BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Cindy Roberts is the owner of Use Your Nose Dog Training.
She loves working with dogs, but recently her work became more serious when cancer became a personal family issue.
Roberts has been a dog trainer since 1982, but her focus changed after her mother developed three types of cancer during her lifetime: Melanoma, breast cancer, and then lung cancer. Her mother died six days after the last diagnosis.
“And I promised her at that point, I said if there’s anything I can do to help people detect this type of cancer early, I’m going to do it,” says Roberts.
That’s when she heard about a woman out west training dogs to detect cancer.
“Needless to say, that caught my attention!”
She became certified and has already trained six dogs. She trains with cotton swabs that have been dipped in urine samples from cancer patients.
“Reward the dogs with their favorite cookie or toy to play with when they find the right cancer sample.”
She gets the samples from a research team they partner with. She hopes to partner with a local team to expand on the types of cancer the dogs can detect.
“And then they may know, say ovarian cancer and then they may know pancreatic cancer, or something else.”
Her goal is to train dogs on cancers that we currently don’t have screening for.
“Because the dogs can find it as early as stage zero before it starts to grow. It’s exciting! I mean, to think that this little dog can save a life!”
Roberts says this is her calling and hopes to partner with more research teams in the future, always with mom in the back of her mind.
“Anywhere, any state, just anywhere to do this because I promised mom I would do it and I have never broken my promise!”
She’s started a Gofundme page for her own program, you can check it out here: https://www.gofundme.com/sniff-out-cancer?member=2304014.