Menlo Park pooch nominated for pet prize


"Phoenix," a Labrador retriever, was nominated for Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.'s Hambone Award for the most unusual pet health insurance claim of the year, according to a statement released by the insurance company.

This is the second year that pet health insurer VPI will grant the Hambone Award to one of its more than 485,000 insured pets to remind pet owners of the unpredictable nature of pet injuries.

Judges will select the winner from 12 nominees nationwide, but is asking for help from the public in whittling down the contestants.

Between today and Aug. 16, the curious can decide which dog, cat or desert tortoise will take home the award by visiting

Phoenix is among four nominees from California, including Sandy, an Abysinnian cat from Irvine County who took a short spin in a dryer; Ellie, a Labrador retriever from San Diego County who scarfed down an entire beehive; and Charles, a 50-year-old desert tortoise, also from San Diego County, who scalped himself on his own shell.

Other nominees that made the cut include a dog from Illinois that took a bite out of a buzzing chainsaw and a dog from Alabama that jumped through and shattered a closed living room window to get to a very frightened mail carrier, according to VPI.

"While not every pet will jump through a window, eat a beehive, or bite a chainsaw, our Hambone Award nominees illustrate that these things do happen and treating such injuries can be expensive," VPI vice president Dr. Carol McConnell said.

All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses, according to VPI.

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