AHA 2019 WEB logo Jul22

 

BARRIE

Puppy pulled from the rubble in war-torn Syria is thriving after 3,000-mile trip to be reunited with the former soldier who saved her. 

Bomb disposal expert Sean Laidlaw was clearing a bombed-out school in February 2018, when he heard whimpering from beneath the rubble. He dug down and discovered Barrie, a tiny Asian Shepherd cross puppy. 

She was terrified, and surrounded by four dead puppies, and initially shied away from Sean - but he refused to give up. He brought her food and drink, and cordoned off the area as it wasn't safe from explosives. 

After three days she grew to trust him, and the two became inseparable over the following three months he was working in Syria. 

Sean, who served for 10 years in the Royal Engineers, including two tours in Afghanistan, says Barrie helped him cope with PTSD. "It may come across that I saved Barrie's life, but I feel like she saved mine. You can only imagine how bad Syria is, and to have a companion, it kept my mind away from all the things I was seeing and doing out there.” 

When Sean returned to Britain, he immediately set about bringing Barrie to join him, with the help of charity War Paws. But it took seven months, including three months in quarantine in Jordan, before the paperwork was in order, and she was flown to Paris where Sean was waiting to meet her. 

"One of my biggest fears was that she wouldn't recognise who I was, or that she would be a different dog to the girl I left. It was pure joy when she realised who I was."