Kismet, a Jack Russell terrier from Salt Lake City, Utah, has won the 2016 Hambone Award, honoring the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year. Also winning is Advanced Veterinary Care, the SLC veterinary practice that saved the brave dog’s life after a violent burglary left him and his owner in critical condition. I was proud to be on hand to present the award.
Advanced Veterinary Care performed a lifesaving surgery to treat a major stab wound the dog received while defending his owner. For their outstanding work, Advanced Veterinary Care will receive a $10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) to treat pets whose owners could otherwise not afford veterinary care. One hundred percent of all donations to the VCF are used to treat pets, with no contributions used for administration, fundraising or overhead.
The 8th annual Hambone Award is presented by Nationwide®, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance. After selecting 11 nominees for the most unusual claim of the year, Nationwide opened a public vote at HamboneAward.com to decide the winner.
Kismet, his owners, and the team at Advanced Veterinary Care, the SLC veterinary practice that saved the heroic dog. (And me, of course!)
Details from our Hambone Award website:
SLC veterinary practice saves canine hero
The terrifying tale begins with Shu Li returning home from work in the mid-afternoon. Kismet greeted his owner at the door and instantly became her shadow, following her throughout the apartment. Shu was feeling tired after a long shift and decided to catch a short nap until her husband, Kase, came home.
“Kismet jumped up on the bed to join me,” said Shu. “We fell asleep together until I heard the front door creek open. I thought it was just my husband coming home, so I did not get up.”
A few seconds after the door closed, Kismet began to growl. Shu attempted to calm the terrier down, but he eventually erupted into a sporadic bark. At that moment, Shu turned around and saw a man enter her room with his face covered in a bandana. The man had broken into the apartment with robbery as a motive, but his intentions quickly turned violent. Before Shu could say a word, the man began to strike her with a wooden object.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” said Shu. “At first I thought someone was playing a joke on me, but then he started hitting me and I was fighting for my life.”
As Shu tried to defend herself, Kismet sprung into action and started attacking the intruder’s legs and arms. The situation escalated when the assailant uncovered a knife and struck Shu with a puncturing blow. Knowing the fight was turning, Shu pretended to pass out and the attacker left the room, but Kismet was not ready to back down. The determined dog charged the attacker with fury. As the invader struggled to fight off the dog, Shu saw her chance and sprinted out the front door.
Shu sprinted out the door while Kismet held the intruder off. The attacker then he the stabbed the dog, delivered a critical blow. Shu ran down the stairs of her apartment complex as she bled heavily, while the attacker chased after her. She reached a business on the first floor of the building and screamed for help while banging on a window. The employees inside rushed to help her. She pointed towards the attacker who was close behind. The good Samaritans called for emergency services and followed the man long enough to get his license plate. The assailant was arrested within a few hours of the attack.
“As soon as I was safe, I wanted to go find Kismet, but I was injured pretty badly,” said Shu. “All I could think about in the ambulance was Kismet. I just wanted to know if he was going to be OK.”
Kase had returned home moments after the attack and recruited some friends to help. While Kase accompanied his wife at the hospital, the friends rushed Kismet to Advanced Veterinary Care of Salt Lake City for treatment, Both Shu and Kismet underwent major surgery upon arrival.
Since the incident, Shu and Kismet have recovered from their inuries. Shu is thankful for the aid she’s received from her community and the pet insurance support she received from Nationwide.
“I’m just relieved that we both made it,” said Shu. “The help we received from everyone was amazing. The community helped pay for Kismet’s daycare costs, and I can’t thank the veterinarians enough for saving his life. Having Kismet insured through Nationwide helped tremendously with the costs as well.”
As the 2016 Hambone Award winner, Kismet will receive the bronze Hambone Award Trophy, as well as a Nationwide gift bag filled with toys, treats and various pet supplies.
Other tales that touched the voters
While Kismet’s heroic story was the definitive winner, the stories of two other pets drew their share of support:
In second place was Ludmila the Tibetan terrier (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Ludmila’s incredible curiosity got the best of her when she managed to get her head stuck in a solid oak coffee table so snug that not even the fire department could get her out. Ludmila was treated at the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Clinic.
Oso the Blue Heeler mix (La Mesa, Calif.), took third. Oso is an incredibly athletic dog with a long list of active hobbies including surfing and hiking. However, one of Oso’s field trips took a terrible turn when he misjudged a leap and crashed head first into a cement barrier, shattering his snout. Oso was treated at the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center of East County in La Mesa.
The 11 nominees were chosen out of more than 1.5 million claims received by Nationwide over the past year. All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for eligible expenses. Thousands of votes were cast at HamboneAward.com from Sept. 19 – Oct. 3 to determine the winner. To read the stories and see pictures of all 11 Hambone nominees — as well as past nominees and winners — visit the Hambone Award website.
The Hambone Award is named in honor of a Nationwide-insured dog who got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving 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.
(Photos by Bryony Richards)