Often a dog detecting cancer story starts with a canine nosing an area on a person that elicits a pain sharp enough for them to take notice and see a doctor.
For Michael DiZoglio, a diagnosis came from a lack of pain.
The Denver resident was used to feeling a little sting when his father’s large husky dog Mickey jumped on him as a greeting at the door.
“One time he jumped on me from the right and I didn’t feel any pain … and I thought it should have hurt,” DiZoglio told CBS Denver. “I didn’t feel anything.”
That numbness bothered the then 27-year-old enough that set up an appointment with his doctor. Several tests later, on DiZoglio’s 28th birthday, he found out he had testicular cancer.
“I felt dumbfounded. I never anticipated that kind of news,” he said.
As the truth sank in, DiZoglio decided to think positively. He was grateful that his cancer was something he could detect based on an interaction with Mickey.
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“What if it had been my spleen or liver? I wouldn’t have known,” he said.
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Since getting his diagnosis, DiZoglio has had an operation to remove the cancerous tumor. Unfortunately, the cancer spread to his lungs before the surgery; he has been receiving chemotherapy since August to treat the spread.
While the road to recovery has been draining, DiZoglio remains optimistic that he and Mickey caught the cancer early enough to beat it.
After he finishes treatment, DiZoglio plans to go on plenty of long walks with Mickey, just one of his ways of saying thanks.
“Someone’s looking out for me through the dog. I felt like something’s going into place to protect me,” he said.