Brooklyn Spaniel Survives Breathtaking Battle with Potato Chip Bag

For 10 years, Freckles the Cocker Spaniel and her infectious personality have brought happiness to Sue Bozzi and her family in Brooklyn, N.Y. Freckles is a strong-willed pup with an eager palate, who has been known to go to extraordinary lengths for a treat, including the time she dug through a foot of snow for a piece of food. However, her determination nearly caused her demise when she passed out from oxygen deprivation after getting her head stuck in a potato chip bag. Freckles’ breathtaking brunch and miraculous comeback have earned her the title of July’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide,  the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.

On the night of the asphyxiation, Sue was set to attend a dinner with a friend. Sue’s daughter Christina was staying home with Freckles and planned to watch a movie while her mother was out.

Freckles Collage 1

“I had gone outside to wait for my friend, but came back inside after just a few minutes,” said Sue. “When I opened the door, I noticed that my daughter had dozed off during her movie and I could see the dog lying under the table. I thought it was strange that Freckles didn’t meet me at the door, so I tried calling her name, but I got no response.”

While Sue’s daughter napped, Freckles had noticed a potato chip bag on the counter and seized her opportunity. She jumped up, snatched the bag and chowed away. In her pursuit to get every last crumb, Freckles forced her head deep inside the bag, which became stuck and stopped her supply of oxygen. Unaware of the danger, Freckles continued her steadfast pursuit of the chips until it was too late and she lost consciousness.

As Sue investigated the situation, she recognized that Freckles was in trouble and rushed to remove the bag, but Freckles was completely unresponsive. She screamed to her daughter for help and immediately contacted her son Robert, who lives next door.

Freckles Collage 2

“Everything was so surreal, I couldn’t believe what was happening,” said Sue. “Robert is a police officer and knows the city like the back of his hand, so I hoped he could help. He said he knew of an emergency animal hospital so we ran to the car and took off.”

As the family rushed Freckles to Blue Pearl Animal Veterinary Partners of Brooklyn, Sue attempted to resuscitate her. Freckles then lost control of her bowels and she appeared to be gone, but the family never gave up. They continued their journey and Sue continued her efforts, and just as they pulled up to the hospital, Freckles took a breath, but she wasn’t in the clear yet.

“The veterinarians told us that that she was alive, but that she may have brain damage,” said Sue. “They informed us that her organs had started shutting down because of the length of time she was unconscious. My daughter was blaming herself, but we re-assured her that accidents happen and that we were all in this together. All we could do was hope.”

Freckles needed a plasma transfusion and was kept overnight for treatment and observation. The family returned the next morning, unsure what to expect. They were met by the head veterinarian who had miraculous news. Freckles had fought her way back and showed no signs of brain damage.


Today, Freckles is back to her loving ways and the family couldn’t be happier to have their fur baby back. Sue is grateful for the incredible veterinary care Freckles received and for the support from Nationwide.

“The veterinarians were amazing. Without their thorough work and dedication, Freckles would have been lost,” said Sue. “I signed Freckles up for pet insurance from Nationwide when she was just a few months old, because you never know what can happen, and I’m glad I did. Freckles has always been accident prone and Nationwide has helped out significantly with the costs. I recommend pet insurance to everyone I know. It’s something that pet owners shouldn’t be without.”

Pet Health Spotlight

 Simple first aid measures can help save your pet:
  • Stay calm
  • Focus on your pet
  • Handle with care
  • Contact your veterinarian
Learn how to easily put together a well-stocked pet first aid kit here.

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