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Pug who ate, pooped 100 rocks is contest front-runner

If pooping out rocks was a skill, a pug from Rhode Island would be the most talented dog in the country.

Instead, Harley the pug will have to settle for a potential “Hambone Award,’’ given out annually by Veterinary Pet Insurance. Each year since 2009, the company has nominated the 12 most unusual and outrageous pet insurance claims that it receives out of tens of thousands. The award is named after a dog that was stuck in a refrigerator and chowed through an entire Thanksgiving ham before being found.

The good news is, all nominees made full recoveries and received their insurance money for eligible expenses. The public can vote on their favorite story here, through Sept. 20.

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    Awkward Family Pet Photos

    The creators of the successful blog "Awkward Family Photos" received so many uncomfortable photos of owners and their pets that they've created a new venture. Here's a selection of the hilariously awkward photos.

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    Awkward Family Pet Photos -

    The creators of the successful blog "Awkward Family Photos" received so many uncomfortable photos of owners and their pets that they've created a new venture. Here's a selection of the hilariously awkward photos.

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    BYOLWD -

    Don’t even bother showing up to a dinner party at this family’s house without a little white dog.

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    Chicken Little -

    The only real chicken is the guy who doesn’t love one.

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    Best in show -

    The cat is thinking of entering him into some more shows.

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    Snakes on a family -

    Dad thought a cat or dog wouldn’t be good with kids.

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    Birdman -

    Gary felt that the parrot was overdressed.

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    Cat’s out of the pocket -

    Even on the farm, you must accessorize.

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    Color me bad -

    The dogs preferred the black & whites.

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    Cat’s eye -

    It’s one thing to cross a black cat’s path, but try upstaging it.

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    Curious george -

    This father didn’t want to admit it, but he had his favorite.

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    LOL cats -

    Cat casual.

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    Nativity -

    He’s the understudy.

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    Me and my skunk -

    A pony isn’t looking so crazy anymore, is it mom?

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    Pet-A-Likes -

    There is a theory that people look like their pets. For AFPP, it’s not a theory.

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    Baaaaaaa! -

    There is a goat in the living room.

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    Cougartown -

    “This was my brother and me in a crib that our dad had built, along with Sadie the cougar. We were modeling for his furniture, but who knows whether or not this confusing pic gave credit to his woodworking skills.”

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    Armed and Dangerous -

    He says parrot, she says rifle equipped with scope and bowie knife bayonet. Check out more Awkward Family Photos

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The clubhouse leader this year is Harley, who ate more than 100 rocks and then pooped them out to the horror and astonishment of his owner, Lori Laverdiere of Manville, Rhode Island. Harley’s competition includes a terrier that bit a chainsaw while it was running, a Chihuahua that was snatched by a great horned owl in the middle of the night, and an English mastiff that was kicked by a mule.

But even among that distinguished company, Harley’s story has captivated Hambone Award voters on VPI’s website. While on a walk with his owner one day, Harley started pooping out rocks like he was Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of bread crumbs. Harley soon became ill, unable to eat or drink without vomiting. So Laverdiere rushed him to an emergency animal hospital, where X-rays revealed his stomach and intestines were jammed with more than 100 rocks. After taking some medication, Harley passed the small stones without needing surgery.

“I wasn’t aware of how many rocks Harley had ingested until I saw the X-ray,’’ Laverdiere told VPI. “We’re not talking about one or two rocks. Harley’s stomach was half full and his intestines were jam-packed. According to the emergency vet, Harley had consumed more than 100 rocks. He had never seen anything like it.”

Nipping at Harley's heels in the race is the January nominee — Chico, a 3-year-old Chihuahua from Crystal Lake, Ill., who became ensnared in the talons of a great horned owl when owner George Kalomiris took him for a walk at 1:30 a.m.

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    Courtesy of Mary Cappello

    'Swallow': A curious look at the ingestion of foreign bodies

    In her compelling new book, award-winning author Mary Cappello explores the story of Chevalier Jackson, a pioneering laryngologist who specialized in the extraction of swallowed items.

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    Down the hatch -

    In “Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them,” award-winning author Mary Cappello sheds light on the curious practice of Dr. Chevalier Jackson, a pioneering laryngologist who specialized in the delicate, nonsurgical extraction of foreign bodies that were swallowed or inhaled. Decades later, the items Jackson and his colleagues managed to retrieve from the throats of their patients still have the power to astonish. How could anyone swallow these things?

    An X-ray of the case of E.R.S., age 4, a pair of toy opera glasses stuck in the esophagus. Radiologist, Dr. Willis F. Manges (1876-1936). From the Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Things swallowed or inhaled -

    The cabinet of drawers containing the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection of things swallowed or inhaled, in Philadelphia's Mutter Museum. From the collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    A particularly appealing allure -

    Photographer Rosamond Purcell's detail of some of the foreign bodies that have a particularly appealing allure -- including a "Perfect Attendance" pin, and another that reads "B-A-2-Way Looker says Care-Fu-Lee." © Rosamond Purcell, 2009.

