Back in 2005, Curtis Young wondered why Sabrina, his 11-pound Miniature Pinscher, would constantly bite and dig at the back of his head while he was laying on the couch.
The Brevard County, Fla, firefighter told Florida Today Sunday that he’d wondered if he had dandruff.
But an MRI revealed something much more serious: Young had a brain tumor the size of a bullet.
If Sabrina’s persistent behavior hadn’t led Young to see a doctor, he could have been paralyzed within six months, and dead within a year.
“She’s an angel,” Young told Florida Today.
Even now, at the ripe old age of 13, Sabrina’s nose is still in top form. Two weeks ago, she began nibbling a spot on Young’s back when he wasn’t wearing a shirt. He felt a lump there, which turned out to be basal cell skin cancer.
“As far as special, she’s beyond special,” Young told Florida Today. “There’s nothing that comes between me and her. She comes before anything and everything.”
Sabrina is not alone in her cancer-detection skills. Other dogs have sniffed out breast cancer in their dog moms, and in a study last year, dogs were able to sniff out prostate cancer in urine.
In December 2009, Sabrina herself got very sick from the bacterial disease leptospirosis. In tears, Young called his mom, telling her he’d probably have to have his beloved little lifesaver euthanized.
Although one vet had called Sabrina a “dead dog walking,” Young got a second opinion, and another vet was able to save her life.
Young and his ex-wife found Sabrina years ago at a flea market. “She’s the daughter that I never had,” Young told Florida Today.
“She’s not my little girl — I’m her little boy. And she knows it.”
Photo credit: Riley the Miniature Pinscher by Marabuchi