English Woman Credits Her Yorkie With Saving Her Life After Dog Helped Her Detect Cancer Early

Cleo the Yorkshire Terrier helped Brenda Richards discover a cancerous lump in her breast by pawing at the area

brenda richards
Photo: SWNS

A devoted dog saved her owner's life by scratching at her chest to alert her to a cancerous lump in her right breast.

In April 2019, Yorkshire terrier Cleo, then seven, clawed at her owner Brenda Richards as she tried to carry her upstairs to bed — unusual bedtime behavior for Richards' pet.

Loving Cleo is too tiny to climb the stairs, so retired home help worker Brenda usually carries her to bed.

In response to the canine's bizarre behavior, Richards, 78, looked at the area where the pup was pawing and found a lump, which medics later diagnosed as breast cancer.

Richards, of Derby, England, was given the all-clear after treatment and believes her cancer would have been missed if it wasn't for clever Cleo.

"She was trying to tell me something. Without a shadow of a doubt, my little doggie, Cleo, found the lump in my breast and saved my life," the grateful dog owner told SWNS. "I had no idea there was a lump there. If my little doggie hadn't found it, I don't think I would ever have known about it.

"I dread to think what would have happened if Cleo hadn't behaved the way she did," Richards added.

Brenda, a great-grandmother of three, was diagnosed by medics at the Royal Derby Hospital, where she'd previously volunteered for three years.

brenda richards

After eight months of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and an ongoing clinical trial, she was given the all-clear.

"I knew I was in safe hands. I knew all the nurses from when I volunteered at the very same hospital. I had seen how they treated people with my own eyes," Richards said.

"There was no messing about. My mammogram, biopsy, and diagnosis all happened on the same day," she added. "They gave me a choice to have a lumpectomy, a mammogram, or do nothing, so I opted for the lumpectomy."

brenda richards

The minimally invasive procedure meant doctors removed the cancer and a small amount of the healthy surrounding tissue.

After her experience, Brenda is urging women to book their annual mammograms.

"The sooner you go to get checked or diagnosed, the better," Richards said. "In spite of my worries, when cancer actually happened to me, I breezed through it because my lump was found early."

"Getting the all-clear in February 2020 felt fantastic. I needed to know the cancer had gone," she added. "My dog Cleo, my baby, saved my life without a doubt."

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