November 17, 2016 – The vote is now open for the nation to decide who is the UK’s most miraculous pet! Three dogs, a cat, a rabbit and a ferret have all reached the finals of the PDSA Pet Survivor Awards, a national competition run by the leading vet charity.

All six much-loved pets have death-defying ‘tails’ of survival against all odds. It’s now over to the public to decide who will receive the coveted PDSA Pet Survivor 2016 title. The brave pets are:

  • Arthur the cat – dragged himself home with an illegal animal trap clamped to his leg, which had to be amputated.
  • Bodie the Labrador – was left with horrendous injuries after a vicious dog attack, requiring several major operations.
  • Buddy the Jack Russell – suffered extensive burns after pulling a boiling casserole over himself.
  • Darcy the Cocker Spaniel – sustained horrific injuries after falling down a 60-foot dam.
  • Dobby the ferret – nearly died after sustaining terrible internal injuries when shaken by a large dog.
  • Hans the rabbit – was close to death when abandoned with a severely infected head injury, caused by a dog or fox attack.

People can vote for their favourite pet by visiting The vote closes on Sunday, 4 December.

Entries for the awards, run in association with PDSA Petsurance, were received from all over the UK and a celebrity judging panel, including actress and PDSA supporter Pam St Clement, helped select the finalists.

Animal lover Pam said: “It was so difficult to choose one near-tragedy over another; they are all deserving of the PDSA Pet Survivor title. These pets are truly brave survivors with loving two-legged owners and skilled veterinary teams for support.”

PDSA Senior Vet Sean Wensley also helped select the finalists.

“Veterinary teams save the lives of much loved pets like these every day. The tragic and painful circumstances endured by these pets, along with the devotion shown by their owners, makes them all worthy contenders for the PDSA Pet Survivor title,” said Sean.

Meet the finalists:

Arthur the cat, from Bures, Suffolk


In June, two-year-old ginger cat, Arthur, went missing for days. He eventually dragged himself home where his owner, Gemma Harris, was horrified to see a rusty old animal trap clamped to his mangled back leg. Arthur was in a terrible state and was rushed to Ardmore Vets in Sudbury. Vets had no choice but to amputate his leg. The speed of Arthur’s recovery was remarkable, and he was soon dashing about on three legs!

Bodie the Labrador cross, from Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex


Eight-year-old Bodie was returning from a walk in July when a dog came out of nowhere and launched a vicious and completely unprovoked attack. Bodie’s owner, Natascha Relf, was shocked by the horrific wounds all down his side – it looked like his insides were hanging out. Priors Leaze vets in Chichester spent five hours stitching Bodie back together but, sadly, his injuries were so extensive the damaged skin started to die. Bodie needed several further operations, which were performed at Portsmouth PDSA Pet Hospital. Months of recovery followed and Bodie was a perfect patient throughout. Remarkably, his wounds are now almost completely healed.

Buddy the Jack Russell, from West Molesley, Surrey


In December last year, 13-year-old Buddy managed to pull a slow cooker full of boiling chicken casserole off a worktop and over his body, leaving him with extensive second and third degree burns across his back and sides. After emergency treatment, he endured twice-daily dressing changes while staying at the vet, and then his nursing and care continued at home. Months of recovery followed, but Buddy never stopped wagging his tail, and his wounds are now completely healed.

Darcy the Cocker Spaniel, from Kellas near Dundee


Two-year-old Darcy was out walking in July when she suddenly jumped over a five-foot wall, only to plummet down a 60-foot concrete dam on the other side. Her owners, Wendy and Gordon Lyon, were distraught, but amazed that she survived, although she was very badly injured. Darcy had serious internal injuries, a fractured pelvis, a shattered open fracture on her back leg and a broken and dislocated front leg. It took four major operations and months of rehab, throughout which Darcy’s tail never stopped wagging. She’s now able to run around enjoying life to the full again.

Dobby the ferret, from Stanley, County Durham


Named after the house elf in the Harry Potter series, five-year-old Dobby escaped and ended up in the jaws of a large dog. At first it seemed Dobby had escaped unharmed, but his owner, Jade Gardiner, became very concerned as his health quickly deteriorated. A scan showed his intestines had been ruptured and, in such a weakened state, he only had a tiny chance of making it through surgery, but it was his only hope of survival. Dobby’s resilience shone through – he endured the operation, his quick recovery astounded everyone and he was soon reunited with his brother Kreacher.

Hans the Dutch Rabbit, from Richmond, North Yorkshire


Earlier this year, poor Hans the rabbit was abandoned close to death. He was in a terrible state and had a severely infected head injury, thought to have been caused by a dog or fox attack. His rescuer Gwen Butler refused to give up though – she paid for him to have life-saving surgery and named him Hans – after the author Hans Christian Andersen – as he was something of an ugly duckling like the famous fairy tale! The vet managed to save his ear and, with months of love and care, Hans transformed into a beautiful swan, reminiscent of his namesake’s story!

The competition was open to pets treated for a life threatening illness or injury by a vet in the UK between 1 August 2015 and 1 August 2016. Only one vote per person is allowed. The winner will receive the coveted PDSA Pet Survivor trophy and a year’s free PDSA pet insurance. Voting closes at midnight on Sunday, 4 December.

Polly Stewart
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