“ Argos / child's vet set. „
Having worked at an agricultural college and taught a variety of students who were studying dog grooming courses and the like, I had always hoped to steer my daughter away from a career in the animal care industry; the pay's not great and the concept of her having to clip, bleach and trim (amongst other things) the unwholesome bottom areas of mutts such as Bichon Frises on a daily / professional basis I find a particularly unnerving thought.
Faced with the 'Argos' catalogue and free rein to select whatever toys she wanted for her fifth birthday however, the 'Poorly Puppy' dog grooming / veterinary centre was one of the first things she selected.
It comes as a toy pet carrier, attractively coloured in lime green and mustard plastic, with ventilation holes and a transparent orange plastic hinged access cover. It's boxy, and about 25cm long. The large, sturdy plastic clip that holds it shut and the carrying handle on the top of the case are pink plastic. Inside are the pets - a longish-furred white cat and a beige coloured Labrador-type puppy each about six inches high. They're not brilliantly constructed / quality soft toys but they're nice and cute and perfectly acceptable - especially given that the whole toy set costs £9.99 - and is currently part of an ongoing 'toy deal' special offer at 'Argos' wherein you get to select two from a range of toys that usually retail for a tenner each separately, for £15 for both.
The set also comes with three dog grooming accessories and three 'veterinary tools.' The dog grooming set consists of a round, plastic-backed mirror, and a wide-toothed plastic comb and purple hair-brush. They're a bit over the top considering that the toy dog only has short-pile fur, but although a little bit small for use on a human, they are probably sturdy enough for a child to use on their own hair.
As for the vet tools they come in mystifyingly chunky turquoise plastic - presumably this robustly built so that they're thoroughly shatterproof. There's a round dental mirror type thing, one of those lights that doctors use to shine into peoples' ears (there's no light; it's just the shape in plastic) and this third...thing....that I'm not really sure what it's supposed to be, that looks like maybe a small plastic version of the Norse god Thor's hammer. Maybe for testing pet reflexes, if vets do that. There's also a plastic, paper-covered little of fake food for the cat and an empty cardboard box supposed to be dog food for the dog (the cardboard box is the only thing in the set that's really rubbish).
This is a plasticky inexpensive toy set that's probably not going to impress many adults, but it's quite fun for kids - my daughter especially seems to like using the carrier part as a home for her various toys. And some of the accessories (ie the grooming set) have 'transferrable' appeal - in that they can be used on other toys in your child's collection.