A rescue dog saved its owner’s life after sniffing out an aggressive tumour in her breast.
Josie Conlon, 46, of Stockton-on-Tees was unaware she had breast cancer until her two-year-old collie Ted began to cry, paw and nuzzle her chest.
But the grade three tumour was caught in time and removed, and now Mrs Conlon has been given the all-clear by her doctor.
“When I got the results from the hospital and was told the cancer had not spread the relief I felt was incredible and it is all down to Ted,” she said.
“It was also at this point that I was told that the tumour I had was particularly aggressive and had been growing very quickly.
“If I’d left it any later before going to the doctor the consequences do not bear thinking about. “
Ted was a rescue dog and so was rarely affectionate with Mrs Conlon. It is thought he had suffered a blow to the head with his former owners and had been kept in a small cage.
Mrs Conlon, who lives with her delivery driver husband Brian, 47, had the lump removed in the middle of December was given the news that the cancer had not spread this week.
Josie Conlon and her Border Collie Ted (NNP)
She faces 18 weeks of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiotherapy to ensure that the cancer does not return, but her prognosis is good.
The mother-of-three is now keen to let others know that they should take noticed of their dogs if they are trying to draw attention to a certain area.
“I think a lot of people would probably just push a dog away if it started clawing at their chest, but dog owners should take notice, because Ted really did save my life,” she added.
This Christmas The Telegraph has been raising money for the charity Medical Detection Dogs which trains unwanted pets to detect cancer. To donate to the charity visit medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk.