say there may be some truth in that claim.
Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, Winship's director of medical oncology, is leading a study that connects cancer detection with breath odor.
"The types of gases exhaled in our breath sample can be used to detect cancer," he says. "What the dog shows is proof that this is possible."
A similar study shows the correlation between breath patterns and breast cancer patients in a sample group of patients. Through his study, Dr. Ramalingam is looking to do the same with lung cancer.
"The breath specimen is easy to get and it does not involve any expensive procedures," he says. "So it's readily there. If we can use it to detect cancer, that would be a major advance."
The studies are still in their early stages, and Dr. Ramalingam stresses breath detection would not take the place of traditional screenings, but add to them.
As for Floyd Henry, doctors say sniffing out the specific location of cancer is possible, but highly unlikely.
Carol, however, has all the proof she needs.
"I'm here today, I know, because of the grace of God, and that dog," she says.
This story is particulary close to my heart, because I swear my dog Oreo has these same type of super powers for me, her mommy! When she was about 7 months old and I was living in my first apartment on my own she saved my life (maybe not necessarily physically, but emotionally for sure).
One night, about 3 months into my lease after I let her out and we were going to sleep she was acting very anxious and alert. She wouldn't rest and it was very unusual, she was on guard. It was making me very nervous, so I decided to turn on the alarm, which I never did by the way.
After I turned on the alarm, I shut the TV off about 30 minutes later to go to sleep, she was still on guard. Then, about 5 minutes later the alarm went off. I freaked and hit my panic button in my bedroom which went straight to the police. Then, I called my dad who was out of town in tears as I hid in my closet with my dog. Finally, the police officer got there.
My front door at this point was wide open, my balcony door wide open and the door on my balcony with the water heater- also wide open. This door was supposed to be locked by maintenance from the inside.... looks like when I was walking my dog, he walked in my front door and hid in that little closet until I went to sleep, then came in. LI never returned to sleep here again and the lessor wanted to make me pay to break my lease...are you kidding?? The police said that he was probably watching me for months and since I was very routine and didn't lock the door when I walked my dog right out front, he probably came right in. When we filed police reports and everythign, we found out that about a month earlier, there was a rape reported in the complex...ugh, hello, they were supposed to notify the residents. Then, we found out that after being highly screened and income checked for these nice, new apartments, that they had 1 building they were renting out to people recovering from drugs/alcohol...what?? really? you don't think you need to disclose this? This is the only thing that saved me from the $2k to break the lease, but that night, my dog saved me too! Our bond will always be a special one!