“My son wanted a dog, because all his friends had dogs,” Nationwide pet insurance member Nahla I. remembers. “He wanted his own dog.”
An only child, her 12-year-old-son wanted a companion, but adopting a dog wasn’t an easy decision for her family. Nahla grew up with a fear of dogs, but she resolved to overcome that discomfort for her son. She started researching the ideal dog for her family and their lifestyle.
Based on what she’d learned, Nahla set out in search of the right match for her family—and quickly found Rex. Next, there was still the process of overcoming her fear of dogs. Luckily, Rex’s personality and his smarts quickly won Nahla over from the get-go.
“From the first moment I saw [Rex], I liked him,” she remembers. "I took him in my hands and that was it—all the fear was gone. The first moment I met Rex, it was a joy.”
Eight years since that fortuitous day, Rex has become a beloved part of the family. Nahla was immediately impressed by his perceptiveness and ability to learn.
“He’s very smart,” she says. “We speak two languages at home, and he understands both. If I talk to him in English, he will interact with what I’m saying. If I talk to him in Arabic, our second language, he also understands.”
More than anything, Rex proved to be a friendly and sociable member of the family.
“He likes to play around, sit in our lap … if we’re not home and we come home, it’s like a feast for him every time. He enjoys any visitor—if any friends come over or any family member, it’s like a celebration for him.”
Rex’s social nature makes him a hit at family parties. However, at one such event, he bit off more than he could chew.
A bone of contention
“We were at a graduation party,” Nahla recalls. “There were many people there—many kids and there was food.”
The host of the party had provided a celebratory feast for their guests, including a delicious whole chicken.
Nahla continues, “Maybe one of the kids gave him chicken with the bone [in it]…. We didn’t notice anything bad happening to him. We went home and everything was fine.”
No one in the family suspected anything was out of sorts when they got home. But the next morning, Rex was acting out of character during his walk.
“He was very lazy,” Nahla remembers. “He seemed very sick and when my son saw him, he said, ‘We should take him to the emergency vet.’”
The family rushed Rex to a nearby care facility. The veterinarian ran tests in search of a clue to what was afflicting Rex. He also received X-rays and blood work, which didn’t turn up any clear results.
After a few days and several more attempts at treatment, Rex was still clearly in pain. Around this time, he stopped eating. Nahla and her family grew increasingly concerned.
After three days of close observation, Nahla’s son noticed something odd when Rex tried to eat. He would chew his food, but he simply couldn’t swallow it. They brought him back to the veterinarian with this new knowledge, and the vet felt around his neck and mouth—and finally discovered the wishbone.
Unfortunately for Rex, removing the obstruction was no easy matter. The wishbone was stuck in a sensitive area in his throat, and he would require surgery to get it out. MSU Veterinary Medical Center was an hour away but had the earliest availability to help Rex.
“At 2:00 a.m., my son took him [from Ann Arbor, Michigan] to Michigan State University in Lansing … and [Rex] was scheduled for the surgery. My son spent the whole night with him in the hospital. The next morning, they [sedated him] to take this bone out. By 11:00 a.m., he came back home.”
Once the bone was removed, Rex was quick to recover—and within a few days he was back to his normal self.
How Nationwide helped
Something as simple as a swallowed bone required hospitalization, emergency treatment, several costly tests and procedures before Rex was on the road to recovery. Fortunately, Nahla and her family had Nationwide pet insurance to help manage the cost.
“It’s very costly to have a pet when he needs vet care or emergency surgery—sometimes it’s not affordable” she says. “[Pet insurance] was very helpful, and we are very thankful for having Nationwide for our pet.”
Want to read more of the strangest, most hair-raising pet insurance claims from our pet parents? Read more about our Hambone Award nominees at HamboneAward.com.