PDSA Pet Survivors

We’ve all heard about cats having ‘nine lives’ – stories of felines bouncing back from funny falls and spectacular scrapes. But many other animals have a fighting spirit that helps them pull through when disaster strikes.

Check out these death-defying tails of super survival…


Darcy the cocker spaniel

In July last year, two-year-old Darcy was out with her owners at Glascarnoch Dam in the Highlands of Scotland when she suddenly leapt over a 1.5-m-high wall, plunging 18m down the other side!

“We’ve walked there many times and she’s never done anything like that before,” says owner Wendy Lyon. “We heard her ‘scream’ and then silence. We expected the worst and ran to look over the wall. Incredibly, she’d survived the fall and was looking up at us. But we could see she was badly injured.”

The cocker spaniel was rescued by the fire brigade and taken to the vet – air was leaking into her chest cavity, her liver was damaged, her pelvis was fractured, her front leg was fractured and dislocated, and her back leg had shattered in five places!

Incredibly, after lots of complicated operations, hydrotherapy (exercises in water), physiotherapy and rest, Darcy has now almost fully recovered and is running around outside again! “She continues to amaze us at every check-up,” says vet Stuart Ashworth. “Darcy’s been a model patient and is an incredibly brave, sweet-natured dog.” Woof!

Darcy the cocker spaniel was winner of the 2016 PDSA Pet Survivor competition! The contest recognises pets’ incredible survival spirit, the love and devotion of their owners and the skill and dedication of the veterinary teams who helped 
save their lives.


Dobby the ferret

PDSA Pet Survivors

Five-year-old Dobby escaped from his owner’s home in Stanley, County Durham, in March last year and ended up in a stranger’s garden. Unfortunately, a large dog objected to the furry intruder, and grabbed him in his jaws, shaking him about.

Dobby had no visible wounds but over the next couple of days he didn’t seem his usual lively self. 
“I knew something wasn’t right,” says his owner, Jade Gardiner. Vet Christina Stubbins revealed that a section of his intestine had burst and he’d developed a severe infection in the abdomen. He was at death’s door.

Jade knew he was a fighter, so she asked the vet to operate. And, amazingly, a few days later, Dobby was able to go home! “When he first arrived I honestly wasn’t sure if he would make it,” says Christina, “but his strength of character and cheeky nature prevailed.” Yay!


Arthur the British shorthair cat

Arthur had been missing for several days in June 2016 when his owners suddenly heard him in the house, meowing on the stairs. But their relief turned to horror when they saw a rusty illegal animal trap clamped to his back leg!

Poor Arthur was in a terrible state and the vet estimated that the accident had happened on the first night he’d gone missing. “The trap was so heavy I can’t imagine how he’d managed to get home, through the cat flap and halfway up the stairs,” says Arthur’s owner Gemma Harris, from Bures in Suffolk.

Vet Kitty Craig was amazed by Arthur’s incredible determination to drag himself home to safety. 
“We knew we had to give him a chance,” she says. Sadly, the two-year-old cat had to have his leg amputated and Kitty feared he might not survive the operation.

But Arthur pulled through and he shocked everyone with the incredible speed of his recovery – he was soon dashing about as if nothing had happened! Having three legs clearly hasn’t slowed him down at all!


Hans the Dutch rabbit

Gwen Butler, who runs an animal rescue charity in Richmond, North Yorkshire, received a phone call in July last year saying that an abandoned rabbit had been found – it had been attacked by either a fox or a dog and was badly injured.

“He was really underweight, his teeth were in an awful state and a wound on his head was horribly infected,” Gwen explains. “I took him to a vet in Leeds who’s great with rabbits, but I was unsure if she’d be able to save him. But I never give up on pets, however small. I knew it was a miracle that he’d survived the attack, so I was willing to do whatever it took to give him a chance.”

Amazingly, vet Trudi Pardoe was able to save the rabbit’s infected ear and clean up his teeth. Gwen fell in love with the bouncing bunny and adopted him as her house rabbit. “I named him Hans, after the fairytale author, Hans Christian Andersen,” she says. “He was something of an 
ugly duckling when we first rescued him, but I hoped that he would eventually turn into a beautiful swan. And he has – my handsome Hans survived against all the odds.” Aww-some!


Do you have any death-defying pets at home? Let us know by leaving a comment, below…

Please NOTE Voting for PDSA’s pet survivors is now closed.



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  • Ala


  • sealion

    amazing animals all so brave!

  • Cool kid

  • Anika Bhase

    They must be the bravest animals in the world.

  • Amber


  • lion

    OMG they are the bravest pets ever :3

  • ava


  • i almost cried they r so brave!

  • Lulu

    Awwww. poor things.

  • SnowLeopard

    those pets r so brave! my cat hates people lol!

  • Ainee Anbar

    I don't have any pets at home, but reading these death-defying pet tales have inspired me to believe in even the most smallest ounce of hope.

  • ponyrocks707

    Sad but cute



  • Mairi

    Sad but brilliant that that got well again

  • Filip

    Oh no! Poor Arthur and all other animals

  • Nora67DK

    These animals are so amazing to survive. I cried at these stories :)

  • Nora67DK

    So heart touching. These animals are so brave and strong to fight off the illness

  • kirsten

    aww!!!!!!! those poor animals they are sooooooooooooo cute!!! :)

  • Sophie smith

    Amazing how fast they recover

  • Chloe

    I heard about a cat who ran away from home in Surrey and then it's owners saw it when they were in Paris ! It was the same cat! But it wasn't injured

  • haylee mansson

    once my dog smashed a glass and made a BBBBIIIIIIIGGGG sore on his leg

  • Sad

  • Brad


  • Rayan

    Poor things

  • These were incredible

  • LeopardsGarden

    AWWW, So cute! Happy ending!

  • Im really sorry for your animals and I really hope it will make up to you and they must of been really good pets all I can say to those who have lost their pets I am so so sorry

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