MENTOR, Ohio -- For owner Cindi Tousel, 6-year-old Gracie was the love of her life.
Tousel took Gracie, a Newfoundland, to PetSmart in Mentor, Ohio, for routine grooming on Saturday. She had gone there for the last few years, but her regular groomer was on vacation.
Four and a half hours later, PetSmart staff told Tousel to take the dog to the emergency vet. Her last trip to the vet has been in July.
The normal body temperature for a dog is 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The vet told Tousel that Gracie's condition was the result of overheating. Her organs were shutting down. The next day, Tousel said goodbye to her dog.
In a statement, PetSmart said:
"The safety and well-being of the pets in our care is our top priority. We are conducting a full investigation into this incident and will take appropriate action based on our findings."
Tousel says she instructed the groomer not to dry Gracie. She doesn't know if a heated blow dryer was used but says Gracie was completely dry.
Tousel says the store manager told her the company would pay for her vet bills, which totaled more than $2,200. The company's corporate office has been in touch with her also and sent flowers.
Newfoundlands are known to be heat sensitive; something Tousel would have expected a dog groomer to know. She is considering her options at this point and hopes groomers change policies to make sure back rooms are kept cool and dogs are monitored for heat issues.