Once upon a time, there was a dog that got himself stuck in a refrigerator. While he waited for rescue, he ate the entire Thanksgiving ham. Fortunately, the story had a happy, if not somewhat odd, ending. When discovered, in addition to his having completely polished off the ham, the dog was found to have a mild case of hypothermia and his story made him the inspiration for the annual Nationwide Hambone Award.
Nationwide employees choose one claim each month as the Hambone nominee, the pets having made a full recovery and received insurance reimbursement for eligible expenses. Situations such as a dog that was carried away by an owl to a cat that fell multiple stories and survived to purr another day have been among the past nominees. The public then has the opportunity to vote for their choice to win the award.
This year’s 2016 Hambone Award Nominees include:
Freckles the Cocker Spaniel (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Freckles’ eager palate nearly led to her demise when she passed out from oxygen deprivation after getting her head stuck in a potato chip bag.
Stark the American short haired cat (Naples, Fla.). Named after the famous super hero, Stark took his “Iron Man” moniker too literally when he attempted to fly off his cat tree and ended up hanging by his tail from a set of window blinds.
Oso the Blue Heeler mix (La Mesa, Calif.). Oso is an incredibly athletic dog with a long list of active hobbies including surfing and hiking. However, one of Oso’s field trips took a terrible turn when he misjudged a leap and crash head first into a cement barrier, shattering his snout.
Rocky the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Sacramento, Calif.). Rocky enjoys taking long naps on the family couch, but one day his comfort turned into a calamity when he slipped between the couch cushions while asleep and dislocated both of his hips trying to get out.
Rosie the Sphynx cat (Bee Cave, TX). Rosie is quite the rebel, but one day her mouser mischief nearly led to her demise after she snuck inside a reclining chair and was crushed upon its close.
Mitten the cat and Sasha the Poodle (Port Washington, N.Y.). A cold day turned terrifying when Sasha, Mitten, and the entire family suffered severe carbon monoxide poisoning after a faulty detector failed to alert them of a leak in their house.
Thunder the Giant Schnauzer (Skillman, N.J.). Thunder’s favorite household hobby involves stealing his family members’ belongings and parading them around the house. However, one day his shenanigans left him breathless after he snatched up an asthma inhaler and ingested its contents.
Myles the Great Dane (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.). Myles’ playtime activities have been marred by his odd obsession with eating random items of clothing, which nearly turned deadly after he swallowed a pair of toddler sized jeans…whole!
Kismet the Jack Russell terrier (Salt Lake City, Utah). Kismet’s bravery saved his owner’s life when the tiny terrier intervened during a violent home invasion that left both he and his owner critically injured and thankful to be alive.
Lily the Border collie (St. Paul, Minn.). Lily’s longtime hatred of the vacuum cleaner boiled over into an appliance ambush that landed her in the veterinary emergency room with severe mouth injuries after she got her mouth caught inside the suction tool.
Ludmila the Tibetan terrier (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Ludmila’s incredible curiosity got the best of her when she managed to get her head stuck in a solid oak coffee table so snug that not even the fire department could get her out.
The 2015 winner, Curtis (pictured above) the Boxer, swallowed a barbeque skewer that disappeared in his body and came close to ending his life almost a year later. Past winner’s include a bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and a piece of a basketball, a pug who ate and passed 100 rocks, and a Labrador who ate a beehive and all its contents, even the bees.
While these circumstances are certainly out of the ordinary, they do serve to remind all of us that things can happen, to both us and our pets, and usually when least expected. Cast your ballot through October 3 at www.hamboneaward.com.