Sandra Coe almost canceled her pet insurance. Boy, is she glad she didn’t.
“I didn’t think we would ever use it and we were watching our budget,” Coe said. "In hindsight I’m really glad that we kept it."
Her reason for using the insurance: a Labrador retriever who made a beehive into a dog’s dinner.
The family had found the hive on the side of their house in April and called a pest control company to spray it. The company told Coe to leave the hive alone for two days before cleaning it up.
Apparently Ellie, the Coe family's lab, didn’t get the memo.
“During that period Ellie had made her way over and pretty much consumed the whole thing in a few gulps,” Coe said.
Later that night Coe, who lives in Santee, noticed that Ellie was throwing up. When she looked closely, and saw the bees, she knew exactly what had happened.
“I was really nervous because she threw up three or four times and I knew that a poison had been used to kill the bees and I was really worried it was going to hurt her or kill her,” Coe said.
Her son had saved his money to buy Ellie. The family had her for a year. Panic set in.
“We had lost other pets in the past and I just didn’t want to see my son go through losing another pet, so I was really scared,” Coe said. “My husband was at work, so I was calling him and I was calling everybody and asking what I should do.”
She asked her mother-in-law to take Ellie to the vet.
“I stayed home with the kids and waited to hear and luckily she turned out fine. She got a shot and she ended up coming home that night and now we have a story to tell,” Coe said.
A story that earned Ellie a new title on Thursday: The most unusual health insurance claim in 2010.
She won the votes of the public, despite some tough national competition.
“We had a dog that bit a chainsaw that was running, we had a dog that was run over by a golf cart and we had a dog that was stung by a Portuguese man of war,” said Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. spokesperson Darren Shannon.
Her prize? A bronze trophy in the shape of a ham – about as edible as a beehive full of bees.