Summer 2023

When “having a ball” is no fun for anyone

When Rocket swallowed his brother’s tennis ball, Alex and Stephanie came to his rescue.

Sometimes the best connections come from unexpected places. Take, for example, the bond Rocket has with his pet parents, Alex and Stephanie.

From foster dog to forever friend

Both Alex and Stephanie grew up around smaller dogs—pugs and chihuahuas mostly. They had plans to adopt a Boston terrier puppy and decided that fostering for a local rescue in the meantime was a natural fit.

“I [looked around] for organizations that would be around my area that I could help out,” Stephanie says. “I was supposed to get two little golden retrievers, but they ended up [getting adopted]—and then Rocket was available.”

Initially, the couple brought Rocket into their home as a temporary foster. A terrier mix, he was a bit bigger than they were accustomed to, but it didn’t take long for them to build a bond with one another.

“We got attached,” Alex confesses.

Portrait of Alex, Stephanie and Rocket

A foster no longer, Rocket settled into life with his new forever family.

A surprising discovery

Rocket quickly became a cherished member of Alex and Stephanie’s home. He came with a unique personality that was punctuated with some equally unique quirks. He also wasn’t responding to early attempts at training.

Stephanie says, “We were trying to teach him some commands verbally, [calling] for him to come but he wouldn't come.”

At first, they chalked the experience up to Rocket’s laid-back demeanor. However, the more time they spent together, the more Alex and Stephanie suspected something else was going on. They took him to an animal audiologist.

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

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

Newly aware of Rocket’s disability, the couple changed his training program. They soon realized just how willing to learn he really was.

Stephanie teaches Rocket to shake paws

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

But even the smartest dog will sometimes get themselves into trouble—as Alex and Stephanie soon discovered.

The tennis ball incident

Soon after Rocket was officially adopted, his new brother Buddy arrived. Rocket liked to play with Buddy and his favorite tennis ball, which was size-appropriate for Buddy's small, Boston terrier mouth.

Neither Alex nor Stephanie was present when Rocket took things too far—and swallowed the ball whole.

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

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

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

The couple assumed that Rocket wasn’t feeling well or that maybe he’d eaten something that didn’t agree with him. To be safe, they brought him to the nearest veterinary hospital for a checkup.

“Once [Rocket] got to the vet, they confirmed a round, ball-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.”

X-ray image of the tennis ball inside Rocket

The road to recovery

“We were pretty surprised. I mean for him to be so young and then to have that kind of surgery,” Alex recalls.

Once the ball was removed, Rocket required several weeks of bed rest to recover. The whole time Rocket wanted to play.

“That's all he wants to do 24/7. He [wants] to play,” Stephanie says.

Rocket drops a ball at Alex's feet hoping for play time

Though Alex and Stephanie worried at times that he was overdoing it, Rocket eventually made a full recovery. Now, he’s back to chasing tennis balls like nothing happened—though no more Buddy-sized ones. 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.”

Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet
Add-a-pet

Take advantage of your multi-pet discount when you add a pet to your policy. When covering two or three pets, you can receive a 5% discount. When covering four or more pets, you'll save 10% on your base premium. Visit the member portal to add a pet. 

Enroll a new pet

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