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Window-busting Virginia dog earns the 2020 Hambone Award

Chopper wins 12th annual “most unusual pet insurance claim” award presented by Nationwide

Brea, Calif. Chopper, a boisterous boxer from Burke, Virginia, is the winner of the 12th annual Hambone Award® presented by Nationwide®. The nation’s largest provider of pet health insurance uses the award to recognize the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year and honor local veterinary practices for the exceptional care they provide during emergency situations.

Following the public vote that concluded November 18, Chopper came out as top dog among the five nominees. She burst through a glass window while home alone desperately trying to greet a visitor outside. Chopper sustained cuts to her paws and tendons, which required emergency surgery to fix but her ordeal had a happy ending thanks to the outstanding care she received from the veterinary team at The Regional Veterinary Referral Center in Springfield, Virginia. Thankfully, the playful pup made a full recovery within a month.

As the treating veterinary practice of the 2020 Hambone Award winner, The Regional Veterinary Referral Center will receive a $10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) to help fund care for pets in their community whose owners could otherwise not afford treatment. 

“Stories like Chopper’s remind us that accidents we might never imagine can happen to our pets at any time,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “Chopper’s unbridled enthusiasm may have landed her in the operating room but the great work done by the treating veterinary team got her back on her four feet quickly. We’re happy to present the 2020 Hambone Award to Chopper and salute all of the veterinary professionals that care for our beloved companions every day, in every way.”

The veterinary practices that treated the other finalists below will also receive a share of the overall Nationwide-funded award through VCF.

  • 2nd Place: 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. ($7,000 to Blue Sky Veterinary Services – San Diego, CA)
  • 3rd Place: 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. ($5,000 to VCA Care Specialty and Emergency Animal Hospital – Santa Barbara, CA)
  • 4th Place: Penny, a 16-year-old shorthaired tabby cat from La Jolla, California, took a two-story tumble from a balcony. ($4,000 to Cote Animal Hospital – San Diego, CA)
  • 5th Place: 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. ($4,000 to Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital – Beverly Hills, CA)

The Hambone Award was originally named after a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator.

Finalists for this year’s award were determined following a review of more than two million recent claims submitted by Nationwide members from across the company’s database of more than 880,000 insured pets. All nominated pets have made full recoveries and received reimbursements for eligible veterinary expenses from Nationwide® pet insurance.

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.