Pet Plan adopted a novel approach to recruiting suitably animal-crazy staff to man its call centres last month.

The insurer hosted a pet/human talent show, urging wannabe phone-freaks to parade around a glamorous hotel in Hounslow with their furry friends.

The recruitment fair-cum-dog show was widely reported to be a success, although one disgruntled ferret-handler who didn't make the grade said of a rival: "It's not fair. They only gave her the job because she's got a nice pussy."