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Monday, February 20, 2006

Cancer-sniffing dog inducted into hall of fame

Canadian Press

WAVERLEY, N.S., Canada -- A cancer-sniffing dog from Nova Scotia is getting a gold star.

Georgina Bramwell's Pomeranian is earning a spot in the Purina Animal Hall of Fame after the dog's constant pawing led her to find a cancerous lump in her breast about a year ago.

"I thought Teddy Bear was crazy when he was digging at me," said the 76-year-old from Waverley, N.S.

"The night when he jumped on me, that's when I realized, because I didn't know (my breast) was painful until then."

Bramwell went to the doctor and soon after was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a week, a cancer specialist successfully performed a mastectomy on her right breast.

"I wouldn't have known," said Bramwell. "He saved my life."

Since the operation, two-year-old Teddy Bear no longer paws or digs Bramwell.

After a routine mammogram last week, Bramwell discovered she is cancer free.

"I'm so proud," Bramwell said of her dog.

This isn't the first case of a dog sniffing out cancer.

There have been numerous cases of cancer-sniffing pets documented since 1989. Medical researchers are studying a dog's ability to sniff out lung, breast, prostate and skin cancer at an early stage.

Results so far are promising. When urine from bladder-cancer patients was set among samples from healthy people or those with other diseases, pet dogs were able to sniff out the cancer patient's urine almost three times more often.

A dog's sense of smell is generally 10,000 to 100,000 times better than a human's.

Teddy Bear will be inducted at the 38th annual awards ceremony in April.

Purina says its hall of fame, established in Canada in 1978, is the only recognition program of its kind.

There are currently 126 inductees, all chosen for their exceptional loyalty, courage and bravery in saving human life.


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