ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Answers elude a St. Johns County man who says his beloved dog, Chloe, died less than a week after he dropped her off for boarding while the family left town for Thanksgiving.
John Delaney says his 11-year-old Bichon Frise was fine when the family left her at Pet Paradise Resort and Spa at Jacksonville International Airport the Sunday before the holiday.
But Delaney got a call Saturday evening telling him Chloe was having a seizure. Twelve hours later, she hadn't gotten any better. At the veterinarian's advice, Delaney had her put down.
"They all say that it is renal failure -- acute renal failure. But what caused it, they don’t know," he said.
Delaney isn't sure what to make of it all. Chloe was fine before the trip and had just recently gotten a clean bill of health from the veterinarian days before she was dropped off for boarding.
He said his other dog, Teddi, was sick when he picked her up from Pet Paradise, and he complained to management at Pet Paradise. He was told that staff took great care of his family's pets.
To make matters worse, Delaney got an automated email from the spa two days later claiming to be Chloe, saying "I had so much fun" and "please bring me back to PARADISE."
"I'm not going to point fingers, but when you look at all the facts, something happened," said Delaney.
News4Jax brought Delaney's concerns to the attention of Pet Paradise's corporate office. Jaime Pickett, the company's chief veterinarian, suspects a pre-existing condition may be to blame.
"I do not think any of it had to do with Pet Paradise," said Pickett. "And the second we saw anything abnormal, we reacted."
She said as soon as staff noticed something was wrong, the on-site veterinarian began an IV and took Chloe to an emergency clinic, where she was cared for nonstop.
As for the automated email, Pickett said it was sent accidentally and vowed that the mistake would be corrected.
"I know here at Pet Paradise that pet safety is our No. 1 priority," she added.
Delaney isn't so sure. He says he has no plans to pursue any legal action, but he wants pet owners to be aware of what could happen to them. As for Teddi, he plans to board her elsewhere in the future.
Now, he just wants answers. "It’s probably gonna be an unsolved mystery," he said.
In the wake of what happened, Pet Paradise did not charge Delaney for Chloe's stay. They're also offering to cover the veterinarian bill from her trip to the emergency clinic.
"We are extremely sorry for what’s happened with Chloe," said Pickett.