So they did publish the letter! Here's the link - http://www.herald.ns.ca/stories/2004/07/15/fLetters223.raw.html and since the Herald only keeps the links up for a couple days I made a pdf file of the page (Adobe Acrobat) so you can enjoy it forever. It's at http://users.eastlink.ca/~joansinden/senseJuly152004.PDF
Here's the text of the original article about Snookums that was in the Chronicle Herald on July 10th, 2004:
By DAVENE JEFFREY Staff Reporter and JENNIFER STEWART
Holly Murphy thought she was buying her children a puppy as a grading gift - what they got was a tough life lesson about death.
"This was a family who wanted to love a puppy ... I can't let this puppy die in vain," a tearful Ms. Murphy said.
When Ms. Murphy decided to buy a new Chihuahua for her family, she started her search on the Internet.
She found Snookumspets.com, an attractive site operated by a Charlottetown pet store, advertising itself as having the largest selection of puppies and kittens in Atlantic Canada.
They also advertise daily in this newspaper.
She paid $775.86 for a puppy and a bag of dog food, plus $35 for delivery.
Late in the evening of July 5, she and her children, along with a few other local families, met Bud Wheatley in a drug store parking lot to pick up their puppies.
Inside the delivery van was about 40 dog cages of various sizes, many containing small dogs, Ms. Murphy said.
She got her dog and signed a contract stating that she was receiving a healthy puppy.
She says Mr. Wheatley warned her that dogs sometimes contract kennel cough during transport.
That night, she slept with the tiny 2.6-pound puppy, which her children named Trooper, on her chest.
"He was so restless and kind of heaving. I couldn't get him to eat anything or try to drink anything."
That was the only night the puppy spent in the Murphys' home.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Murphy took Trooper to the vet.
The veterinarian told Ms. Murphy that the little Chihuahua was severely dehydrated and very ill.
Wednesday night, she took the puppy to the emergency animal hospital in Burnside where he received a total of three plasma transfusions.
"We were trying to buy him enough time so that his own immune system would kick in," Ms. Murphy said.
During the day, he was treated at Ms. Murphy's vet's clinic. At night, he went to the emergency animal clinic in Burnside.
Ms. Murphy and her children ferried the little dog back and forth until he died.
On Friday morning at 7 a.m., she picked Trooper up at the Burnside clinic and drove him to Eastern Passage Village Veterinary Clinic.
"I just knew he wasn't going to make it and then the vet called me around 9:30 a.m."
The vet wanted permission to put Trooper down - he was oozing fluid from his nose and was in pain.
"It was like he hung on long enough to see us this morning," she said, her voice breaking.
"We went into his treatment in hopes that we could save him," said Trooper's vet, Dr. Lesley Steele.
Forensic work is now being done by an independent veterinary clinic in the area to determine the exact cause of Trooper's death, Dr. Steele said.
However, because of the small dog's symptoms, Dr. Steele believes Trooper died from a virus, likely parvo or korona, both of which are highly contagious in canines.
She also suspects his condition may have been complicated by kennel cough, another highly contagious dog disease.
Ms. Murphy says she spoke with Mr. Weatley several times about Trooper's illness. He suggested she have the dog put down.
"At what point are you going to be practical and stop letting your emotions rule you?," she says he asked her.
She said at one point he offered to pay for the dog's care up to the sum she paid for him.
When reached Friday night, Mr. Wheatley said he wasn't willing to hand over any money without proof the puppy got sick at Snookums.
"We sold a healthy puppy, it became sick and we don't know why," he said.
"All the other puppies are doing fine," he added, referring to the other pets he delivered that evening.
When asked if he's had similar experiences with other puppies he's sold, Mr. Wheatley responded with a question of his own.
"How many puppies do you think we sell in a year?" he asked.
"Thousands. So obviously some of those puppies are going to get sick and some are going to die."
He said it was "unfortunate" that the puppy had to be put down but he still insists it wasn't his fault.
Trooper was the family's second Chihuahua. They also have 1 1/2year-old Mika, purchased from a local pet store.
Although Mika was also sick when Ms. Murphy bought her, the store paid for the dog's medicine and the puppy got better.
As of Friday, Ms. Murphy had paid about $1,000 in veterinarian bills for the Snookumspets puppy.
She'd like Mr. Wheatley to return the money she paid for Trooper and to pay the cost of his care.
Trooper's sad tale is of little surprise to Judith Gass, president of the Nova Scotia SPCA.
"Quite frankly, any time you buy from an organization that has a number of animals, there is a possibility that they can come down with parvo or any other virus," Ms. Gass said.
Pet stores and Internet pet retail businesses only add to the over-population of pets and support puppy mills and disreputable backyard breeders, she said.
She would rather people get their pets from shelters and rescue operations and pointed out that Nova Scotia has a Chihuahua rescue network.
People who want to buy a specific breed of puppy should find a reputable breeder, Ms. Gass said.
In Ms. Murphy's case, she vows Trooper was the last dog she'll ever buy from a pet store.
Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau Web site reports that Mr. Wheatley's operation has a satisfactory record with them.
The head of The Chronicle Herald's advertising department says the paper does not endorse Mr. Wheatley's pet operation.
"We can't be expected to endorse or warrant every product that runs in our newspaper," Mike Foran said.
"We take all ads in good faith, but if a business is knowingly defrauding the public, we are not going to run their ads."