September 26, 2016 – A Great Dane who swallowed a whole pair of pants, a Jack Russell terrier who fought off a burglar and a Sphynx cat who was crushed inside a reclining chair are among 11 pet insurance customers who have been selected as the potential winner of the 2016 Hambone Award for the most ‘Unusual Claim of the Year’. The winner will be decided by a public vote between 20 September to 3 October at

Each year, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, Nationwide, searches through its database of insured pets to find the honour the most bizarre pet insurance claim. In addition, the veterinary hospital that treated this year’s Hambone Award winner will receive a $US10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation to treat pets whose owners could not otherwise afford clinical care.

2016 Hambone Award Nominees:

  • Freckles the Cocker Spaniel (Brooklyn, New York). Freckles’ eager palate nearly led to her demise when she passed out from oxygen deprivation after getting her head stuck in a potato chip (crisp) bag;


  • Stark the American short-haired cat (Naples, Florida). 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, California). 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 crashed head first into a cement barrier, shattering his snout;


  • Rocky the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Sacramento, California). 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, Texas). 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, New York). 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, New Jersey). Thunder’s favourite 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, New York). 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, Minnesota). 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, Pennsylvania). Ludmila’s incredible curiosity got the best of her when she managed to get her head stuck in a solid oak coffee table so snugly that not even the fire department could get her out.


All nominated pets have made full recoveries and received Nationwide insurance reimbursements for eligible veterinary expenses.

Originally named after a dog who ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator, the annual Hambone Award has since been given to the most bizarre medical claim each year since 2009. Past winners include: Curtis, a Boxer who swallowed a barbecue skewer that disappeared in his body and nearly ended his life a year later; Charlie, a Labrador retriever who became entangled with a tractor; Ellie, a Labrador retriever who gobbled up an entire beehive and its thousands of inhabitants; Lulu, a hungry bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and a piece of a basketball; Harley, a pug who ate and subsequently passed more than 100 rocks; Peanut, a dachshund-terrier mix who survived a fierce squabble with a skunk; and Winnie, a mixed-breed dog who swallowed two pounds of uncooked onion rings.

“The Hambone Award is an annual reminder of the unforeseeable mishaps that can occur with our pets at any time,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “More importantly, these stories exemplify the importance of taking the necessary precautions and seeking veterinary treatment when an animal shows signs of distress. These pets all made remarkable recoveries because of their quick thinking pet parents and proper treatment by skilled veterinarians. We are delighted to see them all back to enjoying their lives.”

Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance in the USA, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

Polly Stewart
I'm the founder of

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply