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Hambone Award: Should it be for Animal Accidents or Owner Stupidity?

October 20th, 2011

The Hambone Award is a “contest” involving the submissions for insurance coverage on
pet accidents. It’s sponsor is the insurance comapany, VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance), which offers pet insurance coverage to animal owners.

Some of the write-in nominees are not the reflection of what animals will do as much as much as owners totally blind about what their dogs are doing (the award is not limited to dogs, however.)

The award, according to various sources, derived its name from a dog that crawled into the family refrigerator, unnoticed (which must be a story in itself), and while stuck there waiting for someone to realize he had gone missing, ate an entire holiday ham, including the bone.

Now how one misses the fact that their dog is jumping into their refrigerator, regardless of the size of said dog, is beyond me. I understand cats doing it unnoticed, cats are quiet, lithe, soft-on-landing, wraiths. But a dog? No. Dogs scrabble, pant, knock things over, call attention to themselves in general.

Still, I thought I’d offer some of the nominees and recipients. So here are a few of the stories…

‘Rock’ of Minnesota:

It seems Rock, since the beginning of his life four years ago, eats anything not nailed down. The list of ingested items is impressive; chicken carcass, one-a-day vitamins, homemade cashew brittle, peppermint bark, and a pound of packaged whole bean coffee, and 23 packages of instant breakfast powder.

‘Darci’ of Illinois:

Darci, a two-year old Westie, tends to take umbrage at noisy appliances such as vacuums, the lawn mower, etc. Her response is to charge and snap at them. It’s right about here I’d be seriously correcting the dog for doing this, but apparently these owners did not find a correction that was believed. Darci’s male owner was cutting a fallen limb in his backyard and Darci attacked the chainsaw as it was running. This resulted in surgery and 4 stitches to her upper lip. Lucky dog.

‘Ranger’ of Arizona:

I’m having a hard time with this one as I lay it at the feet of the owner. Her statement, “He charged down there like his usual maniac self and ran into the cow’s back legs at full speed…”, pretty much sums up for me the reason that people going for their herding certificates should not do it. The attitude and behavior of the dog approaching stock like this is a mind-set that is all wrong. Be that as it may, it seems that after knocking the back legs out from under the cow, the only place the bovine had to go was down. And the cow ended up on Ranger. He suffered a sprain.

‘Chico’ of Illinois:

This one’s legit and the dog is lucky. His owner was lucky. Chico, on-leash, and owner were outside for a bathroom break when a Great Horned owl swooped down and grabbed the poor chihuahua. The owl could not leave with the dog as it was on-leash and the owner had the other end. A tug-of-war ensued with the owner finally winning. Chico suffered one small puncture wound and recovered nicely. VERY lucky dog.

‘Sadie’ of Florida:

An owner who lets her dog investigate anything, anytime, anywhere at the end of an retractable leash (one of the worst things for dogs under the age of 14, in my opinion.) Sadie is allowed to poke her nose into everything on her evening walks. She poked it into a bush and came out with a 20+ pound otter hanging off of it. The otter was not in the mood to let go. The owner had to hit it with the handle of the leash to dislodge it. Sadie made it through with little injury, but has gone on to get her head stuck down a gopher hole in pursuit of a gopher—who was IN the hole at the time.

For the most part, I think we should give out the Darwin Awards for Pet Owners.

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