Tayside and Central Scotland

Dam plunge dog wins PDSA Pet Survivor of the Year 2016

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Media captionDarcy needed four major operations following the accident

A cocker spaniel who plunged 60ft down a Highlands dam has been named PDSA Pet Survivor of the Year 2016.

Darcy, from Kellas near Dundee, sustained a shattered femur, fractures to her legs and pelvis and internal bleeding after falling at Glascarnoch Dam in July.

The two-year-old underwent four major operations and months of rehabilitation following the accident.

Her owner Gordon Lyon said he was "beyond delighted" with the award.

He said: "It's blown us away, the amount of goodwill messages that we've had from literally all over the world

"The universal attitude seems to be that she's been a deserving candidate and for whatever reason, her story seems to have caught the imagination.

"It's been a huge rollercoaster of emotions."

Image copyright PDSA
Image caption Darcy's owner Gordon Lyon said he was "beyond delighted" with the award

Mr Lyon and his wife Wendy were on the first day of their summer holiday and returning to their car at Glascarnoch Dam after walking their seven dogs.

He said: "We heard a squeal and to our horror she'd jumped what was a five foot wall and had fallen to the concrete base of the dam.

"We'll never know why she jumped.

"She was in a real mess. She was conscious and she was looking up at us.

"I could tell that she was really badly damaged because of the way she was looking.

"There was no danger we thought she was going to survive, we thought she was a goner."

Image copyright Jim Barton
Image caption Darcy was recued from the dam by firefighters

Darcy had to be rescued by a fire crew from Ullapool, an hour's drive away.

Mr Lyon said: "She was still conscious, she was still moving a little bit.

"But the fear then was that the shock and cold and hypothermia potentially would do her in.

"Despite the pain she must have been in, which must have been terrible, she actually nuzzled into the neck of one of the firemen and started licking his face."

Vet Hal Drummond, who conducted Darcy's emergency surgery at Conanvet in Dingwall, was recently reunited with his patient when he moved to Dundee.

He 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."

Image caption Darcy was reunited with veterinary surgeon Hal Drummond in November
Image copyright Supplied
Image caption Darcy sustained a shattered femur and fractures to her legs and pelvis

Darcy underwent months of rehabilitation in Dundee, including hydrotherapy and acupuncture.

She beat five English finalists in the competition, including Buddy, a Jack Russell who suffered extensive burns after pulling a boiling casserole onto himself.

Mr Lyon said: "She was up and walking two days after the first of the major operations on her leg, so in her head she is back to normal.

"She's fantastic, her mental strength and her ability to just get on and cope.

"There must have been three or four occasions where we thought, is this the right thing to do? But she's pulled though."

Image copyright Supplied
Image caption Darcy's rehabilitation included hydrotherapy

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