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    Dr. Chevalier Jackson -

    The intrepid Dr. Jackson, surrounded by framed displays of "intestinal foreign bodies" (swallowed objects).

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    Studying a foreign body -

    The doctor examines one of his finds. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    The tools for the task -

    Part of an action exhibit mounted at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute in 1938 that featured a breathing mannequin complete with inserted bronchoscope through which museum goers could view and grasp with forceps and inspirated nail. Top to bottom: distal light, bronchoscope, forceps, foreign bodies. The Historical and Interpretive Collection of the Franklin Institute, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.

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    A stuck collar button -

    Chevalier Jackson chalk/pastel drawing of a collar button stuck in the esophagus. From the Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Extracting a thumb tack -

    The problem of the thumb tack as illustrated and explained in Chevalier Jackson's "New Mechanical Problems in the Bronchoscopic Extraction of Foreign Bodies from the Lungs and Esophagus," Transactions of the American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otolaryngological Socity, volume 27, 1921. Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson University, Archives and Special Collections.

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    The Bronchoscopic Rosary -

    A chain of safety pins representative of the range of prototypes a person might swallow or inhale. Chevalier Jackson Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution.

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    Into the mouths of babes -

    A baby's face, bronchoscopically framed, nibbles on a piece of toast, surrounded by a sea of all the possible bits of the object world she might, if un-checked, swallow or inhale. The cover for an article by Chevaliaer Jackson that appeared in Hygeia (December 1923), reprinted 1937, in the Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    How do you get a child to open her mouth? -

    An excerpt from Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medecine Division, National Library of Medecine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    A daunting case -

    An X-ray revealing case # 1071, which Jackson unsurprisingly described as his most difficult case.

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    Foreign bodies -

    Panels of foreign bodies containing case #1071 from the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection in the Mutter Museum. © Rosamund W. Purcell, 2009.

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    From out of a single infant -

    A display of multiple foreign bodies removed from the body of an infant, case #1173, drawer 133, of the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection. Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Mouthfuls of menace -

    An elaborate array of safety pins and other objects retrieved by Dr. Jackson. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Mondern Manuscripts Collections, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    Lived to tell -

    As a 9-month-old, little Joseph B. swallowed a selection of safety pins. This photograph was sent to Dr. Jackson as both a thank-you note and evidence of the pioneering laryngologist's abilities. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    Joseph B's predicament -

    An X-ray of one of Dr. Jackson's patients. Radiographer, Dr. Willis F. Manges (1876-1936). From the Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    "The Stomach Contents Display" -

    One of the most talked-about items at the Glore Psychiatic Museum, this horrifying assortment of needles, pins, nails, buttons and other foreign objects was removed from a single patient. The St. Joseph Museums, Inc./Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri.

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    Needles and pins -

    A selection of pins and needless extracted from the body of a "young hysterical female" by Thomas Dent Mutter sometime in the late 1840s, mounted on isinglass. Collection of the Mutter Musem, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    For seeing down the throat -

    An array of scopes from Jackson's instrumentarium with accompanying distal lights. Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Say 'Ahhhhhhh' -

    Dan Meyer, sword swallower par excellence and executive director of Sword Swallower's Association International, mid-act and in X-ray. Used by permission of Dan Meyer, Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI).

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    Grasping a button -

    Solving the mechanical problems associated with retrieval of collar buttons in the upper torso as it appears in Chevalier Jackson's "New Mechanical Problems in the Bronchoscopic Extraction of Foreign Bodies from the Lungs and Esophagus," Transactions of the American Laryngological, Rhinological, Otolaryngological Society 27 (1921). Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson University, Archives and Special Conditions.

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    The scourge of lye -

    Children treated for ingestion of lye in the medical ampitheater of one of Jackson's clinics. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292. Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    Another satisfied patient -

    Margaret Derryberry about the age she was when she accidentally inhaled a hatpin, which Jackson removed from her bronchus. Margaret went in search of her pin in the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection in 2007, having suffered the accident when she was an 8-year-old in 1931. For years, Margaret's mother kept a subsitute pin in the lining of her purse, which she periodically brought out to show people what her daughter had survived. Photo courtesy of Margaret Derryberry and her daughter, Peggy Derryberry Gould.

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Chico was secured to a leash when the owl snatched him, so it soon became a tug of war between Kalomiris and the large bird — with Chico in the middle. Eye-to-eye with the owl, Kalomiris fought it off as it dragged Chico through the snow. Chico suffered a small puncture wound on his right foreleg in the battle with the bird, which had a five-foot wingspan.

Other nominees from this year include a golden retriever that was bit on the nose by a snapping turtle, a dachshund that was attacked by a seagull, and another golden retriever that had a 25-pound otter clamp down on its nose.

Previous winners include Ellie, a labrador that ate a beehive, and Lulu, an English bulldog that scarfed down 15 baby pacifiers.

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