Dog Keeps Poking Mom’s Chest, Doctor Realizes He Made A Mistake

Something's Wrong

She was feeling unnerved by Daisy’s behavior. Suddenly, out of the blue, her dog had changed. This dog had never been frightened easily -- she'd shown no fear of thunderstorms or strangers, even when she was a puppy.

It was becoming clear that the dog had sensed something that had deeply disturbed her when she nudged her owner's chest. And Claire wasn’t ready to listen yet.

The First Sign

It was 2009 when Claire Guest saw the first sign. Her dog, Daisy, had been acting strangely for a while now -- refusing to follow commands and acting as though she was afraid of her. 

It was very unusual but, like most of us, she shrugged the warning signs away, thinking that perhaps she was just imagining things. She wouldn’t be that lucky.

Sudden Change

She didn't know it, but Claire Guest was experiencing the first signs. she had been feeling exhausted lately, and her dog, Daisy, had been acting strangely for a while now -- refusing to follow commands and acting as though she was afraid of her.

It was very unusual but, like most of us, she shrugged the warning signs away, thinking that perhaps she was just imagining things. She wouldn’t be that lucky.

Something Amiss

It wasn’t long before Claire conceded to herself that this may be more than just a bout of fatigue. So, she finally set up an appointment with local GP. She outlined the symptoms she had been experiencing over the past few months -- the headaches, the constant exhaustion, nausea, and loss of appetite.

She told the doctor that she was worried that this was more serious because it was only getting worse, not better.

Rushed Diagnosis

Pushed for time and having seen similar cases before, the doctor dismissed her worry with a quick diagnosis even though he did no tests to confirm anything. 

Claire, not wanting to insult him, accepted his answer. She grasped the script he had scribbled down on his pad in her hands as another wave of nausea hit her.


Claire tried to remember what the doctor had said as she filled her prescription for antibiotics and painkillers at the pharmacy -- he thought that she just had the flu. 

He said she should get some rest. But this exhaustion and pain felt…different. She wanted to believe, but deep inside she knew that it was a lie.

Masking Something Bigger

After taking a couple of days off for bed rest she had to get back to work. The pain medication was helping with some of the symptoms. The sharp shooting pain in her chest was more of a dull throb now, but even medicine couldn’t hide the fact that the pills were masking something serious. 

It was only when Daisy, her labrador retriever, did something strange that Claire knew she couldn’t trust that doctor.


Daisy had been adopted by Claire when she was just a puppy. “I visited lots of places but eventually drove to a farmhouse where a rust-colored labrador puppy called Daisy was sleeping by the stove with her mum. 

When she woke up she gazed at me with her big brown eyes and seemed like a thoughtful, gentle dog, I knew she was the one,” Claire recalls. Daisy never wanted to leave Claire’s side, so when she started acting weirdly around her she couldn’t help but think that something was wrong.

Odd Behavior

Daisy was now five years old, and Claire began to notice a drastic change in her dog’s behavior. The well-trained dog began to grow more and more unresponsive.

She began to refuse to follow commands and even began acting as though she was wary of her owner. Claire, a trained animal behaviorist, began to worry. Was Daisy unwell?


Claire was shaken by Daisy’s behavior, the sudden change was so unlike her. She was not known to become frightened easily, even taking thunderstorms that most other dogs would cower from in her stride.

It was clear that the dog had sensed something inside her owner that had deeply unnerved her, but Claire wasn’t ready to listen, yet.


Claire’s symptoms became progressively worse and she began to deteriorate in front of her family’s eyes, but she remained determined to get to the bottom of her illness. 

She tried natural remedies, herbal concoctions, spoke to apparent “experts” in online chats, but nothing helped. And no one could give her an answer. Maybe it was all in her head?

Red Flags

One day, Claire drove Daisy and her two other dogs to the park. But instead of running off with the others, Daisy wouldn’t budge. Then, Daisy walked right up to her and did something she had never done before. 

She anxiously nudged Claire’s chest with her nose. “What’s wrong, Daisy?” Claire whispered, looking into her solemn brown eyes. But Claire didn’t click until much later.

Tender To The Touch

Claire eventually managed to corral Daisy out of the car and out for a walk with the others. But as the dogs raced off, she noticed something. Her chest felt slightly painful -- as if she had an old bruise.

She assumed that Daisy had nudged her too hard and had left her skin feeling tender. But later that evening, she felt it. 


“That evening as I took off my bra, I noticed a small lump under the skin,” Claire recalls. And she made a decision. She wasn’t going to continue hiding from the fact that something clearly was not right with her health. 

She decided to get a second opinion and booked an appointment with another GP. She trusted her dog’s reaction more than a rushed doctor. And she was right to.


After a careful examination, Claire was referred to a specialist. The lump turned out to be a harmless cyst -- which can be painful but are not usually serious and tend to clear up on their own. The doctor also decided to order a core biopsy, which checks the deeper breast tissue, just as a precaution.

It took a few weeks for Claire to get her results from the biopsy back, and then the phone call came that rocked her world.


The doctor told her that she needed to come in urgently. “I had a small tumor in my breast and would need surgery immediately,” Claire said, her voice choking up, “...

The first thing that came into my head was the anxious look Daisy had given me when she was bumping her nose into my chest.”

She'd Been Warning Her

Because it was so deep, the tumor would have been huge by the time it was big enough to feel. But since it had been caught early, the chances of Claire surviving the next five years were high.

“I suddenly felt guilty for thinking [Daisy] was misbehaving and realized that her warning had saved my life... Even though I was involved in cancer research, I didn’t realize what Daisy was trying to tell me.” 

Twist Of Fate

Claire had been working with Daisy and other dogs in a clinical trial that was training her to detect cancer in humans. After her first-hand experience, her belief in the work she was doing only spurred her on. 

It was an ironic twist of fate that her own dog had alerted her to her hidden illness. Now, she knew that she had to do more.


Claire had a lumpectomy and a few lymph nodes removed. Thankfully, the tests indicated that the cancer hadn’t spread anywhere else in her body. She had a course of radiotherapy but didn’t need chemotherapy. 

She’s in remission and has since co-founded Medical Detection Dogs, a charitable foundation that trains dogs to detect illnesses in humans.

A Dog's Nose

Studies have confirmed that dogs can effectively detect cancerous cells in a human body. Cancerous cells release different metabolic waste products to healthy cells. A dog’s sense of smell is so powerful that they can detect these cancerous cells even in the very early stages of cancer. 

Studies show that dogs can be trained to detect cancer in 93% of cases. Currently, Claire and her team are also looking into early coronavirus detection.