A high demand for puppies has meant a rise in prices, black-market breeding, unhealthy animals and disappointed owners

He was an ex-racing greyhound called Laddie, with an illustrious track record, white socks and a white tail. It was love at first sight. “Are you sure we can keep a greyhound in a flat?” I asked the manager of the dog shelter nervously, as my boyfriend Charlie stared at Laddie with emoji love hearts in his eyes. “Plenty of greyhounds live in apartments,” she reassured us. Charlie and I posed for a photo with Laddie – we look so happy in it, we might explode – and then went home to await our home check, in a few weeks.

As we waited, I browsed dog beds online, considered the merits and demerits of harnesses versus leads, dry food versus wet. I ringed the photo of Laddie with a love heart and texted it to my family and friends. “He looks like such a good boy,” one friend responded. “Would you like to be godparents?” I offered benevolently.

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