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The Amazing Story of Rooster – The Dog Impaled by a Tree Branch

A hound mix named Rooster from Scranton, Pennsylvania is the 2017 winner of the 9th annual Hambone…

  • November 3, 2017

A hound mix named Rooster from Scranton, Pennsylvania is the 2017 winner of the 9th annual Hambone Award, honoring the most unusual pet insurance claim of the year.

Rooster was nominated after he was impaled by a large tree branch during a routine hiking trip.

The Hambone Award is presented by Nationwide, a provider of pet health insurance.

Here is Rooster’s amazing story:

Eight years ago, Jen Hawker of Scranton, Pennsylvania, visited a local litter of puppies in need of a home and felt an instant connection with a tiny male mutt.

Jen took the hound mix home and named him Rooster. Since that fateful day, the duo has created an inseparable companionship that has helped serve as guidance through difficult times. But that relationship nearly came to an abrupt end when Rooster was brutally impaled by a large branch during a routine hike.

On the day of the foliage fiasco, Jen had taken her small pack of dogs on a day hike in lieu of her daily gym routine. The group included Rooster, Jen’s other dog Goose and a foster dog named Lulu.

The group was enjoying the mid-week seclusion on the access road trail. The lack of foot traffic allowed the dogs some off-leash freedom and gave Jen a chance to listen to her favorite podcast. The quartet was nearly done with their journey when then dogs noticed a vermin and sprinted down a small hill.

Suddenly, Jen heard a loud cry.

Thinking that Rooster may have fallen and severely broken his ribs, Jen tried to carry the ailing pup back to the car, but each attempt was met with severe cries of pain from Rooster.

It became apparent that Rooster was suffering from a serious injury and needed immediate medical attention. With Rooster unable to walk and Jen unable to carry him the remaining distance, the group was out of options.

“We were stuck and I had no other choice than to dial 9-1-1,” said Jen. “I wasn’t sure if they would use their resources for a dog, but the operator assured me she would call back when help was on the way.”

Within minutes an officer arrived to the trail in a large SUV. Jen flagged down the vehicle and out of the driver’s seat appeared the City of Jessup’s Chief of Police, Joseph Walsh, to provide assistance.

Wasting no time, Chief Walsh moved the SUV within 30 yards of the injured canine and attempted to help carry the dog using his vest as a makeshift stretcher, but Rooster was in too much pain.

With just a short distance to safety and options limited, Jen encouraged Rooster with a confident tone, and the brave dog walked the short distance to the car.

Chief Walsh drove the ailing hound to Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center of South Abington for treatment. Upon arrival, emergency veterinary staff quickly examined the injury and prepared to take Rooster for X-rays and testing.

One of the technicians pointed out an open wound on Rooster’s side and hinted that the large mass might be an impaled stick.

After an arduous wait, the staff returned with shocking news. Rooster had indeed been impaled by a large branch that stemmed over a foot long and had narrowly missed his lungs by less than an inch. The branch required a unique surgery that forced the staff to create an opening on the opposite side of the entrance wound for removal.

After the surgery, Rooster needed a couple of weeks for the wounds to heal and the soreness to wear off. Jen is relieved that Rooster survived the ordeal and is grateful for all parties involved that helped save her companion’s life.

As the 2017 Hambone Award winner, Rooster will receive the coveted bronze Hambone Award Trophy, as well as a Nationwide gift bag filled with toys, treats and various pet supplies.

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