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Around 2:30 a.m., first responders from the Winslow Township Fire Department in Sicklerville, NJ apologized to Keith Wolfram and his wife Christy – they had done everything they could. Refusing to give up, Christy grabbed a shovel and continued to search for their dachshund-terrier mix Peanut, who had become buried in the dirt beneath their deck after wrangling with a skunk. What started off as common quarrel evolved into a remarkable tale, earning Peanut the title of “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).
According to Keith, his dogs have had a number of disagreements with local wildlife. Peanut especially has been known to chase four-legged intruders through small openings beneath the deck in their backyard. This battle was unlike any other, however, and left Peanut buried alive in the dirt beneath their deck. After hours of searching, and several holes in Wolfram’s deck later, Christy hadn’t given up hope.
“When the firefighters saw Christy continue to dig, one of them decided to take a last look,” said Keith. “I remember him shouting, ‘I see her paw!’ and my heart just sank. By the time they got her out she was barely moving. I couldn’t believe she was alive.”
The firefighters administered oxygen to Peanut and advised Keith and Christy to get her to a veterinarian, fast. With Peanut barely breathing and reeking of skunk musk, the Wolfram’s rushed their companion to a 24-hour animal emergency facility. She was treated for hypothermia and kept under veterinary care for two days. After about a week and a half, Peanut made a full recovery – which was more than the Wolfram’s could say for their deck.
“As a dachshund-terrier mix, Peanut is a combination of two tenacious breeds that were created to hunt game by digging animals out of their burrows and dens,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “It’s important for pet owners to familiarize themselves with the natural tendencies of their pet’s breed in order to prepare for potential dangers that can occur as a result of their instinctual behaviors.”
According to Keith, Peanut has always been a high-energy pet with an affinity for digging, though he never thought her antics would lead to this kind of event. “Peanut has been nothing but trouble. I swear she’s a cat, with six lives left by our count,” joked Keith. “We got her as a rescue and she has proven to be the most expensive free dog ever, so we’re relieved to have a policy with VPI Pet Insurance. This way, we know we’ll recuperate at least some of what we spend.”