Rambunctious Labrador Puppy Crashes Into and Shatters 55-gallon Aquarium

Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Selects Most Unusual April Claim

Brea, Calif. (May 23, 2012) – Physics teacher Carol Richardson of Lothian, MD, was out to dinner with her husband Robert when she realized what must have happened to Bayley. Prior to leaving the house that night, the Richardsons noticed a small amount of blood on their black Labrador retriever’s paw. After some investigating, Robert discovered that their 55-gallon tortoise aquarium had been shattered and concluded that the dogs must’ve done it while playing. Aside from the small amount of blood on Bayley’s paw, all four of the dogs appeared to be perfectly fine and their 30-year-old tortoise was unscathed. Little did they know, their furry family member would soon be rushed to the emergency animal hospital, and his unusual incident would place him in the running for the 2012 VPI Hambone Award.

“My husband and I were in the middle of our meal when it suddenly occurred to me: in order to create a force strong enough to break the glass, Bayley must’ve hit the aquarium full-force with his chest. I immediately called my son and had him check. Sure enough, Bayley had a gash on his chest that was two inches long. My husband and I left dinner and took him to the emergency animal hospital right away.”

The 14-month-old puppy was sedated and his laceration was closed with surgical staples. According to Carol, the most difficult part of Bayley’s recovery was keeping their active puppy calm and quiet for the next two weeks. The Richardsons were happy to report that their four-legged family member has made a full recovery and the couple is much more cognizant about keeping dangerous objects out of reach. “We’ve had turtles and dogs for many years, and the aquarium has never been a problem. However, none of the dogs have been quite as strong or rambunctious as Bayley,” said Carol. “The incident has certainly taught us to re-evaluate what we keep within their reach.”

“Anytime you introduce a new companion to your home, it’s a good idea to ‘pet proof’ the space, even if other pets are already living there,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Take into consideration the fact that different breeds can encounter different hazards. For example, a smaller dog might be able to crawl under a couch or access hidden electrical cords, while a larger dog like Bayley may be strong enough to break bigger objects.”

Bayley’s incident was one of more than 80,000 claims received in the month of April by VPI, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, and was selected by VPI employees as the most unusual of the bunch. Honorable mentions in April included a Belgian malinois that got a cat door stuck on its chest; a mastiff that ate a remote control; and an English bulldog run over by a lawn mower. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.

As the most unusual claim submitted in April, Bayley will be in the running for the 2012 VPI Hambone Award. Other nominees include Nathan the miniature dachshund who meddled with a muskrat, and Major the Labrador retriever who fractured several teeth when he mistook a rock for his toy during a game of fetch. For more information about the VPI Hambone Award, or to read about all of the 2012 nominees, visit VPIHamboneAward.com.

Note to editors: Digital images of Bayley are available upon request. Send requests to ncross@petinsurance.com.

About VPI Hambone Award

The VPI Hambone Award is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to rescue him. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia. This quirky title was first awarded in 2009 to Lulu, a hungry English bulldog who swallowed 15 baby pacifiers, a bottle cap and a piece of a basketball. The VPI Hambone Award and these unusual pet insurance claims have since helped educate the public about the unexpected mishaps that can affect household pets. Stories and pictures of the VPI Hambone Award nominees are available at VPIHamboneAward.com.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the oldest and largest pet health insurance company in the United States. Since 1982, VPI has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. CareGuard® coverage for routine care is available for an additional premium. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, nearly 3,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). 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 petinsurance.com.

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