Public to Vote for Recipient of 2nd Annual VPI Hambone Award

Monday, August 2, 2010 Corporate News
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Nation's Largest Pet Insurer Nominates 12 of Its Most Unusual Insurance Claims

BREA, Calif., Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- For the second year in a row, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest

and largest provider of pet health insurance, will grant the title of "The Most Unusual Claim of the Year" to one of its more than 485,000 insured pets. Choosing among the 12 nominees is no easy task, which is why VPI is asking the public to visit between August 2 and 16 and decide which dog, cat, or desert tortoise will take home the coveted VPI Hambone Award. The award was named for a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting to be found. Last year's VPI Hambone Award went to Lulu, a hungry bulldog who ate 15 pacifiers, a bottle cap and piece of a basketball.

Following are brief summaries of the 12 unusual claims nominated for the award over the course of the last year. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible treatment expenses. To read more detailed accounts of each claim and to place a vote for a favorite Hambone nominee, visit

  • July 2009 – Jojo the boxer (Jacksonville, Fla.). Dogs chase cars, but how many dogs catch one? Jojo did, and nearly lost a tooth as a result.
  • August 2009 – Sandy the Abysinnian (Irvine, Calif.). Just about everyone has had something go through the clothes dryer they didn't intend to: a wallet, a tube of lipstick. But the family pet? Curiosity dried this cat when she sneaked into the dryer and took a spin.
  • September 2009 – Aubie the Border collie (Birmingham, Ala.). In the age-old battle of Dog vs. Mailman, Aubie scored what is almost certainly a historic first when he jumped through and shattered a closed living room window to get to a very startled mail carrier.
  • October 2009 – Pal the Vizsla (Palm Beach, Fla.). When a tracking dog like Pal catches a scent, look out. This excited pooch darted in front of a moving golf cart and had a leg run over in the collision.
  • November 2009 – Roscoe the standard poodle (Great Falls, Mont.). Ninety-three pounds of poodle is a lot of dog to keep an eye on. When no one was looking, Roscoe ate two baby bottles and a wet diaper.
  • December 2009 – Jack the Jack Russell terrier (Denver, Colo.). He put up a good fight, but in the end, it was Jack who was sent to the veterinarian after tangling with a large predatory lizard during a trip to Australia.
  • January 2010Phoenix the Labrador retriever (Menlo Park, Calif.). A game of fetch resulted in a pierced tongue when Phoenix ran mouth-first into the pointy end of a stick.
  • February 2010 – Ranger the Westie/poodle mix (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.). Ranger's no worse for wear, but he's watching his step these days after planting a paw on, and being stung by, a Portuguese Man o' War at the beach.
  • March 2010Rock the Labrador retriever (Maplewood, Minn.). Rock's owners didn't think he'd be able to reach the box of instant breakfast powder mix on the kitchen counter. The 23 packages the retriever managed to swallow proved how resourceful this dog really is.
  • April 2010 – Ellie the Labrador retriever (Santee, Calif.). If there's any doubt that dogs will eat anything, look no further than Ellie who gobbled up an entire beehive and the thousands of inhabitants inside.
  • May 2010 – Charlie the desert tortoise (Ramona, Calif.). Charlie's been alive for fifty years, but his most eventful day came when he managed to scalp himself on his own shell.
  • June 2010 – Darci the West Highland white terrier (Belleville, Ill.). Darci never feared anything – until the day she took a bite of a buzzing chainsaw.

"The purpose of the VPI Hambone Award is to remind pet owners of the unpredictable nature of pet injuries," said Dr. McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "While not every pet will jump through a window, eat a beehive, or bite a chainsaw, our Hambone Award nominees illustrate that these things do happen and treating such injuries can be expensive."

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the No. 1 veterinarian-recommended pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet CareGuard® for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance

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