When Maureen Burns’ 9-year-old dog, Max, started to act strangely, she worried that her beloved pet was sick. Turns out that Burns herself was ill—and Max knew it.
In a video shared by BBC Earth, Burns describes the “odd signs” that Max started to exhibit.
"The odd signs were when he would come up and touch my breast with his nose, and back off so desperately unhappy with such a sad look in his eyes," Burns said in the video.
It turns out that Burns had a lump in her breast, undetected by her last mammogram. She then decided to get another scan and mammogram, thinking there might be a connection with her pet’s behavior. Those also came back negative.
BBC reports that dogs can smell the chemicals given off by cancerous tumors. In fact, according to an InSitu study, dogs are 88 percent specific and 99 percent sensitive when it comes to detecting lung and breast cancer in the early stages, just by smelling a patient's breath.
Burns is now cancer free after an operation to remove the tumor—and Max knows it.
"He put his nose across my breast to check where the operation had been and was wagging his tail and his eyes were happy," Burns said in the video. "I love Max and I owe him so much."