A HEARTBROKEN pet owner has slammed a veterinary practice after being given his dog's ashes back in the wrong urn.

Barry Shaw, 42, hit out at Ivy Vets over what he says was 'a complete lack of compassion' over the treatment he received following the loss of his devoted companion Cooper.

He claims he was left distressed when a member of staff allegedly told him 'whippets feel this the most' as the 14-year-old was being prepared to being put to sleep - before saying staff then told him to decant Cooper's remains himself between urns.

Mr Shaw says he was then told he was no longer welcome at the surgery in West Kilbride when he complained.

He was forced to take the difficult decision to have his pet euthanised because of a tumour on his leg which had quadrupled in size.

Mr Smith says he was stunned when a staff member told him 'you know whippets feel this the most of any animal'.

Barry, who lives with his husband Stuart, 42, in the new Hope Homes development in Seamill, said: "It was a horrible end of life for my dog and traumatic for me, especially after what was said. I couldn't go back into that room where I said goodbye to Cooper ever again.

"Ivy Vets then gave me the ashes in an incorrect urn, and of course I complained about it.

"They told me to come to the premises to collect the new box and says I should decant the ashes into it myself. That was too much for me so I have had to leave Cooper in the rectangular box they gave me, not the small square one which allows for a photo of your much-missed pet to be placed there, which was the one I had paid for.

"Given I had spent the best part of £400 to do right by my boy who had been with me through thick and thin, I expected us both to be treated with some dignity and respect. Instead I got a letter this week to say that they don't want my business again - it is terrible.

"It has just brought the whole experience back to me.

"From the start of the process to the end they have shown no empathy. Their conduct has been callous and cold."

Barry explained that on the day that Cooper was to be put to sleep he was given a piece of paper with the cremation urns to choose from.

He said:"When I complained they told me I had given them the wrong code but there was no code on the documentation that I could see.

"I told them that I hadn't given them any code, and had given them a brief description of what I wanted.

"I formalised the complaint and said I understood that mistakes can happen, but this was wrong and perhaps staff training needed addressing.

"I would expect a level of service, respect and empathy to be shown when a veterinary practice is dealing with a pet in the last stage of its life."

Ivy Vets spokesperson said: "We have read the comments made by our client but they do not reconcile with the recollections of our staff.

"Our receptionist called Mr Shaw to let him know we had sourced the specific urn for ashes he wanted - he advised us he would bring his pet’s ashes back to the surgery. We are very sorry that the wrong urn was ordered and we offered to transfer the ashes over at the practice. We have taken steps to ensure this error does not recur.

"The attending vet recalls explaining to Mr Shaw that whippets have sensitive skin, whilst discussing reasons for sedating pets at these difficult times. This was to make Cooper as comfortable as possible and we are sorry if this comment caused upset, as this was certainly never our intention.

"At Ivybank, we value the quality of the service we provide. Extensive training programmes are provided for all staff and we work with animal welfare at the forefront of our minds. Our staff are empathic, competent and caring professionals. We appreciate and encourage client feedback, particularly if a client feels let down. Feedback enables us to address concerns brought to our attention and allows us to move forward to try and prevent the same issues from recurring.

"However, whilst we do our best to provide support during difficult times, this does not excuse abusive and inappropriate behaviour towards our staff. As a result of Mr Shaw’s unfortunate approach towards several members of our team, after much deliberation – and with regret - we made the decision to ask Mr Shaw to find another practice."