Cocker Spaniel’s incredible survival story wins national award


A cocker spaniel named Darcy has been crowned PDSA Pet Survivor of the Year 2016, after falling 60ft down a dam and living to tell the tale.

The two-year-old dog was on a walk in the Highlands of Scotland when she suddenly decided to jump a five-foot wall, which led her to plunge down a concrete slipway. Her owners Gordon and Wendy Lyon were beside themselves.

Glascarnoch Dam. Image by Jim Barton.
Glascarnoch Dam. Image by Jim Barton.

Wendy said, “We’ve walked at Glascarnoch Dam many times and she’s never done anything like that before. We have no idea why she suddenly decided to jump. We heard her ‘scream’ and then silence; we expected the worst and ran to look over the wall. Miraculously, she survived the fall and was looking up at us. But we could see she was badly injured.

“We were absolutely distraught as we couldn’t reach her. It took a while for the fire brigade to arrive as we were in the middle of nowhere. When the fireman carried her up the ladder, hypothermia was setting in and she was slipping in and out of consciousness, but she still managed to nuzzle his cheek.”

Darcy's back leg, now held together by plates and pins.
Darcy’s back leg, now held together by plates and pins.

Darcy was taken for immediate treatment, and a long list of horrific injuries was revealed. Darcy had ruptured her spleen, severely damaged her liver, fractured her pelvis, a front leg and a back leg, and had air leaking into her chest.

After emergency surgery, three operations, and months of extensive recuperation and rehab, Darcy is back to normal, to the delight and surprise of everyone.

Darcy at different stages of her incredible recovery.
Darcy at different stages of her incredible recovery.

Vet Hal Drummond, who conducted Darcy’s emergency surgery, said, “When we first saw Darcy after her accident I was uncertain she would survive, and even then it wasn’t guaranteed that she would ever walk again.

“To see her running around now is nothing short of miraculous. She is an incredibly brave, sweet-natured dog, and everyone who has helped in Darcy’s recovery is delighted that she’s won PDSA Pet Survivor.”

Darcy with her trophy, after a difficult few months.
Darcy with her trophy, after a difficult few months.

Wendy continued, “Darcy’s vets were extraordinary, they really went above and beyond for her. The treatment has cost thousands of pounds, thankfully her insurance has covered a lot of that although we have still had to pay for some parts of her rehab. The costs do mount up, but when we see her happy and running again it’s totally worth it. We’re blown away that she’s now won PDSA Pet Survivor – it’s a wonderful end to what has been a very difficult year.”

All images courtesy of PDSA.


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