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Finalists for Nationwide’s 13th annual Hambone Award® faced cliffside fall, skewer, sinkhole and cart crash

Public voting for most unusual pet insurance claim runs November 1-5

Much like people, pets can find themselves in unpredictable circumstances that may lead to unusual injuries. When accidents arise, pet parents rely on the amazing skill and compassion of trusted veterinarians. Since 2009, Nationwide®, the nation’s largest provider of pet health insurance, has annually 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 unusual pet insurance claims, was originally named after a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator. The animals among this year’s finalists survived a cliffside fall, a stuck skewer, a sinkhole, and a golf cart accident.

The 2021 Hambone Award finalists are:

  • Bruin, a German Shepherd from Stevenson Ranch, California, was alone in a canyon for four days after sustaining several injuries from falling off or jumping off a cliff to flee from the well-intentioned men trying to help the lost dog. A community search ensued and Bruin was eventually found by an off-duty police officer, returned to his grateful family and treated for his injuries.
  • Griffin, a mixed breed dog from Chicago, Illinois, chowed on a chicken kebob at a holiday barbeque but, unfortunately, he ingested the full-length bamboo skewer. The skewer initially caused infection and other complications before eventually poking through Griffin’s side. He underwent emergency surgery and, luckily, no other vital organs were punctured.
  • Sherlotte, a yellow Lab-golden Retriever mix from Andover, Massachusetts, sustained injuries after half of her body was submerged in a sinkhole around the site of some utility work in her neighborhood. Sherlotte’s injuries required surgery but she is on the road to recovery.
  • Sophie, a miniature Schnauzer from Kissimmee, Florida, was enjoying a golf cart ride with her pet parent when she was catapulted out of the cart as her owner suddenly swerved off the road and onto the sidewalk to avoid a car-golf cart accident. Sophie sustained a hip injury and continues to receive treatment as a follow-up.

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, stories of past winners, and a link to vote Nov. 1-5, 2021, visit www.HamboneAward.com.

“Our Hambone Award is about more than the dangerous situations pets can get into, and how we are there to cover the costs of veterinary care for the more than 1 million insured pets,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “While that’s a big part of it, the Hambone Award is also a celebration of the human-animal bond and the incredible skills of veterinary teams who save the lives of pets every day.”

Finalists for this year’s award were determined following a review of more than 2.6 million claims submitted by Nationwide members in 2020 from across the company’s database of more than one million insured pets.

The winning pet family will receive the coveted Hambone Award trophy and other gifts from Nationwide. The veterinary practice that treated the winner will receive a $10,000 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.

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