Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

‘Heartbroken’ woman claims French bulldog puppy choked on biscuit given to her by Starbucks staff

Megan Harrison, 24, says 18-week-old Bonnie died after eating ‘puppuccino’ treat

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 05 November 2021 18:53 GMT
Starbucks says its staff were ‘really upset to hear about the customer’s loss’
Starbucks says its staff were ‘really upset to hear about the customer’s loss’ (Getty)

A woman says she has been left “heartbroken” after her French bulldog puppy choked to death on a dog biscuit given to her by staff at a branch of Starbucks, urging other owners to break up all treats for their pets to avoid similar tragic accidents.

Megan Harrison, a 24-year-old support services worker from Crewe, says she visited a Starbucks store in Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent, in September for a tray of “puppuccinos”, cups of whipped cream, to take home to her three dogs.

Well-intentioned staff at the store reportedly offered to add a Bonio dog biscuit to each one, which Ms Harrison accepted, only for her 18-week-old puppy Bonnie to be found dead shortly after consuming her treat.

“It’s so heart-breaking, I’ll never really be over it,” Ms Harrison told The Daily Mail. “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.”

The owner explained that Bonnie had eaten puppuccinos before, with no additional biscuit, without incident.

“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,” she 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.

“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.”

Starbucks was notified about the tragedy and a spokesperson responded: “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.”

Also responding was pet food brand Purina, which manufactures the Bonio biscuits, and 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 cafes 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.”

Ms Harrison said the coffee chain offered her a £250 gift card but expressed dissatisfaction with the gesture and said she had refused it and has no intention of returning to the chain.

“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,” she told The Mail.

Starbucks told The Independent how upset its staff in the store concerned were over the incident and said its customer care team had been in touch with Ms Harrison in the hope of making amends.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in