Stephanie Herfel, from Madison, WI, owes her life to her dog, Sierra, three times over!
Back in 2013, Herfel had been feeling pain in her abdomen but didn’t think much of it. Until her Husky put her nose on her lower stomach and sniffed very intently. She did it two more times and then hid.
Herfel knew something was wrong. She went to the doctor, who initially said it was just an ovarian cyst.
After a few weeks, an appointment with a gynecologist and some blood work, Herfel was given the news that no one wants to hear: she had cancer. Stage 3c ovarian cancer.
From there, Herfel had a full hysterectomy and also lost her spleen. She underwent chemotherapy until April 2014.
In 2015, and then again the following year, Sierra sniffed her and then hid, the same way she did the first time. Herfel had a feeling that Sierra would be right again, and unfortunately she was. The cancer had returned in her liver and then again in her pelvic area.
Thanks to Sierra, Herfel was able to catch her cancer early enough. She is now cancer-free and takes chemo orally each day.
It’s safe to say that Sierra saved her human’s life!
“I have been graced with a pet that turned into a life saver, nurse, and some spiritual relationship that can only be explained if you have had a chance to meet her!” Herfel wrote on Facebook.
Herfel got Sierra as a gift from her son back in 2011, and the two of them have been the best of friends ever since.
Herfel now raises money for research and supporting women with ovarian cancer all over the country. She plans to write a book about her journey.
“I just feel like my story can let people think about their animals and think, ‘Wow, my animal did this when I got diagnosed.’ Just to give the animals credit that they are pretty smart,” Herfel told the Journal Sentinel.
Dogs have been known to be able to sniff out certain cancers and diseases. There are dogs who have been trained to specifically detect skin cancer just by sniffing the skin lesions. Some researchers have proven that dogs can detect prostate cancer just by smelling urine.
As for Sierra, she enjoys playing with tennis balls, going for car rides, taking walks, and playing outside.
Click here to follow Stephanie and Sierra’s journey on Facebook.
Watch the video below where Herfel joined a segment of Pickler & Ben to share her story: