Buying a puppy on Instagram: The heart-breaking story of Sushi

An animal lover shares her story of buying a puppy from an unscrupulous seller on Instagram to raise awareness to the dangers of buying without due diligence.

Sarah Woods from Liverpool experienced the heartbreak of buying a pet off Instagram after her Pomeranian puppy, Sushi died just three days after she got him.

The puppy was delivered to Sarah at 2am in the back of a van with multiple cages, and was covered in her own vomit and excrement. Her condition was critical.

Sushi’s papers stated that she had been travelling for 30 hours and it is presumed that she had not been fed or given water during this time based on how extremely malnourished and dehydrated she was.

Barely able to walk and refusing to eat, Sarah took Sushi to the local vet’s hospital the following morning, when the puppy spent the next two nights on a drip. She regained enough strength to come home, but on the third night, she lost her tragic battle and passed away.

As if this trauma wasn’t enough, Sarah then went on to receive streams of dismissive and then abusive messages from the seller via Whatsapp, who tried to blame the vets for the dog’s death, and then offered to send another puppy at a discounted price.

After investigating a little further, Sarah discovered that Sushi had travelled from Russia on a fake passport which states she is Polish, and it would appear she never had her crucial injections.

More worryingly was the fact that Sushi was just 2.5 months old – a puppy must be at least 4 months old to travel.

In an emotional Instagram video posted on 31 August, Sarah describes the ordeal and admits that she and her boyfriend were uneducated on what to do when buying a puppy but had been recommended the seller (who has multiple social media accounts with tens of thousands of followers).

Now Sarah wants to use her experience to bring awareness on what to look out for, and to hopefully help bring an end to these types of deceptive sellers abusing the system and resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent dogs every year.

Lucy’s Law came into effect in April, which prohibits the third sale of puppies in England and requires licensed breeders to show puppies interacting with the mother in their place of birth.

However, it still remains legal to import puppies into the UK to be sold. A petition was launched in June to ban puppy imports, created by Lucy Parkinson – a dog lover who decided something needed to be done to stop this from happening again.

To help ban puppy imports you can sign the petition here https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/326261