Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pet sheep saved woman's life by detecting breast cancer

Farmyard animals may not be known for saving lives, but Alfie the sheep has done just that. The five-year-old Cotswold sheep, who lives at Vowley Farm, in Wootton Bassett, is being hailed a hero after a moment of madness saw him injure his shepherd, Emma Turner, which led to the discovery of a potentially life-threatening tumour.

Archaeologist Emma, 41, who lives in Wroughton, saved Alfie’s life at birth when his mum died. He endured a number of illnesses and his condition was described as touch and go for the first 18 months of his life. Emma devoted months of love and attention to him, helping to make him a firm favourite amongst visitors to Vowley Farm and now it seems that Alfie has returned the favour. Back in October last year, Emma was carrying out some sheep medication when Alfie suddenly turned on her.

Photo from SWNS.

“Alfie is normally really well behaved but that particular day he went nuts and it took three of us to hold him down,” she said. He headbutted me repeatedly across the chest and I thought there must be something wrong with him, maybe I should take him to the vets. A few days later, a terrific bruise came up on my chest and I noticed in the middle of the bruise there was a lump.”

Emma went to the Great Western Hospital to have the lump checked and a biopsy revealed the devastating news that she was suffering the early stages of breast cancer. “The doctors and nurses said that if Alfie hadn’t done what he did, when he did it, I wouldn’t have found the lump for a few years, by which time it would have spread,” she said. “Everyone at the hospital is convinced that Alfie saved my life – he saved my life and I saved his.”

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