A woman says she owes her life to her pet dog which sniffed out the early stages of lung cancer.
Teacher Colleen Ferguson, 60, was puzzled when German shepherd Inca started sniffing her breath.
Non-smoker Mrs Ferguson said she had no symptoms of any illness apart from recently feeling tired.
But she followed her dog’s instinct and went for a private health check and weeks later was given the devastating news that scans had found a golf-ball-sized tumour in her left lung.
A biopsy confirmed the tumour was cancerous and Colleen went to Guy’s Hospital in London where she had the lump and half her lung removed earlier this month.
Less than two months after her diagnosis, she is recovering well at home in Headcorn, Kent and hopes to receive confirmation she is cancer free soon.
Colleen, a special needs teacher at Five Acre Wood School in Maidstone, said:
“Inca would just stop completely still and focus on my breath and sit there sniffing, waiting for the out breath.
“I knew she wasn’t begging for food or anything and dogs could detect health problems.”
“I wondered if I might be pre-diabetic and she was picking up the smell of ketones, so I booked a health MOT.”
She added: “It really came out of the blue. I walked into the doctor’s well and came out ill.
“It was stage one cancer, but if it hadn’t been for Inca who knows what could have happened. She saved my life.
“The doctors are all amazed at what she did. She was even mentioned in my medical notes.”
Mrs Ferguson had hoped to enter Inca into dog shows, but now she is going to offer her services as a medical detection dog.
Some diseases are known to have characteristic odours which dogs can detect.