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Playful pup, daredevil kitty among finalists for Nationwide’s 12th annual Hambone Award®

Public voting for most unusual pet insurance claim runs November 14-18

Brea, CA — When pets suffer unexpected or unusual injuries, veterinarians are ready to respond with any means medically necessary from stitches to surgery. For 12 years, Nationwide®, the nation’s largest provider of pet health insurance, has presented the Hambone Award to honor local veterinary practices for the exceptional care they administer during emergency situations.

The Hambone Award, which recognizes the most unusal pet insurance claims, was originally named after a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator. Among this year’s finalists are an animal attack survivor, an over-eager guest greeter, and a squirrel-chasing pup.

The 2020 Hambone Award finalists are:

  • Chopper, a playful boxer from Burke, Virginia, burst through a glass window while home alone and desperately trying to greet a visitor who was standing outside.
  • Max, a Shih Tzu from Goleta, California, put up a brave fight against a bigger foe when he came upon a coyote in his backyard.
  • Olive, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from San Diego, California, ran up a tree in futile pursuit of a squirrel and survived a 12-foot fall after losing her footing among the branches.
  • Penny, a 16-year-old shorthaired tabby cat from La Jolla, California, took a two-story tumble from a balcony.
  • Pistol, an Australian Cattle Dog from Los Angeles, California, sustained a scary mouth-to-mouth collision with another dog during rambunctious play time at the park.

All nominated pets have made full recoveries and received reimbursements for eligible veterinary expenses from Nationwide® pet insurance. For a more detailed account of each story, photos of the nominees, and a link to vote Nov. 14-18, 2020, visit www.HamboneAward.com.

“We love seeing a tale with a happy ending over any ‘tail’ that’s unhappy!” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “These stories embody the work we do every day to help make the best of any situation our pets get into.

“We salute the quick response of these responsible pet parents, and the skill of the veterinary teams who treated these animals.”

Finalists for this year’s award were determined following a review of more than two million claims submitted by Nationwide members in 2019 from across the company’s database of more than 880,000 insured pets.

The winning pet family will receive the coveted Hambone Award trophy and other gifts from Nationwide. All five veterinary practices that treated the finalists will receive a portion of the $30,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping veterinary practices fund medical care for pets whose owners could not otherwise afford treatment. The winning practice will be awarded $10,000, the runner-up will receive $7,000, third place will earn $5,000, and fourth and fifth place practices will each collect $4,000.

Past winners include:

  • Minnow, a curious cat whose owners tried to safely confine inside the home, disappeared for 21 days before finally returning home with a broken rib;
  • Kismet, a Jack Russell terrier who sustained major stab wounds while fighting off a home intruder;
  • Curtis, a Boxer who swallowed a barbecue skewer that disappeared in his body and nearly ended his life a year later;
  • Charlie, a Labrador retriever who became entangled with a tractor;
  • Ellie, a Labrador retriever who gobbled up an entire beehive and its thousands of inhabitants;
  • Lulu, a hungry bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and a piece of a basketball;
  • Harley, a pug who ate and subsequently passed more than 100 rocks;
  • Peanut, a dachshund-terrier mix who survived a fierce squabble with a skunk;
  • Winnie, a mixed-breed dog who swallowed two pounds of uncooked onion rings;
  • and Ziva and Zeus, German shepherds who went missing for 22 days in an abandoned missile silo.


About Nationwide pet insurance
With more than 880,000 insured pets, Nationwide is the first and largest provider of pet health insurance in the United States. Nationwide pet health insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2019); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2019). Agency of Record: DVM Insurance Agency. Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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