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Becca the Labrador's claim to fame: Eating the same sock twice

Those of you with strong stomachs and a sick sense of humor will enjoy "Dog's 'Snack' May Result in Award," a piece by the Denver Daily News' Gene Davis about Becca, a black lab who's a finalist for the first annual Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. Hambone Award, given to the pet who prompted the year's most unusual claim. According to VPI's site, the prize's name honors "a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to find him. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia."

Becca's case isn't quite as bizarre as that, but it's a lot grosser. Last year, Davis writes, Becca ate a sock belonging to her owner, Greenwood Village resident Kevin Koritza, and as a result, she "grew increasingly sicker and was 'splashing liquids out of both ends'" five days later. The situation seemed resolved when Becca puked up the sock while Koritza was at a store buying dog food meant to flush it from her system. But before he could return, she made a play for VPI infamy by (wait for it) eating the sock again, necessitating $2,500 worth of surgery. Fortunately, Becca came through fine, and since Koritza had pet insurance, his wallet survived, too.

Competition for the Hambone is stiff: Becca is facing off against Scooter the Siamese, who ate a needle that wound up poking into her brain, and Lulu the English bulldog, who gobbled up, according to her owner's account, "fifteen pacifiers, a bottle cap and piece of a basketball." So vote for her at the VPI Hambone Award website through September 14 -- and hold onto your socks.

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