Our finalists and

winners announced...

Petplan Pet Awards 2023

The Petplan Pet Awards celebrate the unconditional love between pets and their owners. You've been nominating in your thousands and we've been blown away by your pets and their incredible stories.

We are delighted to announce the finalists and winners of the 2023 Petplan Pet Awards!

Hero Pet of the Year

Click on each pet’s image to read their full story.

Hero pet Duke img


Duke - Dog
Hero pet Jack img


Jack - Horse
Hero pet Blue Belle img


Blue Belle - Dog
Hero pet Jasper img


Jasper - Dog
Hero pet Jem img


Jem - Cat

Name: Duke
Species: Dog
Age: 8 Years
Breed: Pointer

My husband and Duke went out for a walk while I stayed home to make lunch. I started hearing a noise at the front door and when I opened it Duke was there alone, my husband was not with him. Duke was really agitated, he didn't go straight to the kitchen to have his lunch as he normally does after the walk, he was jumping around and making noises.

I left the house with Duke to see if could find my husband, Duke kept agitating and pulling on the lead. I followed Duke and found my husband struggling to breathe. He was having a severe reaction, we guess to the pollens in the field, and his eyes were massively swollen and his asthma flared up. I ran home to fetch his inhaler and medication. We called 111 and they advised us to take him to the hospital.

Duke had left my husband, ran home and took me back to him. He crossed roads to come home by himself, was able to find the house and was able to know where my husband was. I was so amazed and at the same time scared and relieved. Duke was amazing!

Name: Jack
Species: Horse
Age: 22 Years
Breed: Cob

I purchased Jack at a young age and had the most amazing life with him for 10 years. He was diagnosed with arthritis and was given a 50/50 chance of recovering. Six months recovery and we were back in the saddle. A couple of years later he tore his suspensory which the vet was shocked at the size of the tear and was unsure of his recovery. Yet he bounced back again! Four years ago the worst news came that Jack had ringbone. He is a little fighter and has proven vets wrong on many occasions. He has battled through and never complained and still has to this day the best attitude to live life to the maximum.

He is the most loving and loyal horse with the most amazing personality and is a favourite on the yard. He knows how to turn a bad day into a great day.

Name: Blue Belle
Species: Dog
Age: 9 Years
Breed: Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Blue Belle (Bella) has been a constant support over the last 2yrs while I've been struggling to take care of our other dog, Coco. Coco was diagnosed with epilepsy and she suffers frequent cluster seizures. What blows me away is how Bella suddenly stepped up, without any prompting or training, to help care for Coco. She instinctively alerts me if she thinks Coco is behaving oddly. She has, in effect, become my second pair of eyes and ears.

She has also started to assist Coco up and down the stairs. She knows how to use her body to block her and waits for Coco to take a step before Bella then takes a step.

I've always known that Bella was special but I never imagined she had such an amazing instinct to care and protect. To me, she is a God send and my personal hero!

Name: Jasper
Species: Dog
Age: 8 Years
Breed: Golden Retriever

I fought and survived an acute attack of Guillian Barre Syndrome; a sudden onset of full-body paralysis. Some of the symptoms I am left with are widespread pain and sudden collapsing episodes.

Jasper has received no specialist training but when I feel pain, he seems to want to lick my feet, arms, legs or even head! It has reduced my need for pain relief and seems to comfort us both. If I stop him licking before he calms me, he seems to fret and act fractious. I realised it’s because the more pain I feel, the more likely I’ll fall or collapse. I don’t have any warning for when I’m about to collapse but Jasper seems to know instinctively. If I do collapse he immediately sits next to me or even on me and licks and snuggles until the sensations return.

He must have saved me from falling and collapsing over 100 times. He’s amazing, I love him and appreciate him so very much!

Name: Jem
Species: Cat
Age: 15 Years
Breed: Crossbreed

Over the past few years, we noticed that Jem was trying to tell us something was wrong whenever my blood sugar levels went low or high. She will try and wake me up by tapping my face and walking on me, and she will meow until I respond. When she doesn’t get a response she will run to get my mum or sister. She will meow and run back and forth from them to me and will do so until they follow her. Jem will lay on me and stay with me until an ambulance arrives.

She is also able to sense when my mental health is getting bad. When a panic attack is starting or an autistic meltdown is occurring, Jem will jump straight into action and climb onto me. Her warmth and purring help to calm me down and bring me back to reality.

Jem is truly my hero, and I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for my little superstar.

Survivor Pet of the Year

Click on each pet’s image to read their full story.

