Three miracle moggies and one death-defying dog are all finalists for the PDSA Pet Survivor Awards. The judging panel, which included James McVey of The Vamps, were shocked and inspired by the miraculous ‘tails’ of Brandy, Dexter, Maximus, and Skittles.

Voting is now open for the British public to decide who, among all these pets that cheated death, should be crowned the PDSA Pet Survivor 2018. Entries for the awards, which are run with support from Animal PoisonLine, were received from all over the UK. The winner will be announced before Christmas and will win a luxury pet hamper – plus a trophy.

Meet the four finalists

Brandy the Staffie

Brady, a Staffie cross from South East London, was playing fetch in the garden when things went disastrously wrong. Her owner Sophia-Jayne Lye heard her scream and rushed out to see the 11-inch stick protruding out of her chest.

Brandy the Staffordshire bull terrier crossbreed
Photograph by Ben Stevens

She was rushed to PDSA’s Thamesmead Pet Hospital where vets were astonished that Brandy was even still alive. The stick had pierced her mouth, travelled through her throat and was lodged in her chest. Life-saving surgery was required to carefully remove the stick, which took nearly five hours, but it was still touch-and-go.

Brandy immediately after incident

After several days at the hospital, Brandy was able to go home, but still required round-the-clock care from her owners and many visits back to PDSA. They had to clean the drains in her wounds daily, but she eventually made a full recovery and is now known as the Wonder Dog!

Dexter the black cat

When Dexter was found covered in blood in his garden in Redruth, Cornwall, he was icy cold and struggling to breathe. His owners, Ruth and John Lewis, rushed him to the vets where x-rays revealed the horrific truth – Dexter had been shot through the roof of his mouth. He couldn’t walk, his jaw was broken and he had shrapnel embedded in his head and neck.

Dexter when he first arrived at the vets

Animal Vet Services in Hayle were able to stabilise Dexter, but that was only the beginning. He had surgery to fit wires and a frame to his jaw to help it heal, and then began the lengthy road to recovery and rehabilitation. He was hand-fed for weeks, as picking up food was too painful for him, and nearly five weeks later he had further surgery to remove the metalwork.

Dexter now

Thankfully his jaw had healed and, three months on, Dexter has almost completely recovered from his terrifying ordeal. He is the Lewis family’s little miracle cat!

Maximus the grey cat

Maximus – from Fife, Scotland – was involved in a suspected hit-and-run accident and had somehow dragged himself home with horrific injuries. He was found slumped against the front door, covered in blood. His owner, Sharon Trotter,immediately took him to Inglis Vets in Dunfermline – where they discovered the impact had fractured his skull in several places, his jaw was split in two and his right eye was missing.

Maximus when he first arrived home after his surgery

He was in such a bad way that euthanasia was discussed. But Sharon knew he was a fighter, and that they had to give him every chance to survive. Vets devised a way to pin the two halves of his face together to help it heal, and wired his jaw, but his life still hung in the balance and he had to be resuscitated twice when coming round from the operation.

Maximus now

Eventually Maximus was able to go home, but he had to be tube-fed for six weeks while his skull and jaw healed. His wounds had to be cleaned and dressed daily. Finally, he was able to eat by himself, and made a full recovery (minus one eye!). His vets say that in 20 years they’ve never had a patient like him – he truly lives up to his gladiator name!

Skittles the ginger cat

You might remember Skittles’ story from our previous article on the PDSA Pet Survivor Awards 2018.

When Skittles went missing one night from his home in North West London his worried owner, Shanakei Forde, searched for days. She became increasingly concerned for him but was completely unaware that her ginger tomcat had been found in horrific circumstances: Skittle had been impaled on spiked railings near to her home, rescued by the RSPCA and the London Fire Brigade, and taken to a nearby vet.

Skittles impaled on fence. Credit RSPCA

Stunned that he hadn’t died from the fall or the resulting injuries, vets performed emergency surgery to remove the railings from Skittles. Miraculously, they had narrowly missed all his vital organs. His owner, who had been desperately searching for him, finally spotted his story in the papers and realised the mystery railings cat was her Skittles. They were reunited but he still wasn’t out of the woods. He ended up needing two further operations at Hendon PDSA Pet Hospital, and plenty of TLC at home to help him recover.

Skittles relaxing at home, after completely recovering from his ordeal

Incredibly, just a few weeks after his final operation, Skittles was up and about. His stitches were removed and he was getting out exploring again. To look at him now, you’d never even know anything happened to him.

PDSA Senior Vet Sean Wensley, who also judged the competition said, “Reading these extraordinary cases makes me very proud to be part of such a skilled and dedicated profession. 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.”

All of these pets are survivors, but which one should receive the title of PDSA Pet Survivor 2018? If you think you have the answer, you can vote here until Friday 30 November. Only one vote per person is allowed.

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