When Aimee Liwang and her boyfriend Oliver moved from New York to San Diego, the first priority on their checklist was to bring a puppy into the family. After some heartfelt searching, the duo found a perfect Golden retriever puppy, and named him Howard (Howie for short). However, the young family nearly lost their newly adopted pet after he chewed up and swallowed an electronics charger. Howard’s dangerous dinner and heartwarming recovery have earned him the title of July’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.
When the couple first laid their eyes on the adorable puppy, he was resting belly first on a couch with his litter mates. They quickly fell in love with the young retriever’s quirky personality and realized he was the perfect fit for their family.
“He stole our hearts right away,” said Aimee. “And soon after that, he started to steal our shoes! He’s such a loving dog, but he’s pretty mischievous and has a tendency to get himself into trouble from time to time.”
Since joining the family, Howard has grown into a fun-loving dog who craves the attention of people and dogs alike. Howard enjoys daily visits to the dog park and frequent trips to the beaches along the Southern California coast.
On the day of the hazardous helping, Aimee was preparing to take Howard for his morning walk when she received an important phone call. As Aimee spoke on the phone, the impatient puppy whimpered with hopes that his noises would speed up the call. With Howard’s noisy whining affecting the conversation, Aimee left the room.
“Howie was crying for his walk, so I went into the other room and closed the door,” said Aimee. “I was only gone for a couple minutes, but when came back, I could see that he had gotten his paws on something. When I went to take it from him, I could see wires in his mouth and knew he could be in serious danger.”
Unbeknownst to Aimee, Howard had jumped up to the kitchen counter, pulled an electronics charger right out of the wall and was attempting to eat it. Unsure of how much Howard had consumed or what effects those contents could have on his body, Aimee immediately called the Bodhi Animal Hospital in San Diego.
“Howard has chewed up things in the past, but never something this dangerous,” said Aimee. “I wasn’t sure he had been shocked or not, but I knew he needed medical attention. Thank goodness for pet insurance, because this isn’t the first emergency trip he’s had.”
Upon arrival at the veterinary hospital, the staff ran multiple tests on the ailing retriever to locate the ingested contents and to determine if any damage had occurred from an electrical surge. After review, the staff determined that Howard had not suffered an electrical shock and was confident that his issues could be resolved without invasive surgery. The veterinary staff induced vomiting to help remove as much of the ingested charger as they could, and he later passed the remaining contents naturally.
“Howard is fortunate the charger didn’t cause an intestinal blockage,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “It could have required major surgery had he not been able to regurgitate the contents he ingested. Howard is lucky he has responsible pet parents who wasted no time in seeking veterinary care.”
Within a few days, Howard made a full recovery and was back to his playful ways. Aimee and Oliver are thankful for the amazing care from the veterinary staff at the Bodhi Animal Hospital, and are grateful for the pet insurance support they received from Nationwide.
“Howie’s veterinary hospital has been amazing for us. We can’t thank the staff enough,” said Aimee. “Getting pet insurance for Howie was one the best investments we’ve made as pet owners. Nationwide has been there when we’ve needed them most.”
As the most unusual claim submitted in July, Howard will be in the running for the 2018 Hambone Award. Howard’s incident was one of more than 110,000 pet insurance claims received in the month of July by Nationwide, and was selected by Nationwide employees as the most unusual of them all. Honorable mentions in July include a Chihuahua who had a run in with a deer, a mixed breed dog who choked on a tennis ball, and a Golden retriever who was kicked by a horse. All pets considered for the Hambone Award have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.
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About Hambone Award
The Hambone Award is named in honor of a Nationwide-insured dog who got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire holiday 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.
About Nationwide pet insurance
With more than 600,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.
Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
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 (2016); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016). Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, commercial, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; banking and mortgages; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
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