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Living in the Boulder, Colorado foothills, Marjorie McCurtain and David Clifton are accustomed to seeing deer and other wildlife near their home. It wasn’t until their one-year-old puppy, McQuire, escaped their yard and was rolled over by a buck that they realized the potential dangers the surrounding wildlife could present to their courageous, but overconfident canine. The deer dustup resulted in a trip to the veterinarian, subsequently earning McQuire the title of April’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).
“We have a power gate and McQuire managed to escape our yard just as it was closing,” explained Marjorie. “We immediately went after him and found him four blocks down the road toe-to-toe with a 15-point buck.”
Seemingly not intimidated by the large deer, McQuire barked loudly at the buck. After squaring off for a few minutes, the buck knocked McQuire to the ground and rolled him over three times, causing Marjorie to command her dog to come toward her, which he did immediately. Marjorie then grabbed McQuire by the leash and rushed him home.
Although McQuire seemed to be behaving normally once they arrived back home, Marjorie was concerned the incident may have caused internal injuries, so she took him to the veterinarian. During the examination, the veterinarian was shocked to find that other than very minor physical injuries, McQuire escaped the tussle with little more than a bruised ego. The veterinarian also advised Marjorie on the dangers of dogs dishing it out with deer.
“Our veterinarian told us that McQuire was lucky he approached a buck and not a female deer,” said Marjorie. “He said that a doe would have attempted to severely injure him to protect her young.”
A Wheaten terrier and Lhasa apso mix, McQuire’s genetics have made him an extremely protective pooch. Marjorie explains, “Lhasa apsos were bred in the Buddhist monasteries of Tibet and warned the monks if intruders were approaching. McQuire has that protective trait in his DNA and even though the buck wasn’t threatening, McQuire still felt it was his duty to protect us.”
“Pet owners should do their best to protect their pets from dangerous wildlife,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Marjorie took the right steps by teaching McQuire voice commands and keeping him on a leash. Without those precautions, McQuire’s incident with the buck could have ended tragically.”
Unsure if purchasing pet insurance was the right decision for her at the time, after taking McQuire to the veterinarian for illnesses ranging from kennel cough to allergic reactions, Marjorie recognizes the money she’s saved on veterinary bills.
“I don’t know what we would have done without VPI Pet Insurance,” explained Marjorie. “McQuire is a very high-maintenance puppy, and it seems we’re always at the veterinarian. Fortunately, VPI has been able to help with the costs of maintaining his health.”