Syrian dog travels 3,000 miles to Paris to be reunited with the soldier who saved her

British Army veteran Sean Laidlaw was stationed in Syria as a private contractor on a bomb disposal team when he made a very special new friend, writes ronproject

He was standing near the rubble of a building that had been hit with an explosion when he heard the whimpers of a trapped puppy.

The scared dog was apprehensive of his rescuer at first. Sean watched over her for 3 days and gave her food and water. Eventually, she learned that he was someone she could trust and allowed him to take her with him.

Sean says the adorable puppy helped keep him sane in Syria.

He named her Barrie.

Sean hadn’t quite figured out that the puppy was a girl when he named her Barrie, but by the time he figured this out, the name had already stuck.

Since rescuing her, the two have been to five countries, across 5000km, two war zones, and a 12-hour drive together.

“I feel like it may come across that I saved Barrie’s life, but I feel like she saved mine,” Sean would later say to

Sean says he really enjoyed getting to play with Barrie when he would get back to camp.

Being with her kept his mind away from the awful parts of his work.

“Working in a war zone, coming back to camp, you sit in your room on your own. To have a companion you can play with and train, it kept my mind away from all the things I was seeing and doing out there.”

Sean and Barrie formed a strong bond. Barrie would follow Sean everywhere and they would do everything together.

“She stayed with me all day, every day. She did jobs with me. I’d wake up, she’d come eat with me, she’d then sit in the passenger seat of my car when we drove to Raqqa.”

Sean left Barrie at camp when he left for what he thought would be a short trip back to the U.K.

Unfortunately, before he returned he was told that the contract he had been working on was canceled.

He had no way back to Syria to retrieve Barrie.

Sean was not going to give up on his friend, however.

“I might be one of the only people who was unhappy not to go back to Syria. I was on the way to the airport with my dad when I got a message telling me not to board my flight and go home.”

Sean contacted a charity called “War Paws.” The organization has a special focus to help animals in war-torn regions.

“Our aim is to alleviate the pain and suffering of animals in hostile environments and areas of civil conflict. There are lots of ways you can help us to give these animals a helping hand,” reads the group’s mission statement.

Sean was able to raise money to have Barrie flown to him.
But the journey was going to be a long one. Barrie flew from Syria to Iraq, then Iraq to Jordan, and then finally from Jordan to Paris where Sean would travel to get her.

While Sean and Barrie had been separated, Barrie had grown into an adult. Sean was worried that Barrie might not remember him, but that was far from the case.

Barrie immediately recognized Sean and the pair shared an emotional reunion at the airport.

“Meeting her at the airport, seeing her in the flesh, was one of the best moments of my life. I’ve never been so happy,” he later said of the experience. “It was pure joy when she realised who I was. She’s exactly as she was back in Syria — it was just great to have my dog again.”
Now, Sean says the two are back to being inseparable once again.


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