Indianapolis dog vies for national pet insurance award

Jackie, a Manchester terrier mix from Indianapolis who ingested perfume, is vying with a tape-eating cat and other reckless animals in the latest contest for the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year.

“Jackie’s bizarre break-in gave her a huge bellyache after she figured out how to open the family’s junk drawer and ate all of its contents, including a medicine bottle, a bottle of fragrance oil and a pair of sunglasses,” Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. said in written statement Wednesday. The Indianapolis dog “needed X-rays and laxatives, but eventually was able to pass all the items.”

The 11-year-old Jackie, owned by Nick Servies, also ingested some Chap Stick, a container of lip gloss and the case for the sunglasses.

Nationwide is seeking to highlight the risks to pets as the company works to expand coverage of domestic animals. The Hambone award, named for a dog that ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator, has been given to the most bizarre claim every year since 2009. The winner will be decided by a public vote through Sept. 30. The animal hospital that treated the first-place contestant will get a $10,000 award, Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide said.

Votes can be cast at

Previous winners include a Labrador retriever that ate a beehive along with thousands of its inhabitants. Among this year’s nominees are a Boxer who swallowed a barbecue skewer; a Pug who consumed magnets that bonded inside him, pinching the intestinal tract together; and Charm, the silver-shaded Persian cat from Virginia who ate more than three feet (0.9 meter) of packaging tape.

Policyholder-owned Nationwide is among the 10 largest insurers for both home and auto policies in the U.S. The company sells animal policies under the Veterinary Pet Insurance brand and covers creatures including dogs, cats and birds against risks such as accidents, illnesses and injuries. The company insures about 550,000 pets and reviewed more than 1.3 million claims over the past year before selecting the 12 Hambone nominees for 2015.

“These stories exemplify the importance of taking the necessary precautions and seeking veterinary treatment when an animal shows signs of distress,” Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide, said in the statement. “These pets all made remarkable recoveries because of their quick-thinking pet parents and proper treatment by skilled veterinarians.”

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