When Liza Smith adopted a one-eyed rescue dog named Valley, she had no idea that this intuitive doggo would one day save her brother’s life.
Liza’s 16-year-old brother, Arthur, went into depression after losing his parents in a road accident in a very young age. He isolated himself for months and refused to step out of his room until the day he saw Valley.
Valley was the warmest pooch one could ever have, as she knew what it meant to be home. She was just a year-old when her family had to give her up after she met with an accident. They were a family of only two, an old-couple, who could not offer Valley the care she needed after the unfortunate event.
Sadly, after the accident, Valley, not only lost an eye, but also her loving home.
After two-years of living in the shelter, Valley found a special place in Liza’s heart, who was a volunteer at the dog shelter.
At the time of adoption, Liza had no idea how important and life-changing Valley was going to be.
The day Valley had come home, Arthur was locked up in his room, sitting near the window. Scrapping random designs on a piece of wood, when his eyes suddenly lit up to see Valley jumping out of Liza’s car.
Though Valley was Liza’s pet, she equally bonded with Arthur. When Liza would go to work, Arthur walked Valley in the outdoors, fed her, and played with her.
Valley was healing Arthur, and Liza could sense that. But there was one thing that Liza was unaware of.
Arthur had a red blemish on his neck that was less noticeable due to t-shirts, sweat-shirts, etc. But, after Valley’s addition to the family, the matter came to light.
Most of the time, Valley was with Arthur, and she would constantly sniff the red blemish on his neck. But such behaviour is sometimes taken to be a dog’s way of acting playful or cuddly with their human buddy.
Arthur thought the same. He could not think of it as anything else, but Valley’s every day’s normal behaviour.
The following week, it was a holiday for Liza, and the three of them had planned picnic at the lake nearby. Valley began to sniff and lick Arthur’s neck, and this time Liza noticed how consistent and relentless Valley was in this act of licking Arthur’s neck.
Being a dog caregiver, she immediately knew this was not playful behaviour, but something a dog would do to his wound or cut on his own body.
Valley’s persistent sniffing of the red blemish on Arthur’s neck made them drive to a clinic close by and schedule a doctor’s appointment to check things out.
After some tests, suspicions were confirmed and the reports tested came back positive for basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
Arthur, at the age of 16, had to undergo surgery to remove the cancer, and had his beloved dog, Valley, to thank for sounding the alarm.
Dogs are known to have an extraordinary sense of smell that can detect the odor signatures of various disorders and different types of cancer, and so, Valley did an incredible job with her canine nose.
A dog saves a life by detecting cancer – is not something you hear every damn day. So, after Valley’s miraculous act, Liza and Arthur decided to enrol Valley in non-profit cancer-dog training organization.
Valley was already a prodigy in her group, however, to polish her expertise, she was trained for good four months, smelling samples of breath, plasma, urine, and saliva collected by doctors that were sent to the training centre.
After smelling and working on more than 200 to 300 unique samples, Valley was able to distinguish between a healthy sample and a cancerous one in seconds.
With her teammates, Laura and Flash, Valley now works as a dogtor (a dog doctor) in an non-profit care unit.
Along with cancer, Valley can now detect a distinct scent for the disorder, for instance, when a patient is about to go into epileptic seizure or have a narcoleptic moment, of which, both events are dangerous if the patient is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Minutes before the seizure, Valley picks up on biochemical changes in the body that lead to an attack and helps with different tasks to avoid injury.
But most importantly, Valley’s life-saving skill can provide a warning up to 5 minutes before an attack comes on, giving her handler a chance to get to a safe place or a safe position before the attack.
So, here’s how the story of Valley, a one-eyed dog, teaches us about how a dog saves a life by detecting cancer and how life can simply heal with sniffs, licks, and tail wags.
Share this very interesting story with all the dog lovers out there.