Puppy dies minutes into Swindon store grooming

This Is Wiltshire: Henry, the English bulldog Henry, the English bulldog

A FAMILY is devastated after their beloved pedigree bulldog collapsed and died suddenly during a grooming session at a pet store.

Henry, an 11-month-old English Bulldog puppy, was taken to Pets At Home, in Stratton, for a grooming session on Sunday. But just five minutes later his owners had a call from the store to say he had suffered a fit and died.

Graham Allison and his partner Rebecca Avenell are distraught by his untimely death as he was set to be the ringbearer when they married in May.

As yet there has been no formal explanation of why Henry died and Graham, a director at a security firm, said he is due to meet with representatives of the pet shop chain following an internal investigation.

But Graham, of Old Town, said he was told by store staff that groomers had cleaned Henry’s ears, brushed his teeth and sprayed a foam breath freshener in his mouth – which is what Graham believes may have caused him to fit.

“This has ripped our family apart,” the 40-year-old said.

“A lot of people will just say ‘oh it’s a dog’ but any pet owner will tell you they mean more than that – he was part of our family.

“My step-daughter Lauren dropped him off at Pets At Home at 3pm and then just five minutes later she got a call to say he was dead, with no explanation why.

“They said all they had done in that five minutes was his ears, teeth and sprayed this breath freshener chemical in his mouth.

“That is when he started fitting and foaming.

“We went in to speak to the manager and they asked us if we wanted a post-mortem but it’s bad enough as it is without cutting him open.

“Henry had never had any health problems and was the best puppy you could hope for. His mother and father were award-winning dogs and we picked him up from a reputable breeder in Mansfield.

“It isn’t about money but we paid £1,800 for him and he was Kennel Club registered.

“The worst thing is, we get married in May and Henry was supposed to bring the rings down the aisle.”

It is not the first time a pet has died in the care of groomers at Pets At Home – in Sheffield in 2010 a shih-tzu puppy died after staff put her in a drying cage following a routine hair cut.

Graham said he wants answers from the store and is meeting with management in the near future.

He said: “We had taken him to Pets At Home twice before for grooming and I’ve never heard of them spraying anything in their mouth before.

“I’ve been contacted by the manager, who wants to meet somewhere neutral.”

A Pets At Home spokesman aid Henry had undergone the same treatments as his previous two visits.

He said: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Henry and our thoughts are with his family.

“On this occasion, our groomer had only got as far as cleaning Henry’s ears and teeth when he suddenly collapsed.

“Henry was quickly attended to by the in-store veterinary team who were able to establish an airway but they were unable to save him.

“We would like to carry out a full investigation into Henry’s death and we urge his family to allow us to arrange a post-mortem and access to veterinary records.”

Comments (15)

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1:59pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Sashstaff says...

Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?!
Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?!

No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him.

Bizarre! RIP Henry
Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?! Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?! No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him. Bizarre! RIP Henry Sashstaff
  • Score: 1

2:06pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Davey Gravey says...

Unfortunately the breed is well known to have health issues. They are also one of the shortest lifespan dogs. Why was the dog left there anyway? It could have been distressed which may have brought the seizure on? I feel for the family as I'm sure they lived their dog but can't see how the grooming can be blamed.
Unfortunately the breed is well known to have health issues. They are also one of the shortest lifespan dogs. Why was the dog left there anyway? It could have been distressed which may have brought the seizure on? I feel for the family as I'm sure they lived their dog but can't see how the grooming can be blamed. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 2

2:45pm Wed 30 Jan 13

MissO says...

Oh come on people - this is not the first time this has happened at Pets @ Home and all the owners wanted was to give their beloved dog some pampering and cleaning. It was most likely the spray put in his mouth that caused the fit - he choked on his own vomit.

The owners must be devistated about this and I would be too.

