A woman in Buffalo, New York, learned the true meaning of puppy love when her dog found a cancerous lump near her nose, which she initially thought was just a scratch. Lauren Gauthier adopted her one-eyed Teeing Walker Coonhound, Victoria, eight months ago, and the dog recently began sniffing her nose and would make a funny face each time. That tipped off Gauthier and made her realize something was wrong.
“She started smelling a specific area of my nose to the extent that she would actually touch her nose to mine where the cancer is and lean back and look at me and smell it again and look at me,” Gauthier told Inside Edition. She also noted her dog wasn’t trained to be a detection dog.
Gauthier said she eventually went to the doctor, who later determined it was basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. Gauthier admitted she was a frequent tanner as a teenager — she used to use a tanning bed several times a week.
Mount Sinai Hospital’s director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology, Joshua Zeichner, suggested to Allure that cancerous cells might produce volatile compounds that can be detected by the elevated olfactory senses of dogs.
Gauthier had the cancerous lump removed as soon as she could, and now has a small scar on her nose, but she’s grateful her dog. “There’s the old term or ‘who rescued who’ and I think it’s especially true in Victoria’s case,” she said.