Search And Rescue Dog Finds Lung Cancer In Owner And Saves Her Life

Wills sits on a bench with her black shepherd-lab mix, Heidi.

(Picture Credit: ABC News)

Heidi the Shepherd-Labrador mix has an excellent nose. She’s used her sniffer to save lives and find over 2,000 missing pets during her career as a search and rescue dog. But now she can add one more life to the number that she’s saved. 

Anne Wills, Heidi’s owner and handler, works with a nonprofit group called Dogs Finding Dogs. They train dogs to sniff out drugs and find missing pets or people. But Heidi found something she wasn’t trained to find in Wills. Early this year, Heidi started acting strangely, scratching Wills’s arm and panicking. She’d stand in front of Wills whenever she sat down and wouldn’t let her get up. Eventually Heidi started shoving her nose in Wills’s chest, breathing deeply. She did this for a few weeks, and Wills became concerned.

Heidi the Shepherd-Lab mix lies and rests on a brick walkway.

(Picture Credit: ABC News)

She took Heidi to the veterinarian, but the vet could find nothing wrong. That’s when Wills realized the problem might be with herself. She got a CAT scan and the doctor found three spots of cancer on her lungs. Wills had no symptoms, and if the doctor hadn’t caught the cancer in time, it would have spread and become incurable. For now, Wills is in remission. She and the doctor agree that without Heidi, Wills would probably be preparing her own funeral arrangements. But thanks to the devotion and super nose of a loyal dog, Wills is able to fight her cancer with everything she’s got.

What do you think? Would you see a doctor if your dog acted strangely around you? Is Heidi a hero? Let us know in the comments below!

Related Articles:

Can Dogs Detect Cancer In Humans?

Cancer Sniffing Dogs Join The Hospital Staff At UC Davis

Cancer-Sniffing Dog’s First Find: Her Owner’s Cancer