I hope they get to the bottom of this and that Pets @ Home take action from this and either train staff fully or shut the groomers side of the business.
Oh come on people - this is not the first time this has happened at Pets @ Home and all the owners wanted was to give their beloved dog some pampering and cleaning. It was most likely the spray put in his mouth that caused the fit - he choked on his own vomit. The owners must be devistated about this and I would be too. I hope they get to the bottom of this and that Pets @ Home take action from this and either train staff fully or shut the groomers side of the business. MissO
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Wed 30 Jan 13

KarmaPets says...

Poor Henry. And of course the greatest of sympathy for his owners, who have clearly lost a beloved member of their family. Unfortunately being groomed is very stressful for a dog who is not used to it, and this can be made far worse being done in an unfamiliar environment, around unfamiliar people. Add to this that Bulldogs, like many pedigree breeds, often have a substantial amount of inbreeding in their history, which can lead to various health problems as commented on above. For such dogs, or elderly ones, using a reputable, fully qualified mobile groomer like ourselves who will work in your own home alleviates at lot of this stress. The environment is familiar, and there are familiar people around. Grooming parlours like the ones in Pets at Home serve a purpose and usually do an excellent, convenient job, but caution should be excersised about whether certain dogs are suited for that kind of experience. Without benefit of a post mortem it is impossible to know what happened to Henry, but it is easy to speculate that the stress of a journey, then being left in a strange place with nobody he knew may well have played a significant part in his demise. A lesson to be learned for us all perhaps! Such a shame it took Henry's life for it to be taught though...
Poor Henry. And of course the greatest of sympathy for his owners, who have clearly lost a beloved member of their family. Unfortunately being groomed is very stressful for a dog who is not used to it, and this can be made far worse being done in an unfamiliar environment, around unfamiliar people. Add to this that Bulldogs, like many pedigree breeds, often have a substantial amount of inbreeding in their history, which can lead to various health problems as commented on above. For such dogs, or elderly ones, using a reputable, fully qualified mobile groomer like ourselves who will work in your own home alleviates at lot of this stress. The environment is familiar, and there are familiar people around. Grooming parlours like the ones in Pets at Home serve a purpose and usually do an excellent, convenient job, but caution should be excersised about whether certain dogs are suited for that kind of experience. Without benefit of a post mortem it is impossible to know what happened to Henry, but it is easy to speculate that the stress of a journey, then being left in a strange place with nobody he knew may well have played a significant part in his demise. A lesson to be learned for us all perhaps! Such a shame it took Henry's life for it to be taught though... KarmaPets
  • Score: 1

5:50pm Wed 30 Jan 13

TinkeyWinkey says...

Sad but unless there is "real" proof the store was at fault then it's a bit unfair to lay the blame at their door.
Sad but unless there is "real" proof the store was at fault then it's a bit unfair to lay the blame at their door. TinkeyWinkey
  • Score: 1

9:25pm Wed 30 Jan 13

SpeakUp says...

TinkeyWinkey wrote:
Sad but unless there is "real" proof the store was at fault then it's a bit unfair to lay the blame at their door.
Absolutely - without evidence who is to say this wouldn't have happened anyway?

And KarmaPets, in my humble opinion, giving yourselves a free plug is pretty crass in this context. It's certainly put me off booking you, at least.
[quote][p][bold]TinkeyWinkey[/bold] wrote: Sad but unless there is "real" proof the store was at fault then it's a bit unfair to lay the blame at their door.[/p][/quote]Absolutely - without evidence who is to say this wouldn't have happened anyway? And KarmaPets, in my humble opinion, giving yourselves a free plug is pretty crass in this context. It's certainly put me off booking you, at least. SpeakUp
  • Score: 2

10:35pm Wed 30 Jan 13

REDROM says...

Sashstaff wrote:
Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?!
Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?!

No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him.

