It was lunchtime and the phones were busy, so I picked up a stray call to find someone called Natasha on the line.
She seemed agitated.
"Can you help me? My puppy's sick," she blurted.
It all started tumbling out. She'd bought her 7 year old son a Westie for Xmas, from what sounded like a posh, expensive W7 pet shop. She'd paid nearly £600 and had asked the shop keeper to keep the pup till after Xmas as they would be away on holiday.
Two days ago they picked up the now 12 week old pup and took him home.
She'd thought the dog looked poorly when they picked it up but at home things deteriorated further. Lots of coughing, refusing to eat. The vet first gave antibiotics, next visit kept the dog in and put it on a drip. The dog's future is looking very bleak as the vet says it has pneumonia but there are other problems, too.
The little boy is heartbroken.
The pet shop owner slammed the phone down on Natasha when she phoned to tell him. Trading standards will phone her back in a few days.
While you'll be having a deep sigh at Natasha buying a dog as a Christmas present in a pet shop, she had done something untypical of the impulse puppy purchaser. She'd booked a really good dog trainer to come to her house this week to start teaching them to train the pup. To be fair it sounded a lovely home! It was the trainer who told her about us, what a shame she didn't ask the trainer to help source the pup for her. What a shame she didn't find out about the dangers of buying a dog in a pet shop until the vet's bill started being greater than the purchase price.
Natasha simply didn't know about puppy farms, pet shops or indeed Dogs Today until it all went horribly wrong.
Will this little Westie survive? Will the pet shop take any responsibility? Natasha says her pup was mixed in with other pups so I presume they are all dying, too?
There's one seven year old boy who'll never forget this Christmas. You can take a broken toy back to he shop, but how many thousands might it take to save this little Westie - if indeed it can be saved? Being so ill throughout the socialisation period, what chance does the little dog have of having a normal life in any case.
Happy New Year everyone - apart from the puppy farmers and the despicable dog traders.