Lucy Giles hugs Brody tightly. He fills him with kisses and looks at him gratefully. Because that 45-year-old has no doubt: It was her Newfoundland dog that made her understand she had breast cancer.
Animal lover Ms Giles welcomed the 70kg black giant in July 2021 after her partner Ashley, 62, spent six months in hospital in a critical condition after contracting Covid. When Ashley returned home, she relied on Lucy, who works as a caregiver, and became her full-time support.
As part of her recovery, the couple decided to add Brody to a large family of pets they already had in the house: two dogs, Leo and Murphy, 18 rabbits, two cats and a tortoise. Then they adopted the gentle giant Brody, who came from a family that could no longer take care of him.
“In September, Brody started sniffing and rubbing her nose on my right armpit. This happened mostly when I was sitting, so I’d watch TV or just relax and always be in the same spot on my right – the woman tells Swens -. At first, I thought he was the one who wanted some attention , but it seemed strange to me that he was drawn only to my right side. One morning I was washing myself in the bathroom and decided to tap under the breast well and examine myself when I felt a lump in my armpit.’
When she went to the hospital, the tests confirmed what Brody was trying to tell her: “The doctor said right away that I had HER2 positive breast cancer and that there were also cancer cells left in the lymph nodes. The news shocked me so hard because it was the same day my grandmother died of bowel cancer. The year before and I was with her when she died,” continues Giles, who then underwent six cycles of chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy with radiotherapy. Now months later, she’s still having chemotherapy and it hasn’t been an easy day: “The chemo makes me feel bad with mouth sores and some nosebleeds, but I have a great support network of family and friends who come to visit me. Besides Brody. He probably came into our lives for a reason” .
The woman decided to tell her story not only to thank her dog, but also to encourage others to join her in Oxford on Saturday 3 September for this year’s Shine Night Walk, a 10km walk to raise money for cancer research in the UK.
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