Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

Best Friend, Indeed! Shannen Doherty Says Her Dog Detected Her Cancer First

author image Deborah Day
Deborah Day is a lifestyle and entertainment writer and editor. Former editor in chief of and executive editor of, she has been published on,,, and other media sites, as well as in Maxim, Interview and Time Out NY magazines.
Best Friend, Indeed! Shannen Doherty Says Her Dog Detected Her Cancer First
Shannen Doherty tells ET about how her dog Bowie detected her cancer. Photo Credit: Entertainment Tonight

Actress Shannen Doherty revealed to Entertainment Tonight that her dog, Bowie, first detected her cancer.

Video of the Day

"She would obsessively sniff right here on my right side for a long time before," Doherty told ET's Jennifer Peros. "So, it made sense when I got diagnosed."

The Beverly Hills 90210 and Charmed star was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and has since undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatment and a single mastectomy.

Read More: Shannen Doherty Has a Sad Update on Her Battle With Cancer

Bowie, a German shepherd, is named after the late musician David Bowie, who lost his 18-month battle with cancer in January 2016 at the age of 69.

Doherty said Bowie's protective instincts have really kicked in since she began treatment: "When I had my first chemo, she would sniff my entire body up and down. And, she was always protective before, but she's become just this crazy protective dog ― it's hard to get close to me when she's around."

The 45-year-old elicited an outpouring of support recently when she shared photos of her getting her head shaved.

Read More: Instagram Is Going Wild Over Shannen Doherty's Brave Photos

Dogs Can Smell a Problem

Dogs are good health monitors because they can smell chemical changes in humans, Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Animal-Human Bond at Purdue University, told LIVESTRONG.COM.

“Smelling chemical changes in the body is really no different than sniffing out drugs or bombs,” Beck said. “Animals can sense changes we can’t even sense in ourselves.”

In fact, dogs can be trained in just three weeks to detect breast and lung cancer up to 97 percent of the time, according to a study published by Integrative Cancer Therapies. Other health conditions pets are being trained to detect are changes in blood glucose levels in diabetics and oncoming epileptic seizures.

Read More: The Health Benefits of Pets

What Do YOU Think?

Has your pet warned you when you were ill? Or do you know someone who has had a similar experience? Tell us about it in the comments.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media