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Los Angeles County dog that survived cliffside fall earns 2021 Hambone Award® for most unusual pet insurance claim

Animal hospital that treated winner earns $10,000 award to fund care for pets whose owners can’t afford treatment

Bruin, a three-year-old German Shepherd from Los Angeles County, California who miraculously survived a harrowing 400-foot tumble into a canyon and four days alone while seriously injured, has won the 13th annual Hambone Award®. As the nation’s largest provider of pet health insurance, Nationwide® presents the award to recognize the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year and, more importantly, honor local veterinary practices for the extraordinary care they provide during emergency situations.

In Bruin’s case, he fell or jumped off a steep cliff to flee from well-intentioned men trying to help the lost dog. Following a multi-day community search, Bruin was eventually found by an off-duty police officer. The dog was immediately taken to an ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital where he was treated for a broken femur, collapsed lung, internal bleeding and a shattered leg that required surgery.

In appreciation of the outstanding emergency care and follow-up treatment administered to Bruin, ACCESS Specialty Animal Hospital – Los Angeles will receive a $10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) to help pay for care for pets in their community whose owners could otherwise not afford treatment. Bruin’s family will receive the Hambone Award trophy and other gifts from Nationwide.

“At Nationwide we’re all about ‘extraordinary care,’ and we’re always proud to recognize that in our country’s veterinary teams,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “In Bruin’s case, the entire community showed extraordinary care in finding and helping this dog. I’m so pleased we could be a part of that effort, covering much of the expense through our pet health insurance.”

The Hambone Award was originally named after a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator. Following a public vote earlier this month, Bruin’s compelling rescue and recovery story edged the other three nominees:

  • Griffin, a mixed breed dog from Chicago, Illinois, that ingested a full-length bamboo skewer while chowing on a chicken kebob at a holiday barbeque
  • Sherlotte, a yellow Lab-golden Retriever mix from Andover, Massachusetts, that sustained injuries after half of her body was submerged in a sinkhole around the site of some utility work in her neighborhood
  • Sophie, a miniature Schnauzer from Kissimmee, Florida, that was catapulted out of a golf cart when her owner had to suddenly swerve off the road and onto the sidewalk to avoid a car-golf cart accident

Finalists for this year’s award were determined following a review of more than 2.6 million claims submitted by Nationwide members from across the company’s database of more than 1 million insured pets. All nominated pets have recovered and received reimbursements for eligible veterinary expenses from Nationwide® pet insurance.

To explore pet health insurance coverage for dogs, cats and many other kinds of pets, visit PetInsurance.com.