Brea, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2014) – On their wedding day, Kelly Chubbuck and her fiancé Jason were making final preparations at their home in North Bend, WA., while their new puppy Lola, an 11-month-old Labrador retriever, curiously tagged along. Kelly’s eager nerves were building, but she remained calm as the stage was set for her dream wedding. That is, until Lola chewed through an extension cord and was electrocuted just hours before the ceremony. Lola’s impeccable timing and heartwarming recovery have earned her the title of September’s "Most Unusual Claim of the Month" by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.
Kelly left the house early in the morning with her bridesmaids, while her soon-to-be husband stayed behind to finish his final pre-wedding duties. His last task was to get the dogs situated for their short absence, which meant securing them in a gated area inside the house. As Jason wrangled up the family dogs, he noticed Lola sitting in the corner acting oddly calm. Upon further inspection he realized she was shaking and drooling uncontrollably. As Jason attempted to comfort the poor pup, he noticed an electrical extension cord had been chewed up and that Lola’s mouth was burned.
“Jason called me as soon as he saw Lola, and we both couldn’t believe that this had happened to her or that it had happened on our wedding day,” said Kelly. “Most importantly, we were scared and worried about Lola’s wellbeing; she’s like a child to us. Luckily we have VPI and Jason was able to rush Lola to the emergency animal hospital without hesitation. Jason explained to the veterinary team what had happened and told them our wedding was in a few hours, and they promised to call us with updates as soon as possible.”
Hoping Lola would be okay, Kelly and Jason proceeded with their scheduled wedding activities. However, just before their pre-wedding photos, the veterinarian called with a daunting update. Lola was suffering from pulmonary edema and her lungs were filling with fluid. With her life in danger, Lola needed to be transferred to a specialist in Seattle more than 30 miles away, putting the entire wedding in jeopardy. Kelly and her husband were torn after hearing of Lola’s condition and feared they might have to cancel the ceremony. Luckily, one of Kelly’s bridesmaids was able to call her boyfriend Tate, who was still in route to the venue. Tate saved the day by rushing Lola to the specialists at ACCESS Veterinary Hospital Seattle. Not knowing what to expect and only minutes before she was scheduled to walk down the aisle, Kelly received a call. Fortunately it was the specialist, who assured her that Lola was going to be fine and encouraged her to “go get married!”
“Everyone always says something has to go wrong on your wedding day, and this certainly was ours,” said Kelly. “Our wedding was saved by three heroes that day: the first being the incredible veterinarians at ACCESS Seattle who saved Lola’s life, the second being Tate who was our only hope in getting Lola the treatment she needed, and finally VPI who helped cover the medical costs and gave us the comfort of knowing we could afford the treatment."
Following the wedding, Kelly and Jason put their honeymoon on hold and went to be with Lola. After a few days under veterinary care, Lola’s lungs improved and she was sent home. Since the incident, Lola’s mouth has completely healed and she has made a full recovery. Kelly and Jason are happy the electrical episode is behind them and are grateful for all the help they received.
“Lola is the perfect example of how pets can get into accidents at any time, no matter the situation,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA and Chief Veterinary Officer at VPI. “Labrador retrievers are chewers by nature, so it’s no surprise that Lola put something into her mouth that she wasn’t supposed to. Chewing an electrical cord can be potentially deadly to pets, so Lola’s lucky that she had quick-thinking pet parents who were able to wrangle up the resources to get her the treatment she needed. This story serves as a great reminder that even if you pet-proof your home, you still need to be ready for anything.”
As the most unusual claim submitted submitted in September, Lola will be in the running for the 2015 VPI Hambone Award. Lola's incident was one of more than 101,000 claims received in the month of August by VPI, and was selected by VPI employees as the most unusual of them all. Honorable mentions in September include a Husky puppy who jumped from a moving vehicle and a mixed breed dog who got Salmonella from eating a turtle egg. All pets considered for the Hambone nomination have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.
Note to editors: Digital images of Lola are available upon request. Please send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
With more than 500,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI) is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies and is the first 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. Wellness coverage and 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 petinsurance.com.
P.O. Box 2344
Brea, CA 92822-2344