Brea, Calif. (Oct. 9, 2016) - Kismet, a Jack Russell terrier from Salt Lake City, Utah has won the 2016 Hambone Award, honoring the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year. Kismet earned the nomination after he bravely intervened during a violent burglary that left he and his owner in critical condition. The 8th annual Hambone Award is presented by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance. After selecting 11 nominees for the most unusual claim of the year, Nationwide opened a public vote at www.HamboneAward.com to decide the winner, where Kismet received the most votes.
Kismet was treated by the veterinary team at Advanced Veterinary Care in Salt Lake City where they performed a lifesaving surgery to treat a major stab wound that he received during the altercation. For their outstanding work, Advanced Veterinary Care will receive a $10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) to treat pets whose owners could otherwise not afford veterinary care. One hundred percent of all donations to the VCF are used to treat pets, with no contributions used for administration, fundraising or overhead.
Four years ago, Shu Li of Salt Lake City, Utah brought home an energetic Jack Russell terrier puppy named Kismet. Little did she know, one day that tiny terrier would help save her life, which is exactly what happened when the brave Jack Russell intervened during a violent home invasion that left both he and his owner critically injured, and thankful to be alive.
The terrifying tale begins with Shu returning home from work in the mid-afternoon. Kismet greeted his owner at the door and instantly became her shadow, following her throughout the apartment. Shu was feeling tired after a long shift and decided to lay down for a short nap until her husband Kase was scheduled to return from work.
“I laid down to rest and Kismet jumped up on the bed to join me,” said Shu. “We fell asleep together until I heard the front door creek open. I thought it was just my husband coming home, so I did not get up.”
A few seconds after the door closed, Kismet began to growl. Shu attempted to calm the terrier down, but he eventually erupted into a sporadic bark. At that moment, Shu turned around and saw a man enter her room with his face covered in a bandana. The man had broken into the apartment with robbery as a motive, but his intentions quickly turned violent. Before Shu could say a word, the man began to strike her with a wooden object.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” said Shu. “At first I thought someone was playing a joke on me, but then he started hitting me and I was fighting for my life.”
As Shu tried to defend herself, Kismet sprung into action and started attacking the intruder’s legs and arms. However, the situation escalated when the assailant uncovered a knife and struck Shu with a puncturing blow. Knowing the fight was turning, Shu pretended to pass out and the attacker left the room, but Kismet was not ready to back down. The determined dog recharged the attacker with a fury. As the invader struggled to fight off the mighty mutt, Shu saw her chance and sprinted out the front door.
As Shu sprinted out the door, Kismet held the intruder off just long enough until he turned his knife on the courageous canine and delivered a critical blow. Shu ran down the stairs of her apartment complex as she bled heavily, while the attacker chased after her. She reached a business on the first floor of the building and screamed for help while banging on a window. The employees inside took notice and rushed to help her. She immediately pointed towards the attacker who was close behind. The good Samaritans called for emergency services and followed the man long enough to get his license plate. The assailant was arrested within a few hours of the attack.
“As soon as I was safe, I wanted to go find Kismet, but I was injured pretty badly,” said Shu. “All I could think about in the ambulance was Kismet. I just wanted to know if he was going to be okay.” Kase had returned home moments after the attack and recruited some friends to help. While Kase accompanied his wife at the hospital, the friends rushed Kismet to Advanced Veterinary Care of Salt Lake City for treatment, Both Shu and Kismet underwent major surgery upon arrival.
Since the incident, Shu and Kismet have made full recoveries and returned to living their lives without fear. Shu is thankful for the aid she’s received from her community and the pet insurance support she received from Nationwide.
“I’m just relieved that we both made it,” said Shu. “The help we received from everyone was amazing. The community helped pay for Kismet’s daycare costs, and I can’t thank the veterinarians enough for saving his life. Having Kismet insured through Nationwide helped tremendously with the costs as well.”
As the 2016 Hambone Award winner, Kismet will receive the coveted bronze Hambone Award Trophy, as well as a Nationwide gift bag filled with toys, treats and various pet supplies.
Second Place - Ludmila the Tibetan terrier (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Ludmila’s incredible curiosity got the best of her when she managed to get her head stuck in a solid oak coffee table so snug that not even the fire department could get her out (Ludmila was treated at the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Clinic).
Third Place - Oso the Blue Heeler mix (La Mesa, Calif.). 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 (Oso was treated at the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center of East County in La Mesa).
“The Hambone Award serves as an annual reminder of the unforeseeable dangers that can affect our pets at any time,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA and Chief Veterinary Officer at Nationwide. “Kismet’s incredible bravery helped save his companion’s life during this horrifying ordeal, and we’re delighted to see the outstanding recovery they both have made. We are honored to present Kismet with the 2016 Hambone Award.”
The 11 nominees were chosen out of more than 1.5 million claims received by Nationwide over the past year. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses. Thousands of votes were cast at www.HamboneAward.com from Sept. 19 – Oct. 3 to determine the winner. To read the stories and see pictures of all 11 Hambone nominees, visit www.HamboneAward.com.
Note to Editors: Digital images of Kismet and all 11 Hambone Award nominees are available upon request. Contact Ryan Whittington at Rwhittington@petinsurance.com.
The Hambone Award is named in honor of a Nationwide-insured dog who 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 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 Hambone Award nominees are available at HamboneAward.com.
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