Featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
People’s pets sometimes find themselves in problematic situations that can be both expensive and scary for their hoomans. Every year, Nationwide Insurance raises awareness of these accidents in the form of the Hambone Award. Nationwide awards the top dog, cat, or other animal that safely navigated out of trouble with the help of their pet parents and the veterinarians who provide their medical care.
The History Of The Hambone
Named after a dog who got hypothermia after getting stuck in a refrigerator and eating an entire holiday ham, this year’s Hambone Award finalists include a very resilient group of furry and feathered friends.
“Each year, we’re able to highlight nominees that have made remarkable recoveries because of the diligence of the pet parents and the incredible skills of their treating veterinary healthcare teams,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Pet Health and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide.
2023’s finalists include several dogs, cats, and even a parrot. One of the most notable entrants is a cat named Miko from New Orleans. Miko was hanging out on his home’s “catio” when he leaped seven feet into the air towards a group of doves.
1. Miko’s Mid-Flight Encounter
Cat mom Teresa was surprised when her husband asked her to check out Miko, who was pawing at his face following the encounter. “I [could] see blood coming down from his eye. Like a tear of blood … I could see very visibly that something had poked him, because there was a chunk of fur missing,” she explained.
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Home security footage revealed how Miko was bitten mid-flight near the eye by a bird. Fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries.
2. A Remarkable Jump
Miko was not the only pet with a penchant for high-flying adventure. Labrador retriever Grayson Haze from College Station, Texas, spontaneously decided to jump off a 36-foot-high bridge. Pet parents Mark and Annie had no idea why their dog decided to jump off the side of the structure, knocking himself unconscious. While he sustained some internal injuries after landing on a concrete embankment, Grayson Haze did not require surgical intervention.
3. Sunny’s Shocking Story
Sunny, another Labrador, managed to drag his crate several feet across a room in his home in Anaheim, California, towards an electrical outlet. He then proceeded to eat three phone charger cords. According to his pet mom Molly, “The X-ray captured a clump of wires intertwined with each other, and it was so large in comparison to his body—I just could not believe it.”
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The veterinarian also discovered that Sunny had digested more than just the cords. He ate candy wrappers and other items as well. The dog needed emergency surgery to remove the foreign objects, but thankfully had a full recovery.
4. Belle’s Buck Wild Incident
Jindos are medium-sized dogs, and one named Belle decided to start a fight with a deer in her Atlanta, Georgia, backyard. This spunky girl was just a tad outsized when she encountered the buck.
Her human Rick explained, “A lot of deer wander around back here; there’s basically a game trail behind our house [and] this time some of those deer were in our backyard. Unfortunately, this deer was not a doe—it was a buck, and he was not happy. One thing about Jindos is they’re extremely brave, but it wasn’t enough to keep her from losing that fight.”
The good news is that Belle only suffered from some soft tissue damage and felt better after a few days.
That’s Not All
Other Hambone Award finalists include:
- Goldendoodle, Aurora who broke her leg in a storm drain in New Hampshire
- Bernie, a mixed breed pup who was hit by an ATV in California
- A kitten named Giles who got trapped in a folding couch in New York City
- A pug named Jax from Las Vegas who got overheated after spending too much time in a blanket post-surgery
- Josie, a pup who lost four teeth but survived a high-speed collision with a cast-iron stadium seat in San Franscisco
- Rolex, a green-cheeked conure who accidentally got slammed into a door in Massachusetts.
All of them recovered from their injuries. Nationwide gives the winner of the Hambone Award a trophy and gift card and donates money to a pet charity of the owner’s choosing.
Sensing You Want More
Ripley’s is no stranger to incredible pet stories. We’ve covered everything from four-eared cats to fashionable lizards, trained circus rats, and beyond. Find other amazing animal tales in the pages of our latest book, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Level Up — available now at major retailers and on Amazon!
By Noelle Talmon, contributor for Ripleys.com
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