This Siberian husky doesn’t just have a sweet face to look at – she’s also got a nose that is credited for saving her owner’s life.

Sierra the dog has been able to smell Stephanie Herfel’s ovarian cancer not once, but three times. On top of that, she has also managed to sniff out cancer in nearby strangers as well.

Sierra’s first cancer detection occurred in 2013 when the pup was roughly 2 years old. At the time, Herfel had been experiencing some abdominal pain, but a doctor had simply prescribed her some antibiotics for an ovarian cyst. She became concerned, however, when Sierra reacted oddly to Herfel’s stomach.

“She put her nose on my lower belly and sniffed so intently that I thought I spilled something on my clothes. She did it a second and then a third time. After the third time, Sierra went and hid. And I mean hid!” Herfel told the Journal Sentinel.

RELATEDWatch Dog Rush to Rescue Struggling Canine Friend After He Falls into Backyard Pool

Herfel eventually found that the anxious pup had curled herself up into a ball in the back of a closet. Herfel then listened to her instincts and made an appointment with a gynecologist only to have a series of tests reveal that she had stage 3C ovarian cancer several weeks later.

She had been fortunate to receive the diagnosis before the cancer had spread any further. After undergoing a hysterectomy, Herfel stayed on chemotherapy meds until 2014. Then in 2015 and 2016, Sierra sounded the olfactory alarm again by hiding in the closet – this time for when the cancer reoccurred in Herfel’s liver and then in her pelvic area.

Additionally, Sierra hid in the closet when a friend with a pre-known ovarian cancer case stopped by their home in Madison, Wisconsin for a visit; and the pup reacted the same way when a worker came by to help remodel Herfel’s kitchen. Herfel and her husband then notified the worker’s boss because they felt it was the right thing to do.

WATCHDog That Shoplifted a Book on ‘Abandonment’ is Given the Love It Was Asking For

Herfel, now 52 years old and retired from her job as a proposal writer, is currently cancer-free and working as an advocate for the disease – and she hopes to write a book about the dog who saved her life.

“I owe my life to that dog,” Herfel told the Sentinel. “She’s really been a godsend to me. She has never been wrong.”

Be Sure And Share This Pawesome Story With Your Friends On Social MediaPhoto by Stephanie Herfel


  1. This is not unusual. They’ve used beagles to sniff for skin cancer and are testing dogs on other cancers. What is unique is that Sierra hasn’t been trained to do this but is a natural born “cancer dog.”

  2. I am a hard core dog lover
    Several years ago I was doing a construction project for a ranch family
    One of their dogs had a manner I can not describe but I was unusually attracted to the dog

    When I was wrapping up with the paperwork in their home, that dog was inside also
    I light heartedly remarked that if they wanted to get rid of that dog I would be glad to take it off their hands.

    They all heartily reacted with ‘Oh no, that is a very special dog’
    Went on to tell me how one day it planted it’s nose on the back of a family member’s neck and wouldn’t let up.
    Later that person was diagnosed with brain stem cancer

    Later another family member was there & dog planted nose on their abdomen – later discovered they had liver cancer.

    Later with another family member, dog planted it’s nose on their abdomen and everyone said go now to doctor.
    Gallbladder cancer was discovered

    That dog is royalty in that family
    Sounds hokey but is the truth as I know it

Leave a Reply