09:04 AM

Charger-chewing canine, high-flying feline among finalists for Nationwide’s 15th annual Hambone Award

Accidents are an unfortunate reality, and when they involve a cherished pet, they can be both distressing and potentially costly. Since 2009, Nationwide® pet insurance has annually presented the Hambone Award® to bring awareness to the surprising and unique situations our pets get themselves into—and how pet insurance plays a role in helping them out.

The Hambone Award was originally named after a Nationwide-insured dog who got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire holiday ham while waiting to be discovered. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia.

This year’s class of nominees overcame animal encounters, entrapments, ingestions, collisions and other precarious predicaments. Voting for this year’s most unusual pet insurance claim is underway now through September 22, 2023. Results will be shared on September 28, 2023.   

Meet the 2023 Hambone Award finalists    

  • Aurora, a goldendoodle who currently lives in Belmont, New Hampshire, suffered a broken leg while furiously trying to extract her paw that was stuck in a snow-covered storm drain grate. Emergency surgery was needed to repair the bone that had snapped above her knee, but the playful pup made a full recovery.
  • Belle, a Jindo from Atlanta, Georgia, confronted a large deer that wandered into the family’s backyard. Thankfully, the spunky dog’s tussle with the big buck only resulted in soft tissue damage and scratches.
  • Bernie, a mixed breed dog from Rescue, California, was tumbled by an ATV while on a Christmas Eve run. His injuries were not life-threatening, but he required significant care and recovery time to get back to his normal self.
  • Giles, a kitty from New York City, became smooshed in a sofa when out-of-town visitors inadvertently closed the folding couch…with Giles underneath. Aside from a newfound fear of hinged objects, Giles suffered no lasting effects from the incident.
  • Grayson Haze, a Labrador retriever from College Station, Texas, took an unexpected jump off a 36-foot-high bridge and landed onto a concrete embankment. Incredibly, no surgery was necessary, and his internal injuries healed after two months of rest.
  • Jax, a snuggly pug from Las Vegas, who was cozied up in a comforter at home while recovering from surgery, became dangerously overheated to the point of heat stroke. After some cooling treatments administered by his veterinary healthcare team, his temperature and temperament returned to normal.
  • Josie, a playful mixed breed pup from Alameda, California, lost four teeth and suffered a broken jaw while aggressively chasing a ball during a game of fetch in the San Francisco area. It is suspected that Josie’s injury resulted from a high-speed collision into a pair of cast-iron stadium seats that were mementos from historic Candlestick Park.      
  • Miko, a cat from New Orleans who enjoys his outdoor “catio” space, took a seven-foot flying leap at a pair of doves that were starting a nest too close for his comfort. The family’s home security camera showed Miko being bitten near the eye during a mid-air encounter with one of the escaping doves. Beyond a minor cut, he was not seriously harmed.
  • Rolex, a green-cheeked conure from Milton, Massachusetts who was visiting a family in another home, found himself a seemingly perfect perch atop an open door. Things took a perilous turn when the homeowner shut the door without looking and inadvertently slammed the bird in the door. Although Rolex’s injuries were quite serious, he was treated and recovered.
  • Sunny, a determined Labrador retriever from Anaheim, California who shimmied his crate five feet across the room to get close to an electrical outlet, snagged and ingested three phone charger cords. He underwent an emergency procedure to clear the foreign objects from his system and has fully recovered.

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 Sept. 13-22, 2023, visit HamboneAward.com.

“Each year, we’re able to highlight nominees that have made remarkable recoveries because of the diligence of the pet parents and the incredible skills of their treating veterinary healthcare teams,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President, Pet Health and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “Pets might still get into unusual or unexpected situations, but the peace of mind that comes with Nationwide protection allows pet families and veterinary healthcare teams to focus on what counts.”

The top vote getter will receive the coveted Hambone Award trophy, a gift card and a donation in their name to an approved pet charity of their choice. The second and third finishers will also receive a prize and opportunity for a charity donation.

To explore pet health insurance coverage for dogs, cats and many avian and exotic pets, visit PetInsurance.com.