Survivor pet Maisy img


Maisy - Cat
Survivor pet Jodie img


Jodie - Dog
Survivor pet Batel img


Batel - Dog
Survivor pet Ted img


Ted - Cat
Survivor pet Slinky img


Slinky - Dog

Name: Maisy
Species: Cat
Age: 1 Year
Breed: Crossbreed

Maisy was hit by a car and we didn’t think she’d make it. We rushed her straight to the emergency vet. She was really badly injured and had 2 fractures in her spine, a dislocated hip, various superficial wounds and broken teeth. We were told she may not make it through the night because of the shock and possible internal injuries. The vet also thought she might have brain damage as she was walking around in circles and her eyes weren’t engaging as they should.

We feared the worst, but the following day the vet felt confident she didn’t have brain damage and she was operated on. She was very fragile, but slowly our amazing Maisy recovered, getting stronger and stronger! She is now almost 100%. She still has a little limp and some hair still to grow back but our amazing Maisy fought against all odds to be here today.

I'm honestly not sure what we’d have done without her she is the most affectionate cat.

Name: Jodie
Species: Dog
Age: 7 Years
Breed: French Bulldog

Jodie’s journey of bravery and resilience began in Ukraine when the Russian invasion shook our lives to the core. Amidst the chaos, my rock-solid companion, Jodie, remained surprisingly calm. She sensed my fear and did her best to comfort and calm me down.

After a rocket obliterated a house not too far from ours, my husband, being British, and I decided it was time to leave town and make our way to the UK. We travelled first to Romania. The stress and upheaval took a toll on Jodie. She stopped eating, and we were at a loss. Thankfully, a volunteer organisation stepped in and helped us find a veterinarian who could provide Jodie with the necessary care.

When we finally set foot on British soil, we encountered a new set of challenges but Jodie’s unwavering support and calm presence made our journey so much easier. Six months later, Jodie's health took a nosedive. She lost her appetite, became lethargic, and even had trouble urinating. We took her to an emergency veterinarian and received the frightening diagnosis of IMHA (immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia). I can't even begin to describe the fear and despair that gripped my heart. She could barely muster the strength to stand, and it broke my heart to see my once lively pooch fading away before my eyes. But even in her darkest moments, she displayed a will to live.

Thanks to the help and expertise of the veterinarians at Neston Veterinary Surgery, Jodie's condition slowly but surely started to improve and we can once again enjoy short walks together.

She is not just my pet; she's my courageous companion, my rock, and my inspiration.

Name: Batel
Species: Dog
Age: 3 Years
Breed: German Shepherd

Batel was a stray dog in Egypt where he was severely abused on the streets. One of his front legs was cut off, the toes on his other front leg were cut off, both his back hips were dislocated and he was covered in drag and burn scars. We fought hard to save his leg with the hope to bring him to the UK. As soon as he got to the UK his treatment and recovery started.

It was an extremely worrying time but Batel kept smiling throughout. Finally, his leg healed up and we were absolutely over the moon for him. A few days later Batel became unwell and he was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney failure. We were told that he probably wouldn't be coming home to us. Despite being so ill, Batel still managed a tail wag when we went to see him and we just knew he wanted to carry on, he had come so far and he wanted to live his life to the fullest. We fought again for him and he miraculously started to improve.

Three weeks later and Batel was at home with us, bouncing around like a puppy. He is an absolute miracle and the vets cannot believe what an incredible transformation he has been through. He has taught us to never give up, to always keep going and to fight for what you want.

Name: Ted
Species: Cat
Age: 7 Years
Breed: Domestic Shorthaired Tux

In March, it quickly became clear that something was seriously wrong as Ted’s back legs buckled. We rushed him to the emergency vet where he had a scan and we were told that he had a clot that had cut off the blood supply, which is why his legs had no strength. There was also a secondary clot in his heart, he had congenital heart failure and had just a 20% chance of survival. He was given blood thinners in the hope the secondary clot would break up and disperse. We wanted to give him a chance and took him home.

He was still wobbly, however, the improvement was phenomenal. The vet had warned we may have to give him physio if he recovered enough, but within 48 hours, his movement was almost back to normal. The new challenge was his blood thinners! He wasn't eating at all, so getting his medication down him was something of a challenge.

Thankfully, he soon started eating again (we cried quite a lot), so this made the pill-giving significantly easier. Sadly, in June, he had another episode, but it was caught early enough that he was able to come home again and there was no further damage to the heart.

We are aware that we are on borrowed time but for now, while he is comfortable, he is being spoilt even more than before. He is such a loving cat, and we are constantly grateful that he is still with us, and astounded by his strength.

He is a true survivor, and we can never fully repay him for all he has done for us, but we will try!

