When you adopt a rescue dog, you don't expect much in return. All you hope for is that they're happy and healthy in their forever home.
More often than not, this compassion will not go unnoticed by our loyal companions.
Lauren Gauthier's ability to demonstrate love to a dog that thought she would never be cared for again ended up saving the 42-year-old's life.
The New York woman is the founder of Magic's Mission Beagle and Hound Rescue, an organization that rescues and rehomes abandoned hunting dogs.
A Kind-Hearted Soul
Lauren has dedicated a majority of her time to saving these neglected animals and giving them a second chance at happiness.
“These dogs are devoted to their owners and are affectionate and tolerant,” she told PEOPLE, “and it’s appalling how many of them are tossed aside once hunting season is over. They deserve much better treatment.”
Unfortunately, in South Carolina it's legal to abandon hunting dogs, so Lauren works hard in this state to rescue these hounds.
When she was visiting one of her shelters, she came across a one-eyed hound pup named Victoria.
Lauren immediately felt a connection to this doggo and had a strong urge her to become her foster parent.
Lauren and Victoria became almost inseparable. “She senses when I’m upset or stressed,” she said.
That's not all, Victoria sensed something terribly wrong with her new foster mom that was way worse than being "just stressed."
Returning The Favor
Only a few months after adopting Victoria, Lauren noticed that the pup was acting strange around her.
She would sniff at her nose for what seemed like no reason.
“Whenever I’d sit down on the couch, she’d cuddle next to me and start sniffing that little spot on my nose, then she’d sit and stare at me," the attorney said.
“When the spot went away, Victoria kept sniffing and I thought, ‘Why do you keep putting your wet nose in my face?’ It was so odd that I finally decided, ‘OK, since she’s being so persistent, I’ll go get it checked it out.'"
When her test results came back, Lauren was told that she suffered from basal cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer.
If it wasn't for Victoria's keen sense of smell, that little red bump on her nose could have spread to other parts of her face, and body.
“I might not have gone to a doctor until it was too late, if it wasn’t for my dog’s persistence. I’m so grateful to Victoria — as you can imagine, she’s received lot of treats and hugs." “I always knew that hounds had an amazing sense of smell, but I never dreamed that it would have such a huge effect on me personally." “Victoria saved my life and my face,” she says, “and she’s earned a lifetime of love and praise. I’d like to tell everyone to pay close attention if your own dog starts to act in a similar way. Your dog might know something that you don’t, so don’t brush their unusual behavior aside. Go get it checked out. I’m sure glad that I did.”
Lauren has now undergone treatment, which has left a scar on her nose.
According to PEOPLE, she believes that she may have developed cancer after regularly using tanning beds as a teenager.
“My advice for teenagers and others considering tanning bed use is – don’t. There are many other options available, like spray tans, to help improve cosmetic appearance.
The cost and the damage you do to your skin is way too high, and even though growing older seems a world away, once you are older, you will pay a price for tans and tanning beds.”
Share this story to raise awareness about the dangers of tanning beds and the life-saving efforts of rescue dogs!
For more stories on tanning beds, click here.