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A family have been left heartbroken after their beloved pug puppy choked to death on a toy from Pets at Home.
Kieran Elsby, from Bridlington, was left frantically trying to save five-month-old Peppa's life as she choked on the £7 Nylabone Puppy Triple Bone Starter Kit chew toy in front of his two sons, Noah, aged six and Oliver, three on Christmas Eve.
Just hours earlier, Noah, along with mum Ivy, had made a trip to their local Pets at Home store to buy the toy for Peppa, using Noah's pocket money. It was the first time little Noah had been into a shop since the pandemic began last year.
According to Keiran, the six-year-old had even double checked with a sales assistant that the chew toy would be safe for his beloved Peppa. But just minutes after the pug was presented with the toy, she was left gasping for breath.
Two weeks on from the ordeal and the family have been left in pieces. Kieran, 38 - who is haunted with regret that he could not save Peppa - has claimed that Pets at Home have failed to take what happened seriously.
Speaking to Tyla, Kieran recalled the trauma of trying to save Peppa's life while his sons watched in horror. Now, the dad-of-two desperately wants to raise awareness in a bid to stop any other family going through the same heartache.
"My youngest son, Oliver, has a lung condition and because of that we've been shielding throughout the pandemic. But on Christmas Eve, my eldest son Noah was desperate to buy Peppa a Christmas present with his pocket money.
"It was his first trip to a shop since March and he and my wife, Ivy, asked the sales assistant if she could recommend any toys, which is when they were handed a £7 Nylabone Puppy Triple Bone Starter Kit which contained three toys, all of which were suitable for Peppa's age.
"I'm not a believer in fate, but Noah even asked the sales assistant 'this won't hurt my dog will it?' and that haunts me."
Kieran explained Peppa was chewing on the toy for just a few minutes when she began choking.
"Initially I went over to her pretty calmly, thinking I would simply be able to hook it out of her mouth.
"But I was shocked when I realised the piece of toy was so far down I couldn't get it out. For the next 10-15 minutes I battled to save her life.
"The toy finally came out and in the corner of my eye I could see my wife shielding my youngest son and my older son Noah screaming.
"My wife hurried to take Peppa to the vets, but as she left I realised that she had already passed away in my arms. Her eyes had turned white and her mouth was blue. I felt like I was letting the boys down for not saving Peppa, but also not being able to be there to hold them."
Kieran described how the next couple of days were agonising for the family, with the children even asking the Elf on the Shelf to "wake them up from this awful dream".
"Noah had been wanting a Playstation 5, but after opening his present on Christmas Day, he hasn't played it once. He says he just wants to swap it for Peppa."
A couple of days on from the incident and after having a phone call with the Pets at Home Head Office, Kieran says he became even more frustrated.
"We got nowhere with Head Office, it felt like copy and paste responses. I told them how there was so many bad reviews for the product, and I was told they had investigated and never had any complaints.
"The last conversation I had with them was that I needed to speak to Nylabone, the supplier. It's not about money, I don't want compensation. All I want is for someone to tell me that this will never happen again.
"There's been a lack of empathy throughout, I feel like we've been fobbed off left right and centre."
Tyla has reached out to both Pets at Home and Nylabone. In response, Pets at Home told us: "We are extremely sad to hear of the death of Peppa and our thoughts are with the family.
"This product is a worldwide brand which is sold by many retailers both on the high street and online. We are, as a matter of urgency, investigating the product in conjunction with the product's manufacturer, and will remove the product from sale until our investigations have concluded."
Meanwhile, a Nylabone spokesperson added: "We are very saddened to learn about the tragic death of Peppa. As pet parents and dog lovers ourselves, we know pets are family and we share our sincere condolences to the Elsby family.
"After connecting with Mr Elsby, we have learned that Peppa was unfortunately recommended a chew that was not appropriate for her. At Nylabone, we are committed to making the world's best chew toys for dogs of every age, breed, shape, and size.
"We know that every dog is different, and so are their needs, which is why we make a wide variety of chewing solutions for every kind of dog and chewing strength. We encourage every pet parent and consultant to carefully choose every chew toy with the dog breed and size in mind."
Now, Kieran and his family are creating a memory box for Peppa, to help the boys come to terms with the loss.
"Even if nothing changes, at least we know we've raised awareness, and tried to save more lives. Noah says this makes Peppa a super hero, which is helping him come to terms with what happened. We don't want any other family to ever go through this."
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