Name: Slinky
Species: Dog
Age: 5 Years
Breed: Miniature Dachshund

Slinky was recused after a concerned member of the public reported his seller. Slinky was covered in cigarette burns, had a laceration to his throat and was a petrified soul. This poor little dog had reached 16 months old and knew nothing of the outside world. I adopted him just 10 days after being seized by the rescue and he changed my life in ways I didn't even know was possible.

Slinky was absolutely petrified of the world, he would shake and wet himself in fear at someone knocking at the door, someone approaching him, noises from the TV and sudden movements. Slowly but surely he began to trust me. He started to play, to cuddle and to allow me touching him. It took around a year for him to recover physically and emotionally but now there is no stopping him! Together we found Scentwork which he LOVES! He is an operational scent dog who won the scent work league! He loves agility, hopers and loves to pose for the camera!

Not only has he completely turned his life around he's also turned mine around. We have connected so closely on our journey and I have been super lucky to work with a trainer and expert in PTSD to train Slinky to wake me when I'm having a PTSD attack in my sleep.

I've never felt a truer and purer love than I do with Slinky. My heart is full of love for Slinky and he supports me no end.

Rescue Pet of the Year

Click on each pet’s image to read their full story.

Rescue pet Summer img


Summer - Dog
Rescue pet Chance img


Chance - Dog
Rescue pet Cadbury img


Cadbury - Horse
Rescue pet Miss Zsa Zsa img


Miss Zsa Zsa - Dog
Rescue pet Gypsy img


Gypsy - Dog

Name: Summer
Species: Dog
Age: 13 Years
Breed: Lurcher

Summer was found on the side of the M25, emaciated and covered in wounds. She still had milk but her puppies were nowhere to be found.

We’d been looking to adopt a dog and were told of her story. We went to visit her and it was shocking to see this beautiful, skinny girl. But it was instant love and I vowed that I would show her that there was life after rescue. She was so nervous of fast movements and loud noises, but we’ve slowly got her over that.

She’s been a regular at charity events, fundraising and showing people how amazing these dogs can be. She was guest of honour at the opening of the Forever Hounds Trust charity shop along with the local mayor.

She’s welcomed foster dogs in and shown nothing but love. She has also been a canine blood donor, helping save lives of dogs in need.

I couldn’t have wished for a better companion. I don’t know how or why someone discarded her but I’m pleased she found her way to us and is the core of our family.

Name: Chance
Species: Dog
Age: 4 Years
Breed: Spitz

Chance was very shut down when we got him, and over the first few months we had him we discovered he had a dent in the middle of his head, damaged cartilage in his left ear and was also deaf in that ear.

Two years on he is a fully trained therapy dog for Pets as Therapy. We visit our local hospital in the children’s ward and Critical Care.

He also works along side me in local schools, where I work as a specialist teacher for students with special educational needs. He has alerted us and a student who was about to have an epileptic seizure, encouraged nonverbal children to communicate and even alerted me twice when I was about to have an AF episode with my heart.

He knows when he walks into a room who needs him and will go to them and help them. I honestly don’t know how I managed without him. In all my years of dog ownership I have never met such a special dog with such amazing qualities. Not only has he helped the students but makes such a difference to staff too.

Name: Cadbury
Species: Horse
Age: 3 Years
Breed: Welsh Cross Cob

Cadbury was rescued by World Horse Welfare in 2020 as a six month old colt. He wasn’t in the best shape and was incredibly nervous and timid.

He spent the first few weeks of life with us glued to the side of my retired jumping horse, who seemed to understand this little pony needed some help. Just six weeks after we got Cadbury home, we lost my retired boy to lymphoma.

If it wasn't for Cadbury I'd have given up horses for good, but that scrawny little pony needed me and I needed him. We navigated the next few months together, him giving me a reason to get out of bed and a mane to cry into, and me showing him the world was not as terrifying as he thought.

Cadbury had a poor start in life but never let it slow him down. I will be forever grateful that he came into my life.

Name: Miss Zsa Zsa
Species: Dog
Age: 9 Years
Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

For her first six years, Miss Zsa Zsa led a thoroughly miserable existence as a puppy farm breeding dog. The conditions of her captivity were horrendous and she was in a poor state due to overbreeding, poor nutrition and a basic lack of veterinary care.

On the way home she stared out of the window of our car, excited and mystified by all the strange things she was seeing and sniffing. Since that first day, things have been pretty amazing! We live next to a lovely beach and Miss Zsa Zsa absolutely loves to jump in the water and chase after her toys. She also adores long walks in the nearby countryside and can’t wait to sniff out all those different smells.

