Six years ago, Marc and Deb Lindenman of Fairfield, Connecticut adopted a slender and excitable male puppy named Cheddar from an animal shelter in New York. Since that day, Cheddar has become a fixture in the family and accompanies his pet parents nearly everywhere they go. However, their latest travel turned terrifying after a chandelier fell from the ceiling and crashed on top of the unsuspecting Labrador mix. Cheddar’s household hazard and heartwarming recovery have earned him the title of September’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.
At the shelter, Cheddar was shy and displayed bouts of nervousness, but that improved immensely once he joined the Lindenman family. The Labrador mix’s friendly personality and adventurous spirit quickly came to the surface, which has been a perfect fit for Marc and Deborah.
“Cheddar is super friendly and loves the outdoors. He’s the most popular dog in neighborhood,” said Marc. “He really enjoys going to the beach, the lake, or generally anywhere he can explore. He’s a great dog.”
On the morning of the light fixture fiasco, the family was celebrating Marc’s mother’s birthday at his sister’s house in New York. The house was packed with family members ready to celebrate the joyous occasion. Amongst the crowded scene, Marc and his brother-in-law were cooking a breakfast feast. As the cooks prepared their food, they experienced an issue with a large pan of bacon. The grease in the pan started to spew and pop, causing a sizzling mess. Cheddar caught a whiff of the simmering bacon and hovered in close proximity.
“The pan we were using wasn’t deep enough for the amount of bacon we had and hot grease was getting everywhere,” said Marc. “The kitchen started to fill with smoke and the bacon was burning. It turned into chaos.”
As smoke poured from the burning bacon, the smoke alarms in the house began to sound. Marc turned off the stove burners and hustled to open all the windows in the hazy house with Cheddar following closely behind. Meanwhile, Marc’s brother-in-law was using a jacket to fan the smoke out of the house.
The two parties eventually diverged towards the front door. With Cheddar by his side, Marc opened the door as his brother-in-law whiffed the jacket beside them. As the jacket flew through the air it clipped a large chandelier hanging in the walkway. The glass chandelier came crashing down with a flurry of broken glass.
“I heard the jacket hit the chandelier,” said Marc. “It shattered and glass went everywhere. I wasn’t sure if it had hit Cheddar at first. He didn’t act like anything was wrong, but then I saw blood on his head.”
The chandelier had indeed fallen on Cheddar and caused a deep laceration just above his eye. Marc knew that Cheddar needed medical attention and worked diligently to keep the ailing Labrador calm while he called Deborah to tell her the news. Marc then loaded Cheddar into his vehicle and rushed him to Northway Animal Emergency Clinic of Gansevoort, New Yew York for treatment. Deborah met the duo upon their arrival to help keep Cheddar relaxed. The staff immediately cleaned Cheddar’s wound and inspected for shards of glass.
After inspecting the cut, the staff informed Marc and Deb that Cheddar was incredibly lucky. The depth of the gash was concerning and was only a couple inches from his eye, which could have caused far worse damage. Due to the shape of the cut, the staff recommended forgoing staples or stitches on the cut to allow for natural healing. They then dressed the cut and sent the Lindenmans home.
“Cheddar is incredibly lucky that the broken glass didn’t lacerate anything vital or cause lasting damage,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “The Lindeman’s did a great job by keeping Cheddar calm during the ordeal and wasting no time in getting him treatment. This story is a perfect example of why we created the Hambone Award, to show how unexpected pet accidents can be.”
Within a few weeks, Cheddar made a full recovery. Marc and Deb are thankful for the fantastic veterinary care Cheddar received from the staff at the Northway Animal Emergency Clinic, and are grateful for the pet insurance support they received from Nationwide.
“The veterinarians were caring and diligent with Cheddar,” said Marc. “And having pet insurance from Nationwide has been a savior for us. We’re fortunate that we have been reimbursed for many of Cheddar’s veterinary bills. Pet Insurance been worth every penny.”
As the most unusual claim submitted in September, Cheddar will be in the running for the 2018 Hambone Award. Cheddar’s incident was one of more than 110,000 pet insurance claims received in the month of September by Nationwide, and was selected by Nationwide employees as the most unusual of them all. Honorable mentions in September include an Australian Shephard who swallowed an ice pack, a Labrador retriever who was attacked by a Javelina and a German Shephard who got tangled in a barbed wire. All pets considered for the Hambone Award have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses.
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 630,000 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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