If ever there was a compelling case for how wonderful and surprising rescue dogs can be, this is it.
Josie Conlan's two-year-old collie Ted sniffed out an aggressive tumour in the nick of time.
Josie, 46, had no idea she had a cancerous lump in her breast before her two-year-old collie Ted began to cry and paw at her chest and she now credits him with saving her life.
As Ted, abused as a puppy, is usually a reserved animal Josie, of Stockton-on-Tees, wondered what was wrong and when she put her hand to her breast she noticed the bump.
After visiting her GP she was diagnosed with cancer but has now had the tumour, which she was told was grade three - the most deadly kind, removed.
She has also been given the welcome news that the disease has not spread to her lymph nodes.
In the two weeks before she was operated on the lump had grown by an incredible five milimetres and Josie believes that if it wasn't for Ted she could have been dead by summer.
She said: "When I got the results the relief I felt was incredible and it is all down to Ted.
"It was also at this point that I was told that the cancer I had was particularly aggressive and had been growing very quickly. If I'd left it any later before going to the doctor the consequences do not bear thinking about.
"I have had Ted for about a year and he was quite a timid dog when I first got him but we soon became very close. He had been badly abused and the bond we formed was incredibly close.
"I feel as though it is fate that we found each other. I saved him, then he saved me.
"He is not normally very affectionate, and would never normally paw me in such a way. That is why I knew something was wrong."
Josie, a mum of four and grandmother of two, bought Ted after seeing him for sale online, but when she turned up at his home she realised there was something wrong.
Ted's owners barely spoke to her and bundled the animal into her car straight away before Josie took him to the vets.
She was told that Ted had suffered a blow to the head and that it was highly likely he had been kept in a very small cage.
His muscles had wasted away and he was barely able to walk but after some tender loving care from Josie Ted made a dramatic recovery.
Mum Josie added: "We are very close. I have had other dogs, but never formed as strong a bond with them as I have done with Ted. He saved my life."
Josie , who lives with her delivery driver husband Brian, 47, had the lump removed mid December 2014 and was given the news that the cancer has not spread just this week.
She suffers from benign breast disease which causes regular lumps, which are harmless and never usually worry her.
Stay-at-home-mum Josie now wants to let other people know that they should take notice of dogs if they start to draw attention to a certain area of their owners' body.
Josie, mum to Hannah, 26, Megan, 14, James, 24, and Lewis, 21, said: "I think a lot of people would probably just push a dog away if it started clawing at their chest, but dog owners should take notice, because Ted really did save my life."
She faces 18 weeks of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiotherapy to ensure the cancer does not return, but her prognosis is good.
SEE ALSO:Suggest a correction