She has also helped to bring greater awareness to the general public of the cruel trade of puppy farming.

It is hard to believe that she led such a miserable existence. She now absolutely adores her life; she may be small but what she lacks in size she more than makes up for in her character!

Name: Gypsy
Species: Dog
Age: 12 Years
Breed: Collie

We adopted Gypsy when she was just over a year old and was semi-feral, having always lived outdoors with a pack of 50 other dogs.

After a year of settling into a home environment and she blossomed into the most caring, loving family member we could have wished for. Over the past 10 years Gypsy has given so much back, she completed a race for life raising funds for cancer research. For her 10th birthday she took on a walking challenge and raised over £500. One of Gypsy’s favourite things to do is to help raise orphaned kittens, she has helped raise over 100.

Sadly in 2021, Gypsy was diagnosed with cancer. She’s had major surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Despite being on cancer treatment and living with arthritis, Gypsy has still welcomed and looked after other foster animals in need of a safe space. She is just the most amazingly special dog ever.

Best Friend Pet of the Year

Click on each pet’s image to read their full story.

Best friend pet Xena img


Xena - Dog
Best friend pet Jack img


Jack - Horse
Best friend pet Georgina img


Georgina - Cat
Best friend pet Sissi img


Sissi - Cat
Best friend pet Blaze img


Blaze - Dog

Name: Xena
Species: Dog
Age: 1 Year
Breed: Italian Greyhound

Having served in the British Army, I was exposed to a great deal of trauma and as a result was diagnosed with complex PTSD in 2014. One of the main impacts of war is that you shut off your emotions and over time become emotionally numb. This has meant I cannot have normal interpersonal relationships, meaning a lonely existence. Over the past 9 months, Xena has pulled me from a very dark place and has unlocked my forgotten ability to care, love and feel emotion.

She is with me every moment of the day and senses when I need support, when I am down or suffering from the reality of PTSD. The positive impact on my life has allowed me to socialise and begin to understand my emotions and the fact I can be open with them.

I owe her my life and it would do her injustice just to pass over applying for this award as she is more than my best friend.

Name: Jack
Species: Horse
Age: 28 Years
Breed: Part Bred Arab

I first saw Jack advertised in a magazine in 1995 and begged by dad for him, but he said no. When I won £500 in a competition a few weeks later I perused the free ads and found a pony with no picture but in my price range. My Dad drove me an hour away to view this pony and to our amazement it was the same pony I had been begging dad for - I bought him on the spot!

I’m 40 now and still have Jack. He has seen me through every single life event, he's been my friend, my stability, my therapist and my family, all in one. He's seen me get married, get divorced, have 3 children (my youngest son is called Jack in his honour) and he saw me navigate a 10 year policing career.

My entire adulthood has truly been enriched by his presence, and he transitioned me from childhood to adulthood, with such love and support.

I owe him everything and I wish I could convey to him everything he means to me.

Name: Georgina
Species: Cat
Age: 8 Years
Breed: Domestic Shorthair

One day my wife and I were having a conversation in our bedroom, Georgina was present and without warning my wife slumped on the bed and died instantly. Later that day Georgina, who is a very independent cat, got her favourite toy mouse and put it on my wife’s pillow. Almost 3 years later she is still checking each day that the mouse is still where she put it.

When I make the bed in the morning, she watches to make sure I keep it on the pillow. We never had any children so Georgina became our child. She was a rescue cat and 2 of her previous separate owners were elderly and both had died. Since my wife’s death, she now sleeps on the bed with me and will often have a daytime snooze on my late wife’s chair.

Since my wife’s death, we have bonded more than ever. She is my best friend.

Name: Sissi
Species: Cat
Age: 16 Years
Breed: Burmese Cross

All our lives together she has been by my side. We lived alone for a while in a Chateau and shared the nickname ‘Chateau Cat’. Throughout my primary breast cancer treatment she was a constant source of comfort. Two years later I was diagnosed with metastatic (terminal) recurrence. I began to understand her warnings of incessant meowing and smelling the disease site. Her companionship and zest for life and communication is uplifting. She is very kind and gentle, she loves life and teaches me how wonderful it is to lie quietly in the garden and enjoy life between the stars and earth.

I could not wish for a better cat friend in our twilight years together. She is lovely with my young daughter and husband too but to be with me in quietude is her real objective.

Name: Blaze
Species: Dog
Age: 6 Years
Breed: Labrador

Blaze is the most loving, loyal pooch but not only that he is genuinely my eldest son’s best friend. Blaze completely dotes on Connor. Unfortunately, Connor has focal cortical dysplasia (a brain malformation) which causes epilepsy/seizures amongst a range of other issues.

