Insurers Give a Hoot About Battered Chihuahua

At stake: bronze hambone

By Hannah Chanpong
|  Thursday, Feb 10, 2011  |  Updated 12:59 PM CDT
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Insurers Give a Hoot About Battered Chihuahua

George Kalomiris

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Remember the Crystal Lake chihuahua that survived an attack by a Great Horned Owl last month? He's getting some well-deserved recognition.

Chico is in the running for the Hambone Award, bestowed annually by Veterinary Pet Insurance on a fuzzy friend with the most "unusual" insurance claim.

The 3-year-old pup's claim, filed with the company by the Kalomiris family, beat out more than 80,000 competitors for the nomination.

"We've never seen anything like that," said Darren Shannon, public relations specialist for Veterinary Pet Insurance. "It really takes the cake."

And the competition was stiff: a Labrador retriever that ate a marijuana cookie, a Golden retriever that swallowed a 5-inch barbecue skewer and a Boston terrier that collided with a skier, among others. Veterinary Pet Insurance employees choose a winner every month that advances to the Hambone contest, according to a press release on the company's website.

The Hambone Award is named for a dog that ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while stuck in a refrigerator. The dog -- and all of the pets considered for the award -- made a full recovery, the release says.

Chico suffered only bruises and scratches during the owl attack thanks to a doggie coat. According to George Kalomiris, the Great Horned Owl swooped down and tried to snatch the dog off the ground while Chico and Kalomiris were on a walk. Chico's wounds are healing already, the release says.

Shannon says this is the first time that the public will choose the most unusual claim -- you can vote for Chico or the other nominees in September. If he wins, Chico will receive a bronze, hambone-shaped trophy.

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