Dolly is an absolutely adorable Pembroke Welsh Corgi with an admirable track record in the ring. She earned a spot in the 2020 Westminster Dog Show. At the big show she failed to earn the ribbon needed in her class to advance in the competition. Her humans couldn’t have cared less. You see, Dolly helped her human detect and beat cancer. For that, she won the best prize of all: her companions’s life.
Dolly Knew Sean Was Sick Before He Did
Two years ago Sean Sullivan was diagnosed with stage 2 colorectal cancer. During the time leading up to his diagnosis, Dolly seemed to sense that something was wrong. She scarcely left his side. If he went upstairs, she followed. If he took a nap, she curled up beside him. Dolly acted like a little shadow, not wanting to let Sean leave her sight. Eventually Sean became too ill to work and went to the doctor. That is when he and wife Ann learned what Dolly seemed to know innately. Sean was seriously ill.
It is not uncommon for dogs to detect cancer, even in the very early stages. In fact, promising research shows that some dogs can be trained to do just that much like other working dogs are trained to sniff out explosives, drugs, or lost people. When it comes to detecting cancer in people they know, the strong sense of smell and the close emotional connection they have to bonded humans both seem to be at play.
Dolly’s Doting Attention Helped Sean Stay Positive Through Treatment
Sam’s stage 2 colorectal cancer would require aggressive treatment. He needed 6 months of chemotherapy, 28 radiation treatments, and 2 surgeries. His medical team advised him that his outlook would play a critical role in his recovery. Although we do not entirely understand how it works, a positive attitude helps us overcome all manner of illness and ailment, including cancer.
Dolly’s role was clear. She would serve up love, attention, affection, and promise that would bolster Sean’s confidence and help him stay on track with a positive outlook. Ann was Dolly’s usual handler but her attention needed to be turned to Sean. The couple asked Sue King to step in and show Dolly at Westminster qualifying events throughout the year. Dolly earned title after title and rose in the AKC ranks countrywide. Eventually, Dolly won her right to compete at Westminster. Her performance was instrumental to the mental outlook Sean and Ann needed to fight.
Ann told the Washington Post, “Every win from the road, every ribbon, we could just take our mind off cancer,” she said through tears. “It put us on a different plane. When you’re going through cancer, fighting it and trying to stay positive, everything helps.”
Sean chimed in regarding Dolly’s performance at the big show, “There’s so much more to her than walking around a ring, oh my God!”