Pet insurer holds contest to choose winner of Hambone Award for oddest accident
Stories of pets being goofy abound, but in the pantheon of animal wackiness, few things top the 12 tales being offered up in a pet insurer's contest for most unusual claim of the year. The Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., known as VPI, is asking the public to vote on which of the company's animal clients had the wackiest accident (all the pets survived) in the last 12 months and deserves the Hambone Award. The prize is named for a dog insured by the company that got into a refrigerator and ate an entire ham.
Not surprisingly, several of the dog injuries involved gluttonous eating. This year's contestants include a Santee, Calif., Lab named Ellie, who ate an entire beehive -- which her owners were alerted to when the pooch started vomiting bees. Fortunately, most of the bees that she ate were dead because her feast occurred after an exterminator had sprayed the hive. Nor did the pesticide harm her. She spent a week on antacids and a diet of chicken and rice to recover.
The one cat calamity, of course, involved sneaking into some place the animal shouldn't have been -- in this case, a clothes dryer. An Abyssinian named Sandy in Irvine took a brief spin before her owners heard a weird thumping sound and discovered her in the dryer. She emerged from the cycle with a couple of bruises and a broken rib.
Perhaps the oddest animal injury was sustained by a 50-year-old (yes, 50!) desert tortoise, Charlie, who accidentally scalped himself. A veterinarian speculated that the tortoise scraped his head on a branch or stick while trying to pull it into his shell. Charlie got stitches and spent a month on antibiotics. From Charlie's nominee site, you can catch a YouTube video of the tortoise wandering across the grass as his owner, Brandie Keaveny of Ramona, Calif., gives an update on his recovery.
You can vote online through Aug. 16 for the creature you think had the oddest accident.
-- Carla Hall
Video: Charlie the desert tortoise. Credit: VPI via YouTube