Squirrel’s Fancy Footwork Sends Sheepdog Slamming into Wheelbarrow

Rider Sept 2008

The phrase “wild goose chase” typically refers to a hopeless mission destined to end in failure. For Rider, the Belgian sheepdog, the problem was a wild squirrel chase which became a reckless mission that ended in a wheelbarrow.

“It’s a decorative wheelbarrow filled with flowers next to a tree,” said Rider’s owner Joyce Biethan of Ridgefield, Wash. “The squirrel ran up the tree and I don’t know if Rider zigged when he was supposed to zag or what, but he ran right into the wheelbarrow at full speed. He broke his scapula and a rib, which punctured a lung. He was pretty miserable for a few weeks, but he’s getting better now. I wish I could give other pet owners some advice, but my dog chased a squirrel and ran into a wheelbarrow. How are you supposed to prevent that?”

Biethan’s claim for Rider’s wheelbarrow collision was one of more than 86,000 claims received in the month of September by Veterinary Pet Insurance, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance. Rider’s uncommon accident was considered along with other out of the ordinary claims submitted in September and selected by VPI as the most unusual of the bunch.

As the most unusual claim submitted in September, Biethan’s claim will be placed in the running for VPI’s first Hambone Award. Each month, VPI employees will nominate the most interesting claim and in July 2009 ask the public to vote for the most unusual claim of the year. The Hambone Award® is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to find him. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia.



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