Adopting a dog from a shelter is a kind gesture in which both sides benefit. The dog gets a loving home and family to care for it, and the adoptive parent gets an adorable and faithful cuddle buddy.
The popular phrase, “Who saved who?” is a nod to the mutually beneficial relationship that results from a successful adoption. But for Lauren Gauthier from Buffalo, New York, the expression holds more truth than it does for most.
Gauthier saved her Treeing Walker Coonhound, Victoria, only a few months before the dog would repay the favor.
Victoria had suffered through her fair share of hardships in life. As a result of her difficulties, the sweet pup had only one eye.
Had Gauthier not adopted her, an extended stay in a city shelter would have put her life in jeopardy.
The two became fast friends, and Victoria quickly became part of the family. She was, however, exhibiting one particularly strange behavior that left Gauthier and her husband perplexed.
“She started smelling a specific area of my nose to the extent that she would actually touch her nose to mine … and lean back and look at me and smell it again and look at me,” Gauthier said to Inside Edition.
“It was very odd and she kept doing it repeatedly and I thought that that was a little bit unusual for her to do.”
After the behavior persisted, Gauthier decided to have it checked out by a doctor.
The doctor took a biopsy of the spot on Gauthier’s nose and received startling results. The blemish was the beginnings of skin cancer.
It's not my prettiest day.Had #mohssurgery and #basalcellcarcinoma removed from my nose today. Feeling sore and looking forward to #healing. Grateful they were able to get clean margins in only one pass. All my younger days in #tanningbooth have come to pay me back. I have blood in my hair and down my shirt. Use me as the impetus to wear #sunscreen and stay out of the booths.
Gauthier was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, and an operation to remove the cancerous tissue soon followed.
Because the cancer was discovered in the early stages, doctors were able to avoid the more extensive and invasive types of treatments required once cancer spreads.
“It really is amazing that my dog was so persistent in sniffing the area that was skin cancer,” Gauthier said to SweetBuffalo716.com, via Love What Matters.
Gauthier frequently visited the tanning salon, which she believes is what caused the cancer to develop.
The procedure to remove the cancerous area was successful, and now Gauthier is urging people to stay away from tanning beds, and to pay more attention to the signals their dogs are giving them.
“My advice for teenagers and others considering tanning bed use is—don’t,” Gauthier said. “The cost and the damage you do to your skin is way too high.”
Gauthier believes it was Victoria’s way of giving back for rescuing her.
For any following my #skincancer journey, here I am 2 weeks post #mohssurgery and removal of #basalcellcarcinoma on my nose. My #plasticsurgeon did such a wonderful job to see the #healing in a short period of time. Once the swelling dissipates I will be in good shape! #skincancersurvivor #skincancerscar #girlswithscars #brave #battle
“What is particularly rewarding is that I adopted her through the rescue that I founded, (Magic’s Mission Beagle & Hound Rescue, Inc.) and devote much of my life to saving hounds who have been abused or neglected,” Gauthier said.
“It seems Victoria and her keen skills are the way that the hounds decided to give back to me.”
While the surgery has changed Gauthier’s appearance, she realizes how lucky she is to have caught the cancer so quickly. Were it not for Victoria, she would still be unaware of its existence.
“I am so thankful for Victoria. She and I have always had a close bond and she senses when I’m upset or stressed,” Gauthier said. “I had no idea she’d be able to detect that I had cancer lurking underneath my skin.”