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California Border Collie Tangles with Trailer Hitch

“There’s a lady up here that runs an awesome herding dog rescue,” says Sarah Smith, resident of Arroyo Grande, CA and pet parent to Tippy—an exuberant border collie mix with a winning personality. “My husband went out and met her, then came home with Tippy a couple days later. She was about 5 months old at that point.”

The Smiths weren’t the only ones who were ecstatic about the new addition to the family. “We dog-sit for my sister couple times a week, and Tippy and her dog are super competitive,” says Sarah. “Anytime I throw something, it’s like an all-out sprint for it when they’re together.”

One fateful day, Sarah was tossing a ball around in the yard to keep the pups entertained. Unfortunately, a burst of speed and poorly-placed hazard led to a frightening experience.

Tippy Border Collie Lab Dog

“Tippy is a real athletic dog… a border collie lab mix, so she’s really agile and usually aware of her surroundings. I didn’t think she would hit the trailer hitch,” Sarah recalls.

Sadly, Tippy barreled into a steel hitch at full speed. Sarah rushed her to the emergency vet, where she was treated for cuts and abrasions on her snout and under her eye. Tippy received two stiches to mend the wounds near her snout. Thankfully, she had no damage to her eyes. “I felt horrible, I normally don’t throw the ball towards the trailer for this reason.”

“Fetch can be a great tool for socialization and exercise for dogs,” according to Dr. Carol McConnell, , DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “However, it can lead to unexpected injuries during fun games like this.”

Tippy Border Collie Lab Dog

Fortunately, Sarah and Tippy were covered by Nationwide pet insurance. Tippy received stellar treatment from Central Coast Pet Emergency Clinic, and Sarah was only responsible for a small portion of the bill.

“[Tippy] is like a third child for me, and we just never want to be in a place where we would have to make a hard decision if it was going to be extremely expensive,” says Sarah. “Just having that reassurance that we aren’t going to get stuck with some huge vet bill is amazing, it’s peace of mind.”

Tippy made a complete recovery and is doing great now. When it comes to advice for pet owners, Sarah cautions owners to keep an eye out: “Be aware. It doesn’t take much for them to get hurt—it just takes one split second.”

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