A tiny Yorkshire Terrier saved her owner’s life after jumping up and down on her chest to alert her to a cancerous lump.
Eleven-year-old pooch Bella Boo wouldn’t settle in her usual sleeping place and kept trying to lie on Karena Kirk-Drain’s chest despite being pushed away.
She would lick and bounce on 53-year-old Karena’s chest, causing her severe pain.
But when she checked her injuries out, she noticed a lump under her skin which doctors confirmed was breast cancer.
Karena, of Blackpool, Lancs., then underwent life-saving treatment and believes the disease would have been missed if it wasn’t for Bella-Boo’s actions.
She said: “Bella started bouncing on me, and at one point she caught me – and I actually thought she’d bruised me, as I was very sore there.
“And I was feeling around, and I actually felt a lump, and I was thinking, ‘Is that a lump inside?’”
“I wouldn’t be here without Bella doing that.
“I didn’t think dogs could detect cancer, I thought it was a lot of hoo-ha really, but this proves that they can and how amazing they are.
“I’m just so lucky to be here – little Bella-Boo saved my life.”
The protective pooch began acting up on Karena’s late mum’s birthday on October 14, 2013.
A few weeks later, Karena thought her dog was unwell when she wouldn’t stop weeping, but baffled vets confirmed that she was in fact fit and healthy.
Karena said Bella-Boo’s odd demeanour continued over the following three weeks, and later the little dog started to cry, leaving her concerned about her health.
She said: “It was my mum’s birthday, which was really bizarre, and she started acting really weird.
“Bella always slept on the back of my legs, but she kept lying on my chest.
“I’m quite small framed, so with a Yorkshire terrier on me, I couldn’t breath, but every time I took her off me, she’d crawl back on again.
“She started laying there and crying, and it was a heart-breaking cry. It was soul-destroying hearing her like that.
“I took her to the vets and said ‘There’s something wrong with my dog, she’s lying on me and crying, she’s obviously trying to tell me something – she must be in pain’.
“But they checked her heart and did some basic checks and said there was nothing wrong with her.”
Karena said Bella-Boo then began to lick her chest before she became even more aggressive.
Karena was later advised by a nurse at a walk-in centre to seek immediate assistance from a specialist cancer doctor.
She was then informed by medics that she had breast cancer, and worryingly the disease had already started spreading
She said: “The doctor said the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes – that’s probably why Bella was getting more determined because it was spreading.”
Karena then underwent years of life-saving cancer therapy and went onto holiday around the world after realising how lucky she was to get her diagnosis early enough.
And she now believes Bella-Boo was sent by her late mum to save her life.
She said: “Me and my mum were very, very close, and she passed away quite suddenly at 62.
“I didn’t believe in that type of thing. I didn’t believe that dogs could detect cancer. I didn’t believe that there was anything after death. But I think differently now.
“That’s why I think my mum sent her for me, it was weird.
“Once I got the cancer removed, she stopped straight away, and she started lying behind my legs again.”
Karena has urged pet owners to pay attention to their strange behaviour in the future.
She said: “Maybe if people see their dog start acting strange, they’ll be able to think twice.
“People underestimate dogs and cats and all animals. But they are amazing creatures. I’m just so lucky to be here. Little Bella-Boo saved my life.”