Mocha Shaken and Stirred but Thankfully Uninjured After Cracking Car Windshield

Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Selects February's Most Unusual Claim

Brea, Calif. (March 13, 2013) – We all know the importance of buckling up whether we are a driver or passenger in a moving vehicle. As Susan Chasmar of Barnegat, N.J., can now attest, restraining our furry friends while we’re on the road is just as important. Susan was driving through a parking lot on her way to take Mocha, her one-year-old Bernese mountain dog, to her first class of beginner puppy training. Suddenly, a pedestrian stepped out in front of her vehicle, causing her to stop short and pushing Mocha forward from the passenger seat of the car and into the windshield. In addition to a cracked windshield, the incident also resulted in a trip to the veterinarian, earning Mocha the title of February’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).

“After I parked the car, I immediately checked her head for bleeding, and luckily there wasn’t any,” explained Susan. “Fortunately, there was a pet hospital in the same building as her training class. The veterinarian said that she had a high temperature so they took a blood sample but no further treatment was required and she was even able to complete her first training class that day as scheduled.”

A few days later, Susan took Mocha for a follow-up appointment with her veterinarian and she was given a clean bill of health. Susan recognizes how fortunate she was that Mocha didn’t sustain any injuries as a result of the incident.

“Not only did she come away uninjured, but she also doesn’t seem to have psychological scars,” said Susan. “She still loves getting in the car, but we make sure she stays harnessed in the back seat when we are driving.”

“Just like all human passengers, four-legged passengers should be restrained in a vehicle too,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Ideally, pet owners should use a crate or carrier to protect their pets inside of a car. This is especially important due to unexpected stops and turns. Some dogs, like Mocha, might be too large to be restrained in a crate while traveling in a car; at the very least these large breeds should be secured by a safety harness to prevent the pet from exploring and moving around the vehicle.”

Susan began to appreciate the value of pet insurance in 2011, when her previous Bernese, Babe Ruth, was diagnosed with Lymphoma and anemia.

“Caring for her was very expensive and I would have gone into extreme financial distress if it wasn’t for my pet insurance,” explained Susan. “I tell everyone I know that they should have VPI Pet Insurance. It offers peace of mind.”

Mocha’s incident was one of more than 80,000 claims received in the month of February 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 February included a cocker spaniel that survived a javelina attack, a Siberian husky that was treated for ocular trauma after being hit in the eye with a frozen tennis ball, and a golden retriever that ate a bar of soap. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.

As the most unusual claim submitted in February, Mocha will be in the running for the 2013 VPI Hambone Award. Other nominees include Natasha the Siberian Forest cat who went through an entire washing machine cycle, Ariel the Himalayan kitten who was trapped underneath her pet parent’s garage door, and Annie the Yorkshire terrier that was stranded outdoors during one of the worst storms in North American history. For more information about the VPI Hambone Award, or to read about all of the 2013 nominees, visit

Digital images of Mocha are available upon request. Send requests to

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

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, one in three Fortune 500 companies offers 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

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