Blaze has amazed us with his connection with Connor. We would never have believed it until we saw it happening but Blaze seems to know or sense when Connor is about to go into a seizure and will go to him and nudge him. The bond between them is undeniable; it is a true, priceless friendship and has been right from the very start. Connor refers to Blaze as his very best friend I think this is because Blaze is there no matter what. He’s there at Connor’s toughest moments to offer comfort and reassurance, and their friendship is made to last.

Performer Pet of the Year

Click on each pet’s image to read their full story.

Performer pet Doris img


Doris - Dog
Performer pet Murka img


Murka - Cat
Performer pet Mia img


Mia - Dog
Performer pet Elvis img


Elvis - Dog
Performer pet Miep img


Miep - Dog

Name: Doris
Species: Dog
Age: 1 Year
Breed: German Shorthaired Pointer

I have been incredibly lucky to work with Doris from the day she arrived with us at 8 weeks old! We decided to enter her into online dog certifications (Do More With Your Dog and some from Trick Dogs Indahouse). Doris had worked hard to achieve her DMWYD Trick Dog Titles all the way from Novice to Grand Champion, then going on to complete the newly added Masters Champion title, performing 101 different tricks.

With Trick Dogs Indahouse she has completed a number of their different rankings, all the way up to Supreme Grand Champion, as well as being awarded Assistance Dog Champion for proving her work helping me with my long-term anxiety and panic attacks. She has massively improved my way of life since she came to us and I’ll forever be grateful.

In total, Doris has earned a whopping 89 different titles within her 1 year of her life and has been an absolute dream to work alongside. She has such a passion for her work and truly deserves recognition for the fantastic little pup she is!

Name: Murka
Species: Cat
Age: 4 Years
Breed: Domestic Shorthair

My family says I’m a joy and inspiration. They thought they had lost me after the war in Ukraine had started but I managed to find my way to them in the UK!

Now about my talents. I can do “high five”, “sit”, “stay”, “up”, “hug” and I can do “Ale-hop”, which means I jump through the circle arms just like a lion in the circle!

I enjoy sorting out intelligent puzzles and strategy games full of tasty treats! I can play “Hide and Seek” and “Catch me”.

They say I bring joy when they see me in the morning, sleepy and playful, happy to see people at the beginning of the day!

Name: Mia
Species: Dog
Age: 8 Years
Breed: Border Collie

I fostered a few border collies but none had been suitable to stay. Then I saw this very naughty-looking puppy and that was it, home she came! She loves to learn new things. We learned tricks, trained and competed in agility and is now Grade 7 and a Champ dog.

She has featured in various adverts and in Hollyoaks. She has taken me all over the country in agility, building my own confidence, and has opened up a whole new world with her TV and modelling work. Each casting has its own challenges and she rises to them all, including running away after a gun bang, riding in a Landrover and sticking her head out the window on cue, barking at characters and stealing food.

She has turned my life around from the minute she came home and we have never looked back!

Name: Elvis
Species: Dog
Age: 7 Years
Breed: Pug

I’ve never seen another pug do tricks like Elvis can before. I think he’s a great representation of what the breed can do with proper exercise and training.

He loves doing tricks and can do so many. Some of the he can do are leg weaves, jumping, a handstand, riding a skateboard, and spinning. He can also skip rope which he’s performed at local dog shows before.

I got him when I was 13 years old and trained him fully by myself. We’ve never taken training classes to achieve this.

Name: Miep
Species: Dog
Age: 22 Months
Breed: Hungarian Pumi

This extraordinary young girl has been touring with Opera International’s Ellen Kent’s award-winning production of Puccini’s opera, La Bohème. What made this experience extremely special for Miep and myself is that we were working with the Opera and Ballet Theatre, Kyiv.

All the performers, cast and crew were missing their homes, loved ones and of course their beloved pets. Miep was the bond that brought us all together.

What was also amazing was Miep’s performance on stage. In front of a full orchestra, huge chorus, a troupe of children as well as an on-stage military band, Miep revelled in the limelight. Every single night Miep was paw perfect and soaked up her applause when she took her curtain calls.

The performers were spectacular but it was always Miep that got the loudest curtain call. She loved every minute of it.

Meet The Judges

Each nomination we received was carefully reviewed and an independent panel of four pet experts had the extremely difficult task of narrowing them down to select the finalists and winners for each category.

Petplan Awards

Explore our other awards

At Petplan we are all about pets. They are at the heart of everything we do so we want to recognise and celebrate our pets as well as the pet community whose hard work, dedication and commitment keep them happy and healthy.

Find out more