A woman from High Wycombe has been left 'devastated' after her eight-week-old puppy died, leaving her with nearly £4,000 in unpaid vet bills.

Pauline Maulicino, 68, lost her 13-year-old spaniel Jim in October last year and has struggled through the last few months without her long-time companion.

Last weekend, however, she took the plunge and brought home a new puppy, eight-week-old Beau, hoping that he would "fill the hole" Jim had left in her heart.

Instead, the intervening days have "destroyed" her, with Beau immediately requiring 24-hour veterinary care for canine parvovirus, racking up around £1,000 per day and £750 for each night's stay.

A two-week cooling-off period on Pauline's recently-purchased pet insurance meant she had to shoulder all the costs herself and insult was added to injury on Saturday, February 24, when, after being told her puppy might be on the mend, Beau unexpectedly suffered a series of seizures before passing away.

Pauline's daughter Michelle said her mother had been "devastated" by the rollercoaster of the past week, adding: "She had been quite depressed since Jim died, and she was so excited to get Beau.

"He was gorgeous, an absolutely beautiful puppy. It's really, really sad."

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Pauline has now been left with veterinary costs totalling between £3,000 and £4,000 with "nothing to show for it", and a frustrating lack of accountability from the people she purchased Beau from last Sunday.

"My mum has another dog, Lola, who's 10-years-old, and the person she bought Beau from said, 'It must have been your dog who made him ill'. They weren't interested at all. She just doesn't know what to do."

Pauline's friends set up a fundraising page to help her afford Beau's costly medical bills earlier this week and had managed to generate over £400 of the £3,000 target when the puppy passed away yesterday.

Michelle said she hopes people continue to donate to the page to help take the financial pressure off of her retired mother, who has found it "very difficult" to gather the funds together so far.

"She paid just over £1,000 for him, and she only had him at home for Sunday and Monday night. The vet costs were so expensive, and now she's in a worse position than she was before this week. 

"If anyone can spare anything, it would make all the difference. My mum is absolutely devastated."