Collar Calamity Leaves French Bulldog Puppy With Identity Crisis

Nation’s Largest Pet Insurer Selects Most Unusual April Claim

Brea, Calif. (May 25, 2015) – Woodrow, a 7-month-old French bulldog, is best described as a rambunctious and curious bundle-of-love by Lauren Hafner and her fiancé, Ian, of Yardley, PA. Woodrow’s perilous puppy attitude had already landed him at the veterinary hospital more than once during his young life. However, none of his previous mishaps could have prepared Woodrow’s pet parents for his latest blunder, after he managed to swallow the identification tag off the collar he was wearing, requiring surgery to save him. Woodrow’s flabbergasting feast and heartening recovery have earned him the title of April’s "Most Unusual Claim of the Month" by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.

On the weekend of Woodrow’s metallic meal, the young pup was staying with Ian’s mother while the couple was away at a wedding. This was the first time Woodrow had been away from his parents, but he didn’t seem to care as he loved going to his grandma’s house to play and soak up the attention. The weekend was going great, until his I.D. tags mysteriously went missing. After searching throughout the house with no success, Ian’s mother called Lauren to report the vanished tags.

At first we didn’t think much of it,” said Lauren. “We thought maybe they had just gotten caught on something and fell off. His collar was still on and looked normal so it didn’t appear too suspicious, but with his track record, there’s always a possibility that something strange could happen.”

After picking up Woodrow on Sunday, Lauren noticed he was acting a little sluggish, but figured it was due to his exciting weekend and decided to let him rest. Woodrow went to sleep as usual Sunday night, and slept through the night without a murmur. However the next morning, Lauren discovered that he had vomited in his crate and looked to be in great discomfort.

I knew something was wrong as soon as I saw him and knew he needed medical attention right away,” said Lauren. “We had no idea it was tied to the missing tags, but we knew from experience that he had most likely eaten something he wasn’t supposed to. Situations like this are why we have VPI, and with Woodrow’s bad habits, it has definitely paid off.”

Lauren rushed Woodrow to the Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services of Langhome (PA) for immediate treatment. The veterinary staff decided to take X-rays, to see if Woodrow had ingested anything. As Lauren was waiting in the lobby she heard one of the staff members yell, “We found it!” Sure enough, the X-rays revealed that Woodrow had indeed swallowed one of his I.D. tags and the tag ring, which were now lodged in his intestines. The veterinary staff induced vomiting, but the tag wouldn’t surface. Eventually it was determined that endoscopic surgery was required to remove the tag. The procedure was a success and within a day Woodrow was back home recovering.

“Puppies are very curious and like to chew on almost anything they can get in their mouth,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, Vice President and Chief Veterinary Officer for VPI. “Woodrow is lucky that he has such attentive pet parents, who wasted no time getting him treatment. If the tag was stuck in his intestines for a longer period of time, it could have caused more serious damage.”

After a short recovery, Woodrow was back to his happy-go-lucky self in no time. Lauren still isn’t sure how Woodrow managed to get the tag off his collar or why he decided it was a suitable treat. She’s just happy that her four-legged fur child is healthy and happy.

“Woodrow is our first dog together, and he means the world to us,” said Lauren. “We’re so grateful for the veterinary care that he received, and we’re thrilled with the support from VPI. Woodrow is the first pet I’ve ever had insured with VPI, and I’m now a firm believer that every puppy owner should have it.”

As the most unusual claim submitted in April, Woodrow will be in the running for the 2015 VPI Hambone Award. Woodrow’s incident was one of more than 110,000 claims received in the month of April by VPI, and was selected by VPI employees as the most unusual of them all. Honorable mentions in April included a Cavapoo who was attacked by a Great Horned Owl, a chicken who fought with a scorpion and a mixed-breed dog who fell on a deer antler. All pets considered for the VPI Hambone Award have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.

Note to editors: Digital images of Woodrow are available upon request. Please 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 525,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency (VPI), a Nationwide company, is the first and largest pet health insurance provider 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 plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Wellness 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.

Insurance plans 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 (2013); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2014). Veterinary Pet Insurance, VPI and the cat/dog logo are service marks of Veterinary Pet Insurance Company. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide Is On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2015 Veterinary Pet Insurance Company and Nationwide. 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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