Dogs who were trapped in grain silo for 21 days win Hambone Award

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Two German shepherds from Washington will receive a national award from an insurance company after they survived being trapped in a grain silo for 21 days.

Nationwide Insurance offers the Hambone Award to the most unusual insurance claim they receive during a given year.

This year's recipients are named Zeus and Ziva and are owned by Jessica Donges of Medical Lake, Washington.

The dogs became emaciated after they entered a grain silo and couldn't get out for three weeks.

Nationwide spoke with the dog's owner Jessica Donges, who gave this account of what happened:

“It was going on day 21 of them being missing,” said Jessica. “I had exhausted all means of searching and decided to retrace all my steps again. I went to re-explore the abandoned missile silo located 200 yards behind our backyard again."

"Walking slowly along private property that was fenced off, Jessica came across a hole in the fence and proceeded to enter the field through the opening. Unsure of what to expect, but looking for some sort of closure, Jessica walked into the silo very slowly, keeping her eyes and ears open for anything.

"After a few minutes, she came across a garage door opened knee-high and heard barking. Hesitant to lift the door because she was unsure of what dogs were on the other side, she used her mobile phone flashlight to look under the opening. Jessica heaved the roll-up door open only to find complete darkness. Hearing familiar barking to her right, Jessica turned and found a hole, roughly 10 feet deep by 40 feet long. Inside were her exhausted pups, Ziva and Zeus.

"They were standing in this huge hole filled with about 6 inches of water,” said Jessica. “I knew I could not lift them out of the hole alone without injuring them, so I called 9-1-1."

"Minutes later the local police and firefighters showed up to help get Ziva and Zeus out of the hole. Immediately after the dogs were lifted out, they started running around excitedly, wanting to play."

The Spokesman-Review says Ziva lost more than 20 pounds, was treated for a gash on her leg and given medication for anxiety. Zeus lost 30 pounds and was treated for Giardia and liver issues. The two German shepherds have made a full recovery.