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Terrier mix swallows a Hambone-worthy surprise

Meet Rocket, the beloved terrier mix of Alex and Stephanie’s family.

Alex and Stephanie initially brought Rocket into their home on a temporary basis.

“I [looked around] for organizations that would be around my area that I could help out by fostering,” Stephanie says. “Long story short, he was supposed to get adopted … we did a couple meet and greets, but those didn’t work out for Rocket. We just ended up keeping him.”

“We got attached,” Alex confesses.

The more time they spent together, the more they noticed his more unique quirks. After an odd experience with a trainer, they took him to a veterinary hearing specialist.

“He was confirmed that he was 100 percent deaf,” Stephanie recalls.

“We had a suspicion, right?” Alex adds.

With newfound knowledge of Rocket’s disability, they changed his training program—and realized just how eager to learn he was.

“Yeah, he’s really smart. He’s actually the smartest dog I’ve had,” Alex says.

But even the smartest dog will sometimes bite off more than they can chew. When Rocket ingested a whole tennis ball, it led to a surprise Hambone-nominated emergency trip to the vet.

What happened?

Neither Stephanie nor Alex was around when Rocket gulped down his brother Buddy’s tennis ball, which was size-appropriate for Buddy’s small, Boston terrier mouth.

The first signs that something was wrong came on slowly. “He was happy-go-lucky, but I did notice that he had some trouble like keeping his water down,” Stephanie remembers.

“We did notice that when we were playing with him with the ball he started getting fatigued,” Alex adds.

“But he wouldn’t stop playing,” Stephanie says.

The couple figured that Rocket had likely eaten something that wasn’t agreeing with him. Or, worse, something was stuck. To be safe, they took him to the nearest emergency vet.

“Once [Rocket] got to the vet, they confirmed like a round sized-something,” Alex says. “We didn’t really know what it was until they took it out. And then when it came out, it was a tennis ball.”

How Nationwide helped

Rocket needed pretty serious surgery to remove the ball. The recovery time was long—several weeks, the couple estimates—and the whole time Rocket wanted to play. Though Alex and Stephanie worried at times that he was overdoing it, Rocket eventually made a full recovery.

Fortunately, Nationwide was there to help Alex and Stephanie manage their costs.

“It gives you a sense of safety, you know?” Stephanie says. “That if something does happen to your dog, that you’ll be covered.”

She continues: “It does give you that safety net that it’s always in the back of your mind. Let’s say something happens to the dog, you don’t have the means for a $10,000 surgery … it does pay off.”

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