Bizarre! RIP Henry
What a heartless idiot you are. But he's a bulldog, originally bread to take bulls down. to many people go over the top with the pampering of dogs, if a dog has bad breath and stinks a bit that would be down to the diet. The dog passed away in the care of Pets@Home, so they should be liable, but no money will bring back your beloved pet. use a local groomers, where you can stay with your pet, like every corperate Pets@Home are there to keep the shareholders happy they dont give a monkeys about your pets. KarmaPets Thats shameless plugging on your part. Graham & Rebecca i hope you can put this behind you, all the best for the wedding.
[quote][p][bold]Sashstaff[/bold] wrote: Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?! Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?! No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him. Bizarre! RIP Henry[/p][/quote]What a heartless idiot you are. But he's a bulldog, originally bread to take bulls down. to many people go over the top with the pampering of dogs, if a dog has bad breath and stinks a bit that would be down to the diet. The dog passed away in the care of Pets@Home, so they should be liable, but no money will bring back your beloved pet. use a local groomers, where you can stay with your pet, like every corperate Pets@Home are there to keep the shareholders happy they dont give a monkeys about your pets. KarmaPets Thats shameless plugging on your part. Graham & Rebecca i hope you can put this behind you, all the best for the wedding. REDROM
  • Score: 1

7:37am Thu 31 Jan 13

PeeGee says...

Lots of speculation here, which I am about to add to. It's strange how a chemical spray should be used in the mouth of a breed which is renowned for its breathing difficulties. Wouldn't own one - expensive, short-lived and (ultimately) continuing the lineage of a breed which has to live in suffering due to respitory and mobility problems. None of that is this poor dog's fault though - RIP.
Lots of speculation here, which I am about to add to. It's strange how a chemical spray should be used in the mouth of a breed which is renowned for its breathing difficulties. Wouldn't own one - expensive, short-lived and (ultimately) continuing the lineage of a breed which has to live in suffering due to respitory and mobility problems. None of that is this poor dog's fault though - RIP. PeeGee
  • Score: 2

10:08am Thu 31 Jan 13

LW1986 says...

No one can definitly say it was Pets @ Home without a post mortem. Its very sad that the dog has died, but I think its a shame the family dont seem willing to have a post mortem - if the fault does lie with Pets @ Home then they need to know so that they are able to make changes.
I personally don't use the groomers at Pets @ Home after finding the staff there very rude. Also the groomer measured how much hair she would need to remove from my dog and was very rough with him. We left without making an appointment. We now use Barkers Barber and find it to be excellent. Plus our dog seems to enjoy going there.
Bit of an unfair assumption that people take there dogs to the groomers to get them to smell nice, or to pamper them. Taking my dog to a groomers is a necessity, he is long haired and needs to be cut a few times a year, especially in the summer.
I hope that the family decide to take the steps needed to know what happened to this little pup.
No one can definitly say it was Pets @ Home without a post mortem. Its very sad that the dog has died, but I think its a shame the family dont seem willing to have a post mortem - if the fault does lie with Pets @ Home then they need to know so that they are able to make changes. I personally don't use the groomers at Pets @ Home after finding the staff there very rude. Also the groomer measured how much hair she would need to remove from my dog and was very rough with him. We left without making an appointment. We now use Barkers Barber and find it to be excellent. Plus our dog seems to enjoy going there. Bit of an unfair assumption that people take there dogs to the groomers to get them to smell nice, or to pamper them. Taking my dog to a groomers is a necessity, he is long haired and needs to be cut a few times a year, especially in the summer. I hope that the family decide to take the steps needed to know what happened to this little pup. LW1986
  • Score: 1

11:36am Thu 31 Jan 13

Richard pike says...

Poor dog. However it's ridiculas to try and blame and shame the store this way without establishing the facts. It seems to me that the owners are just out to get all they can monetry wise.

They should have a mortem done on the dog and take the manager up on his offer and wait till all facts are known before they try and blacken Pets at Home's name in this way.

Bulldogs are renowned for having breathing problems due to inbreeding and their squashed faces. Dogs are not supposed to look as though their faces are squahed against a window. You will not see any wolves who look like that. Man has bred and bred these dogs and in my opinion ruined them.
Poor dog. However it's ridiculas to try and blame and shame the store this way without establishing the facts. It seems to me that the owners are just out to get all they can monetry wise. They should have a mortem done on the dog and take the manager up on his offer and wait till all facts are known before they try and blacken Pets at Home's name in this way. Bulldogs are renowned for having breathing problems due to inbreeding and their squashed faces. Dogs are not supposed to look as though their faces are squahed against a window. You will not see any wolves who look like that. Man has bred and bred these dogs and in my opinion ruined them. Richard pike
  • Score: -1

11:39am Thu 31 Jan 13

KarmaPets says...

