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As Marlene Flint of Laughlintown, Pa., went outside with her 8-year-old dachshund, Max, she was suddenly faced with a terrifying sight. Eighteen-pound Max was viciously attacked by a black bear who picked up the diminutive dachshund twice before Marlene and her husband were able to save their pooch.
The incident led to a trip to the emergency animal hospital where Max received life-saving treatment, earning him the title of March’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).
“I went outside with Max while he went to the bathroom, and suddenly a black bear came out of nowhere and grabbed him,” explained Marlene. “The bear had Max in his mouth and dropped him. When Max fell to the ground, he lunged at the bear in an attempt to defend himself. That provoked the bear even more and he picked Max up again with his mouth. I was so scared that I grabbed a nearby snow shovel and hit the bear in the head until he released Max.”
Marlene’s husband rushed Max into the house to examine the injuries that were caused by the brawl. Max had wounds all over his body, so Marlene and her husband immediately took him to their animal hospital where Max was given pain medication so he would be able to endure the one hour drive to a veterinary emergency and specialty hospital.
“When we arrived at the veterinary emergency hospital, the veterinarian told us that Max’s chances of survival depended on the severity of his injuries,” said Marlene. “He was treated for multiple puncture wounds along his thorax, abdomen and back, and he remained hospitalized for several days. We feel extremely fortunate that Max received such excellent treatment and that he is now back home doing really well.”
Although Max was left with significant scars as a result of the bear attack, Marlene knows the incident could have ended on a much more tragic note. “We have lived in this area for more than 25 years and seen many bears cross through our property, but never in the middle of winter in deep snow,” she said. “At the time I didn’t realize how dangerous the situation was for my husband and I; we just wanted to protect Max.”
As a VPI Pet Insurance policyholder for nearly eight years, Marlene has received reimbursements for a variety of Max’s claims, ranging from an upset stomach to soft tissue trauma to an ear infection. Needless to say, she was particularly satisfied with her decision to purchase pet insurance given Max’s attack by a black bear.
“We were extremely thankful we have VPI when we found out the total cost of Max’s treatment,” said Marlene. “I can better understand the decision pet owners are faced with when they have an expensive veterinary bill and don’t have insurance to help with the costs.”