A woman claims her puppy choked to death on a dog biscuit put into a treat for her by staff at a Stoke-on-Trent Starbucks.
Megan Harrison went to the outlet in Festival Park with her 18-week-old French bulldog Bonnie.
She was given a free puppucino – a cup of whipped cream made for dogs – and the staff topped it with Bonio biscuits.
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But back at home, shortly after Bonnie finished it, she was found dead. Megan said her fiancé spent ten minutes desperately trying to remove the biscuit and doing CPR there was “nothing they could do” to save her.
Devastated support worker Megan, 24, said she’s ‘heartbroken’ over Bonnie’s death and “absolutely disgusted” by Starbucks’ response – which saw the coffee firm offer her a £250 gift token.
The firm pointed out that puppuccinos were not an official item on the menu, and had only been made for Megan’s dog because the staff knew her.
Megan said: “It’s so heart-breaking, I’ll never really be over it.
“She was just so funny and lovely and had a really big personality.
“I had to hand-rear her myself when she was newborn. She looked to me as mum, I did everything for her.
“She’s had them [cream-only puppuccinos] before. I’d go to Starbucks with just Bonnie and it used to be a thing that me and her did as a treat. This was the first time it had a biscuit with it.
“I wasn’t watching her every second because she’d had them before and it was never an issue, but there was never a biscuit in there [on previous occasions].”
Megan added Bonnie was in the kitchen eating the whipped cream treat while she was in the open-plan living room of her home in Crewe.
Megan said: “She had the puppuccino, ate the biscuit, went to go and get a drink of water and then she lay in her bed and obviously that’s when she died, she choked but it was silent.
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“My partner’s brother was the one that found her. Obviously I then went to her and just dropped on the floor when I saw her. I didn’t know what to do.
“Her tongue was out and eyes were open, I knew that she’d gone.
“She didn’t come to me like ‘mum, mum’, she just went to her bed and it happened like that. It was like she didn’t want to worry us and just wanted to go peacefully.
“My partner put his fingers down her throat to try and get the biscuit.
“We managed to pull this big chunk of biscuit out, it was bitten in half but it was still jammed in her throat.
“It was covered in mucus, sick, blood, cream and water.
“We tried doing CPR. We did everything we could do for her but there was nothing that we could actually do.”
Megan said she called the emergency vet and also gave Bonnie’s mum Bell and brother Billie an opportunity to say goodbye to her.
After making the heart-wrenching calls, Megan contacted Starbucks to let them know what happened.
Megan said: “My partner rang them and told them what happened.
“All we wanted was to make sure that it didn’t happen to any other dogs because what happened to me, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It was heart-breaking.
“I’ve spoken to Starbucks and to be honest, I’m absolutely disgusted with them.
“It wasn’t like ‘oh, I’m really sorry that this has happened’, it felt more like ‘I’m really sorry but what can we do to get you back in store?’
“That’s all they seemed bothered about and it angered me so much.
“They shouldn’t have biscuits in them anyway, a puppuccino is just meant to be a cup of whipped cream.”
Devastated Megan, who lost Bonnie on September 17, said she was offered a £250 gift card to spend in-store, but feels she wasn’t given a sincere apology.
Megan said: “When I lost her my mental health just plummeted.
“I tried telling Starbucks this but all they offered me was a £250 gift card and I’m not being funny but she’s worth more than £250 worth of coffee.
“I emailed them back and said ‘I don’t want a gift card for your store because I’m not going to be a customer again, it’s pointless’.
“I haven’t even had a sincere apology from them or anything, that’s all I would have really wanted to be honest. That would have been more than enough for me.”
Megan is now urging the chain to put puppucinos on the menu so that staff and customers know exactly what’s in them – and claims she’s now super-vigilant whenever her other dogs have treats.
Megan said: “I said to Starbucks that I wanted the puppuccino to be put on the menu so that when people see it it will state that it’s just whipped cream – no biscuits will be put into them.
“Now even if I give them a treat I’m watching them eat it and I know I shouldn’t be like that because I know they’ll be fine but because of what’s happened I’m constantly looking.
“I don’t like just anybody giving them treats. They have to be from my house because I know where they’ve been stored.”
A Starbucks spokesman said: “Our partners (employees) are really upset to hear about the customer’s loss, the customer and her dogs are known and well-loved in our store.
“Puppuccinos are not an official item on the Starbucks UK menu. If customers request the item we have a ‘make every moment right’ policy and offer them free of charge.”
A spokesman for Purina, which makes Bonios, said: “We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to the owners of the puppy.
“We know that the loss of a pet in any circumstances is heartbreaking and the health and wellbeing of pets is our number one priority.
“We don’t supply dog biscuits to restaurants and cafés and we would not recommend serving treats to pets in a way that leaves owners unable to see the feeding guidelines on pack.
“This guidance indicates to the owner whether a snack is safe and appropriate for their individual pet.”
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