SpeakUp wrote:
TinkeyWinkey wrote:
Sad but unless there is "real" proof the store was at fault then it's a bit unfair to lay the blame at their door.
Absolutely - without evidence who is to say this wouldn't have happened anyway?

And KarmaPets, in my humble opinion, giving yourselves a free plug is pretty crass in this context. It's certainly put me off booking you, at least.
I am sorry if you thought my intention was to give ourselves a 'free plug'. I can assure you nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately there are people who own pets without fully understanding the needs and requirements, or indeed risks. Whilst I am not suggesting for one moment that this is the case with Henry's family, my sole intention was to draw attention to the alternatives available, so that hopefully a similar situation could be avoided in the future. I wholeheartedly apologise if my comments came across in any other way.
[quote][p][bold]SpeakUp[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TinkeyWinkey[/bold] wrote: Sad but unless there is "real" proof the store was at fault then it's a bit unfair to lay the blame at their door.[/p][/quote]Absolutely - without evidence who is to say this wouldn't have happened anyway? And KarmaPets, in my humble opinion, giving yourselves a free plug is pretty crass in this context. It's certainly put me off booking you, at least.[/p][/quote]I am sorry if you thought my intention was to give ourselves a 'free plug'. I can assure you nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately there are people who own pets without fully understanding the needs and requirements, or indeed risks. Whilst I am not suggesting for one moment that this is the case with Henry's family, my sole intention was to draw attention to the alternatives available, so that hopefully a similar situation could be avoided in the future. I wholeheartedly apologise if my comments came across in any other way. KarmaPets
  • Score: 1

5:11pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Brainy_G93 says...

REDROM wrote:
Sashstaff wrote:
Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?!
Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?!

No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him.

Bizarre! RIP Henry
What a heartless idiot you are. But he's a bulldog, originally bread to take bulls down. to many people go over the top with the pampering of dogs, if a dog has bad breath and stinks a bit that would be down to the diet. The dog passed away in the care of Pets@Home, so they should be liable, but no money will bring back your beloved pet. use a local groomers, where you can stay with your pet, like every corperate Pets@Home are there to keep the shareholders happy they dont give a monkeys about your pets. KarmaPets Thats shameless plugging on your part. Graham & Rebecca i hope you can put this behind you, all the best for the wedding.
I agree with you Redrom, Sashstaff is a heartless idiot!
[quote][p][bold]REDROM[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sashstaff[/bold] wrote: Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?! Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?! No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him. Bizarre! RIP Henry[/p][/quote]What a heartless idiot you are. But he's a bulldog, originally bread to take bulls down. to many people go over the top with the pampering of dogs, if a dog has bad breath and stinks a bit that would be down to the diet. The dog passed away in the care of Pets@Home, so they should be liable, but no money will bring back your beloved pet. use a local groomers, where you can stay with your pet, like every corperate Pets@Home are there to keep the shareholders happy they dont give a monkeys about your pets. KarmaPets Thats shameless plugging on your part. Graham & Rebecca i hope you can put this behind you, all the best for the wedding.[/p][/quote]I agree with you Redrom, Sashstaff is a heartless idiot! Brainy_G93
  • Score: 0

8:32pm Thu 31 Jan 13

timt1964 says...

anyone who pays £1800 for a dog,then expects it to be a ringbearer at their wedding must be bonkers but ive every sympathy as we rescued a rabbit from pets at home,next day noticed he was full of maggots and they had to sort him out and even gave us a cage and a few other bits to appease us as we threatened to go to the papers and rspca.karmapets is offering an alternative professional view of the situation not plugging as far as im concerned.just a tragic accident but everyones looking for a scapegoat as always.
anyone who pays £1800 for a dog,then expects it to be a ringbearer at their wedding must be bonkers but ive every sympathy as we rescued a rabbit from pets at home,next day noticed he was full of maggots and they had to sort him out and even gave us a cage and a few other bits to appease us as we threatened to go to the papers and rspca.karmapets is offering an alternative professional view of the situation not plugging as far as im concerned.just a tragic accident but everyones looking for a scapegoat as always. timt1964
  • Score: 3

9:30pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Stuart Oxley says...

