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A distraught couple have issued a warning after their adorable puppy died from a deadly virus just days after they brought him home.
Border collie Storm, aged 10 weeks, sadly passed away from parvovirus, just 10 days after Lucy Jacobsen, 24 and partner Michaela Freeland, 30 brought him home.
The couple, from Suffolk, have claimed the breeders who sold them Storm have now vanished, after they sent messages about their beloved pup's illness.
Storm first fell ill just four days after the couple brought him home, spending the weekend in a specialist veterinary centre receiving round-the-clock care.
He was diagnosed with the virus on Monday 1st March and devastatingly, passed away two days later.
The couple say that the family they bought Storm from have been uncontactable since he became ill - leaving them suspicious about the puppy's background.
Although they had not seen Storm prior to collecting him, they say the breeder provided all the relevant paperwork and proof of vaccinations - which Lucy and Michaela have since confirmed themselves with the vets who gave the jabs.
Storm was also due a booster jab a couple of weeks later, once he reached 12 weeks old.
Lucy and Michaela are now using their devastating loss as a warning to others. The couple, who both work as healthcare assistants at Ipswich Hospital, have also informed the RSPCA of their concerns.
"We would 100 per cent use this as a warning to urge people to be careful about who they buy from," said Lucy.
"These people are obviously professionals who have done this before and got away with it, from the way that they have covered their tracks.
"We would certainly struggle to trust any private sellers again in the future. Next time we would look to go through registered charities, like Battersea Dogs Home or The Kennel Club."
"Now, since this has all happened, we have found out that it was not all what it seemed," Lucy added.
"Last Saturday, two days after he went into the veterinary hospital, we tried to contact the family just to let them know, and to ask them some questions.
"But we never heard anything back. It's like they just disappeared after that. From the way they have covered their tracks, we suspect that they were probably puppy farmers.
"We think there was probably some mistreatment, and that there's a high chance that Storm had been mixing with other dogs who might have had parvovirus."
Lucy and Michaela also have six-year-old chihuahua called Ralphie, who doesn't seem to have caught the virus.
"It was a real worry for us that Storm might have exposed Ralphie to it, too," Lucy said.
"But we have of course spoken to vets about that and he seems to be fine."
Not only are Lucy and Michaela mourning the loss of their beloved dog, but they are also left with a huge vet's bill of between £5,000 and £6,000 for the few days of specialist care he received.
Lucy said: "It's just been really devastating. We've been left with all this money to pay, and we don't even have our dog anymore.
"It's heartbreaking, and it was scary to see Storm like that. The main symptoms of parvovirus are diarrhoea, sickness, blood in the stool, lethargy, weight loss, and it can also lead to sepsis and blood poisoning - all of which Storm had.
"My partner and I both work as healthcare assistants at Ipswich Hospital, so we know a lot about septicemia and how serious it can be for humans.
"He went from being a bouncy, happy puppy to a very poorly one in just a matter of days."
Although the couple had taken out an insurance policy, it doesn't cover the initial 14-day period in which Storm became ill.
Thankfully, a friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help them with their bills - which has so far raised almost £2,500.
Posting on Facebook, Michaela wrote: "We would like to put across our sincere thank you to all who have supported Storm and ourselves.
"We couldn't be any more blessed to have such wonderful people around us. We will not forget everything you have done for Storm and us. We will forever be grateful.
"Storm put up a fight for a very long time and we couldn't be more lucky to have had those few special days with him. You will forever be our boy. We will never forget you Storm."
The RSPCA was approached for comment, but a spokesperson said the charity was not able to comment on ongoing investigations. You can donate to help with Storm's vet costs here.
This is truly devastating, and our thoughts are with Lucy and Michaela.
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