Speedy Critters

Stuck for a last minute present this Christmas? Well, according to Speedy Critters, a national chain of pet stores, you couldn't do much worse than one of their discount doggies or cut price cats. They're cheap, they're fun and, what's more, they deliver themselves.

"We used to send all of our pets by Parcelforce, FedEx or one of the other major carriers," says company spokesman Harry Mange. "And quite frankly it was costing us a fortune. Then we hit upon an idea - seeing as most of these animals are perfectly capable of moving under their own steam, we thought that they may as well make their own way."

Mr Mange claims that all their puppies are capable of following basic directions and will present themselves at your front door within seven days of purchase. A snake will post itself through your letterbox and, as an added bonus, it will devour any junk mail it finds lying on your doormat. Parrots arrive by air mail.

"We've did have a bit of a problem with our cats," Mr Mange admits. "But since we agreed to pay their travel expenses they've been much more cooperative. You can rest assured that whatever pet you purchase - whether it's a goldfish, hamster or stick insect - it's guaranteed to arrive by the end of the week... Unless it's a tortoise, for which you should allow up to twenty-eight days for delivery."

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