Bulldogs are sadly a breed that has been selected to look a certain way with total disregard for the health of the animal. There are many breeds that should be altered for the dogs benefit and not the vanity of humans.

Pets at Home however should have known about the extra sensitivity of the breed and not put anything in its mouth.
Not every Pets at Home store suffers these problems, but when you are dealing with big corporations such as these you end up with the 'Jack of All Trades, Master of None,' syndrome.
If you are serious about your pets, in my view, it is better to find a small independant retailer who has been trading for sometime. Their shops tend to be their pride and joy as they are not just a number at a branch of many. Their knowledge is usually superior too.
Pets at Home have become a victim of their own success, and they have over stretched themselves, substituting quantity for quality. Poor advice or treatment can be deadly for pets. They need to stop expanding and concentrate on the stores they have and be more careful about staff selection.
My comments are not just based on this one incident. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Bulldogs are sadly a breed that has been selected to look a certain way with total disregard for the health of the animal. There are many breeds that should be altered for the dogs benefit and not the vanity of humans. Pets at Home however should have known about the extra sensitivity of the breed and not put anything in its mouth. Not every Pets at Home store suffers these problems, but when you are dealing with big corporations such as these you end up with the 'Jack of All Trades, Master of None,' syndrome. If you are serious about your pets, in my view, it is better to find a small independant retailer who has been trading for sometime. Their shops tend to be their pride and joy as they are not just a number at a branch of many. Their knowledge is usually superior too. Pets at Home have become a victim of their own success, and they have over stretched themselves, substituting quantity for quality. Poor advice or treatment can be deadly for pets. They need to stop expanding and concentrate on the stores they have and be more careful about staff selection. My comments are not just based on this one incident. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Stuart Oxley
  • Score: 1

12:30am Sun 24 Feb 13

mariee1 says...

Sashstaff wrote:
Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?!
Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?!

No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him.

Bizarre! RIP Henry
There is no need for that! It would be different if it was your dog. Grooming your dog doesnt mean you want it to smell like flowers, bulldogs can be pampered just as much as a shih-tzu or a yorkie, just because they are bigger and short-haired it doesnt mean they cant have what they have. I have a bulldog of my own and i wouldnt know what to do if i lost her. Also ide just like to add...not all bulldogs have health problems. I have a mollett victorian bulldog and she has no health problems atal. Mollettbulldogs.com so yes i believe it was pets at home's fault, they should tell you what they are "spraying" in your dogs mouth before they do it as your dog could be allergic to the ingredients. They are not just pets, they are wee fluff balls that make a family whole.
[quote][p][bold]Sashstaff[/bold] wrote: Why take a bulldog to groomers anyway? Three times in 11 month?! Why have a dog if you want it to smell like flowers?! No sympathy here, the breed is not known for it's health and it was the owner's selfish desire to pamper him. Bizarre! RIP Henry[/p][/quote]There is no need for that! It would be different if it was your dog. Grooming your dog doesnt mean you want it to smell like flowers, bulldogs can be pampered just as much as a shih-tzu or a yorkie, just because they are bigger and short-haired it doesnt mean they cant have what they have. I have a bulldog of my own and i wouldnt know what to do if i lost her. Also ide just like to add...not all bulldogs have health problems. I have a mollett victorian bulldog and she has no health problems atal. Mollettbulldogs.com so yes i believe it was pets at home's fault, they should tell you what they are "spraying" in your dogs mouth before they do it as your dog could be allergic to the ingredients. They are not just pets, they are wee fluff balls that make a family whole. mariee1
  • Score: 1

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