Curtis, a Boxer from Princeton, W. Va., has won the 2015 Hambone Award, which honors the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year. Curtis earned the nomination after he swallowed a wooden barbeque skewer, which disappeared in his body and, more than a year later, almost ended his life. The 7th annual Hambone Award is presented by Nationwide, the nation's first and largest provider of pet health insurance. Nationwide selected 12 nominees for the most unusual claim of the year, then opened voting to the public at to decide the winner. Curtis received the most votes.

The skewer and the large mass it had caused were removed during a lifesaving surgery performed by the veterinary team at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine where Curtis was treated. The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine will receive a $10,000 Nationwide-funded award through the Veterinary Care Foundation (VCF) for their outstanding work. The money will be used to treat pets whose owners could otherwise not afford treatment. The VCF uses 100% of all donations to treat pets, with no contributions used for administration, fundraising or overhead.

"Curtis is such a sweet and loving dog, it was hard to watch him struggle for so long," said Valerie Mould, the dog's owner. "I'm just happy it's all over, and grateful that we had Nationwide. Not having to worry about the veterinary expenses took a huge burden off our decision making. We were able to commit to getting him the medical help he needed, without thinking twice."

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Trudy Knockless

Trudy Knockless is a reporter on ALM Media's Business of Law desk.  She has a background serving legal and insurance publications. Contact her at [email protected] or on LinkedIn at Trudy Knockless.