9 July 2012

Cancer Stinks

Animals can smell cancer. This has been well documented, and was described to me by a woman who I met at my one-and-only group therapy session. She had a dog, and said that it would lie on her chest and sniff her left breast. She had already been through cancer three years previously, and assumed that he was sniffing at the residue of history. Not so. Her cancer had recurred and the dog was the first to notice. At the time that I met her, she was waiting for her test results. The fact that the tumour was malignant was certain, and she was waiting to learn the severity of the invasion.  Scary stuff.

I rarely think about recurrence. I’ve had all sorts of treatments, with one more to come, and in an effort to keep my recurrence rate down to the absolute minimum I’ve upped my coniferous vegetables, and am trying to cut down on booze and stress. Not to mention flax, all natural make-up, exercise, and therapy. 

The Face of a Genius
So I was quite alarmed with Jed lay down on top of me and started sniffing at my breast. It was last week, during the heat wave, and I came home from work and sprawled on the couch. Not in a pretty way, either. Basically sitting with my arms flung out, and my ass sliding off the bottom of the seat with my chin resting on my chest.  I also happened to be in Jed’s spot, and he was a bit pissed, so he jumped up and stared at me. Then he started sniffing. And when he gets a scent, his little eyebrows furrow, his whiskers start to wiggle, and his sniffing gets pretty intense. He inhaled a series of very quick deep hound-sniffs. And I was paralyzed. (Well, as paralyzed as one can be when lying like a rag doll who has been flung on the sofa, with a hairdo that looks like it’s been through a washing machine). But I was frozen – and stayed that way for about 30 seconds, seized by the first grip of fear of felt in about six months.

Then Jed stopped, and sighed, and plunked his big droopy head down on my white blouse and looked up at me with his bloodshot eyes. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Worried? Satisfied? Protective?

Later that day I was checking myself out in a mirror. As usual, my hair needed flattening and I was covered in dog hair. (But apart from that, lovely!) Then I noticed a brown speck on my shirt. After trying to wipe it away, I realized that the speck was actually inside my pocket. I plucked it out, and it was a piece of cookie! I nearly laughed out loud. What Jed smelled was not canceritis returnis, but just a tiny remnant of my afternoon snack – a morsel of a ginger cookie.

Knowing that the source of Jed’s interest was now between my fingers, and not actually inside of me, made me giddy. Jed of course had known that all along, and was waiting outside the washroom door for his reward. Which he got of course, because dogs are so much smarter than we. 

PS For all you cat lovers out there,  here’s a story about a cat who predicted 50 deaths in a retirement home. It’s either funny/morbid/scarey, depending on your mood.


  1. the Orangedalers09 July, 2012

    I hope Mitzi doesn't start hanging around suspiciously!! How do you know if she is waiting for you to go to the "Happy Hunting Grounds" or if she just wants to play or have a snack??

  2. Hmmm, good question. Not that I'm an expert, but I'd use process of elimination. Play with her a bit, then give her a cupcake, and see if that makes her happy.

  3. How did I miss this posting? Just reading it now - and I have only one comment....only YOU would put part of an uneaten cookie in your pocket and for this, I love you (as does Jed) xo