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Listen to what dogs may be telling you

April 4, 2017 GMT

I have a funny history with dogs. Okay, funny might not be the right word. My only experience with dogs as a child was being attacked and bitten and visiting plastic surgeons.

My daughter was my gateway to dogs when she (with the help of her mother, of course) at a very young age got a tiny cocker spaniel named Charlie. Charlie taught me that dogs are pretty awesome people! So much so, that I now have Charlie and a younger dog named Bear at home. I love them.

Dogs are absolutely amazing. Their intuitive sense of how you feel, when you want to play, when you just need a big sloppy kiss, when you just need them to crawl on your lap and be there, never ceases to amaze me.

Scattered in both the medical and lay literature, and even in the confines of my medical office, I have heard reports of people telling of their dog warning of something ominous going on inside them. I have personally witnessed dogs that, even to eat, would not leave the side of a dying hospice patient.

I’ve been told a few different times about the family pet acting strangely around grandma prior to her passing. It seems these wonderful animals have a much greater intuitive sense than just the fact that we all need love.

A couple of wonderful people, who have obviously been aware of this very fact, presented some interesting findings at the French National Academy of Medicine in February 2017.

They showed with 90 percent and then 100 percent accuracy, in two separate testing periods, that dogs (at least the two they used in the study) could detect cancer in various people.

If this could become part of our recognized medical regimen, it would be the most painless, noninvasive, and cheap way for doctors to help patients discover cancer, especially at an early stage when it would be more treatable. The implications are immense.

But until it does become widespread and fully accepted, give your pooch some extra love today, and pay attention to what he or she may be telling you.

Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.