Brewster was such a gentle, loving dog, like a toy really, his family says.
The 12-year-old Bichon loved to go bye-bye, even on the day he died last week.
“I felt so guilty the day it happened because we would say to him, ‘You want to go bye-bye?’ and he’d hop in that car, and he didn’t know it was going to be his last ride,” Betty Miller of Scranton, Penn., told WNEP in Scranton.
Miller dropped off Brewster at the PetSmart in Dickson City, Penn., to get groomed on Nov. 1. That was his regular groomer, Brewster’s owner, Lauren Miller, told Global News.
“The groomers were always kind and upbeat when you brought him in and picked him up,” Lauren said.
But shortly after Brewster was left at PetSmart, Lauren said, her dad got a phone call from an animal hospital.
Brewster was dead. He’d been attacked by another dog in the PetSmart grooming salon. The company is now investigating how it happened.
The family learned later that the dog that attacked Brewster also bit two groomers, Lauren wrote on Facebook.
Betty Miller worries that PetSmart’s safety protocols might not be enough to actually keep the animals safe. And she has accused PetSmart of ignoring her inquiries about the incident.
“We called corporate,” Betty told WNEP. “They did not reach out to us, and I was very angry about that. Why would you want to bring a pit bull past a small dog who’s really just bait? He was bait.”
In a statement, PetSmart said it was saddened by Brewster’s death.
“The health, safety and well-being of the pets in our care is our top priority, and we immediately launched an internal investigation to better understand what led to this tragic accident,” the company’s statement said.
“We have high standards of care in place and are actively gathering more information to determine any policy or procedural violations.
“We welcome all dogs, regardless of their breed, into our grooming salons provided they are well-behaved. We will remain in close contact with Brewster’s pet parent as we learn more.”
The manager of the store apologized to Lauren and sent her flowers. But Lauren wants to know why the family wasn’t contacted when Brewster was on his way to the animal hospital.
She also wants other pet owners to use this as a lesson to know their groomer’s procedures for handling big and small dogs in the same space, she told Global News. “They don’t belong together, even if they have never shown aggression,” she said.
She doesn’t blame the other dog and doesn’t think the animal should be put down for what it did.
“His instinct was to attack and he did and I’m sorry for the groomers that watched this happen and people in the store that could see it happen too,” Lauren wrote on Facebook.
“It breaks my heart to think of my baby boy crying in pain. Petsmart needs to evaluate their systems. They needed to call us first we could’ve have met them at the vet. Nothing.
“Then they say don’t worry we’ll pay any expenses. Gee thanks.”
PetSmart paid for Brewster’s cremation, the Millers said.