Leo, who was just two years old at the time, was underneath a caravan parked on the family driveway when it caught alight. He was rescued by a friend of the family, who spotted the smoke from half a mile away.
Leo was taken to Bournemouth PDSA Pet Hospital where he was treated for horrific burns to his legs, stomach and testicles – they were so extensive that vets warned he could take months to recover. He required appointments every other day at first, and ongoing treatment to change his dressings and clean the wounds as they healed. His owner reported that he also suffered severe trauma from the incident and would frequently have disturbed nights’ sleep.
Leo eventually made a full recovery and is among the first entrants for PDSA’s Pet Survivor Awards. The awards celebrate pets who survive serious injury or illness against the odds. Last year’s winner was miracle dog Darcy, who sustained terrible injuries after a 60ft fall, but made an amazing recovery.
The awards are open to any pet treated by a vet in the UK for a life-threatening illness or injury between 1 January 2017 and 31 August 2018. Pet owners wishing to nominate their pet can enter online at www.pdsa.org.uk/petsurvivor. The closing date is midnight on Sunday 9 September 2018.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “Every day, dedicated vet teams save lives and help get our beloved pets back on their paws after serious injury and illness. The PDSA Pet Survivor Awards recognise those extraordinary stories which capture a pet’s fighting spirit, their owner’s dedication and the expertise and skills of the vets and vet nurses involved. We welcome entries about death-defying stories of bravery and determination, to recognise the important place our pets have in our lives.”
Other pets vying for the Pet Survivor Awards include Skittles, a cat who was found impaled on railings in London earlier this year. After being rescued by the fire brigade, Skittles had emergency surgery to remove the railings from his body at a local vet practice. He then continued his treatment at Hendon PDSA Pet Hospital and has since made a full recovery.
Brandy the Staffie, who narrowly escaped death when a game of fetch went tragically wrong, is also being entered into the competition. The 11 inch stick she’d been thrown pierced her throat and was pushing out of her chest. She was rushed to Thamesmead PDSA Pet Hospital where vets operated to remove the stick. It had missed all vital organs and arteries, and she fully recovered from her injuries.
The winner will be decided by a public vote later in the year and will be crowned PDSA Pet Survivor of the Year 2018. They will receive a trophy, plus a luxury pet hamper.