And the Hambone Award goes to … Rooster and his veterinary team!

Rooster, a hound mix from Scranton, Penn., is the 2017 winner of the ninth annual Hambone Award®, honoring the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year. Rooster was nominated after he was impaled by a large tree branch during a routine hiking trip. After selecting 12 nominees, Nationwide opened a public vote at to decide the winner, where Rooster proved victorious.

Rooster was treated by the veterinary team at Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center in Clarks Summit, Penn., where they performed a life-saving surgery to remove the tree branch. For their outstanding work, Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center will receive a $10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) to help treat pets in their community 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.

roosterAs the 2017 Hambone Award winner, Rooster will receive the coveted bronze Hambone Award Trophy, as well as a Nationwide gift bag filled with toys, treats and various pet supplies.

A very close vote

The competition was incredibly close with the following nominees falling short by just a few votes:

runnersupsSecond Place – Butterscotch the Great Pyrenees/Irish setter mix (Minneapolis, Minnesota). A walk in the city left Butterscotch with shocking injuries after he stepped in a puddle that was exposed to a live wire and was electrocuted. (Butterscotch was treated at MedVet Chicago.)

Third Place – Star the Cattle Dog mix (South Bend, Ind.). Star’s daily walks are often interrupted by her clumsiness, but a recent trailside blunder nearly ended in tragedy after she fell into a hidden manhole. (Star was treated at the Parrett Veterinary Clinic in Indiana.)

The 12 nominees were chosen from more than 1.5 million claims received by Nationwide during 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 from Sept. 21 – Oct. 4 to determine the winner.