British bomb disposal expert says Syrian puppy named Barrie is now a ‘fully fledged Essex girl’ – The HabariTimes Online
Connect with us

British bomb disposal expert says Syrian puppy named Barrie is now a ‘fully fledged Essex girl’

News

British bomb disposal expert says Syrian puppy named Barrie is now a ‘fully fledged Essex girl’

A former soldier who rescued a puppy from the rubble of a bombed out Syrian school today revealed his pet is settling into British life already and said: ‘She’s a fully fledged Essex girl now’.

Bomb disposal expert Sean Laidlaw, 30, credits ‘Barrie’ – given that name because he initially thought she was a boy – with saving his life after struggling with the pressure of working in a war zone.

In February Sean found the puppy lying next to six or seven of its dead siblings in a school and after four days of giving her food and water the nervous dog agreed to be picked up and taken to safety.

Mr Laidlaw, from Essex, returned home from the minefields for some leave believing he would return two weeks later – but his contract was then ended and he thought he may never see Barrie again.

But on Saturday they were reunited after the young dog was moved from Syria to Iraq, Jordan and then to France before coming to Britain seven months on.

Speaking today Sean said seeing her again was ‘the best moment’ of his life, adding: ‘She had been in a cage for months and she came over and sniffed me and rolled over on to her tummy – that’s when she knew it was me’.

And when asked about her new life in the UK, he said she was already like the locals: ‘She’s become an absolute diva – she is a fully fledged Essex girl now’.  

Sean Laidlaw and Barrie on This Morning today where he described his dog, rescued from Syria, as a 'diva' and a true 'Essex girl'

Sean Laidlaw and Barrie on This Morning today where he described his dog, rescued from Syria, as a 'diva' and a true 'Essex girl'

Sean Laidlaw and Barrie on This Morning today where he described his dog, rescued from Syria, as a ‘diva’ and a true ‘Essex girl’

Barrie and Sean Laidlaw, 30, were inseparable after he rescued her from rubble in Syria and he says she saved his life

Barrie and Sean Laidlaw, 30, were inseparable after he rescued her from rubble in Syria and he says she saved his life

Barrie and Sean Laidlaw, 30, were inseparable after he rescued her from rubble in Syria and he says she saved his life

Barrie quickly became part of Sean's life as he brought her back to stay with him at his camp 

Barrie quickly became part of Sean's life as he brought her back to stay with him at his camp 

Barrie quickly became part of Sean’s life as he brought her back to stay with him at his camp 

Barrie was in a bombed out school building where six or seven other puppies died. Sean Laidlaw refused to give up on her and won her trust, which took four days

Barrie was in a bombed out school building where six or seven other puppies died. Sean Laidlaw refused to give up on her and won her trust, which took four days

Barrie was in a bombed out school building where six or seven other puppies died. Sean Laidlaw refused to give up on her and won her trust, which took four days

Sean said he had been fighting PTSD after leaving the Army and decided to go to Syria to work as a bomb disposal expert. 

Describing life after ‘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.

‘You can only imagine how bad Syria is, and to be able to come back to the camp and train her for three hours, take her for a walk, things like that really took my mind away from where I was.

‘It gave me a bit of normality, she definitely kept me sane.

‘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.

‘Having a companion, is one of the best things to help with PTSD. A dog always makes you happy, always wants to be with you.

‘Going to Paris was both exciting and nerve-wracking, but I left the house at 6am and just sped there.

‘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.

‘Everyone’s got their lives, my parents and girlfriend are at work, and so when I get back I at least know I’ve got my dog, and she’ll always be there.’

When Sean found Barrie she had her nestled in rubble from a school that had exploded and collapsed.

A terrified Barrie, surrounded by four dead puppies, initially rejected Sean’s advances – but he refused to give up.

He made sure she was safe and brought her food and drink, and cordoned off the area as it wasn’t safe from explosives.

After three days the furry pooch grew to trust Sean and the two became inseparable in the three months he was in Syria.

Sean named her Barrie when he first spotted her, and by the time he came to discover she was a girl, the name had already stuck.

Barrie spent each day following Sean on jobs in Raqqa, and even had a harness made from a bullet-proof vest and a plush teddy bear made of jeans made for her.

Barrie, pictured with Sean today, is a calm and happy dog despite the trauma of his early life in Syria

Barrie, pictured with Sean today, is a calm and happy dog despite the trauma of his early life in Syria

Barrie, pictured with Sean today, is a calm and happy dog despite the trauma of his early life in Syria

Sean made a jacket for Barrie and the pair travelled together on his jobs across Syria 

Sean made a jacket for Barrie and the pair travelled together on his jobs across Syria 

Sean made a jacket for Barrie and the pair travelled together on his jobs across Syria 

Sean who now runs a gym is getting Barrie used to life in Essex after she moved from Syria and she helps with his training

Sean who now runs a gym is getting Barrie used to life in Essex after she moved from Syria and she helps with his training

Sean who now runs a gym is getting Barrie used to life in Essex after she moved from Syria and she helps with his training

Sean, who now runs a gym, said: ‘I think as soon as Barrie and I bonded, where I could pick her up, for me she’d already become my dog.

‘When we got back to camp, she lived in my room, I looked after her, I was responsible for her. She slept in my room, I was training her, I was feeding her.

‘She stayed with me every day all 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 contacted War Paws – a charity based in Iraq who specialise in bringing dogs home from war-torn areas – to find a way to bring Barrie back with him after his contract was due to run out.

In February, Sean set up a gofundme page to bring Barrie to the UK and raised £4,500 – but that was the first of many hurdles in their path.

Barrie was brought to Iraq in April where she was vaccinated and checked by War Paws before being flown to Jordan in August, where she was quarantined for two months.

In April, after four months in Syria, Sean returned to the UK for a short leave when his contract was abruptly cancelled, and he was informed that he wouldn’t be returning to Syria.

Barrie hiding in Raqqa in February after being found by Sean Laidlaw. She was surrounded by her dead siblings after the school they sheltered in blew up

Barrie hiding in Raqqa in February after being found by Sean Laidlaw. She was surrounded by her dead siblings after the school they sheltered in blew up

Barrie hiding in Raqqa in February after being found by Sean Laidlaw. She was surrounded by her dead siblings after the school they sheltered in blew up

Sean Laidlaw, 30, was stationed in Syria in February 2018 as a private contractor leading a bomb disposal team when he found whimpering Barrie

Sean Laidlaw, 30, was stationed in Syria in February 2018 as a private contractor leading a bomb disposal team when he found whimpering Barrie

Sean Laidlaw, 30, was stationed in Syria in February 2018 as a private contractor leading a bomb disposal team when he found whimpering Barrie

Barrie would not go to Sean at first but he returned over a number of days to build up her trust

Barrie would not go to Sean at first but he returned over a number of days to build up her trust

Barrie would not go to Sean at first but he returned over a number of days to build up her trust

He said: ‘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.

‘I thought there might be a security issue, but then I got a call that night saying the contract is cancelled and that everyone is being sent back home.

‘I put the phone down and immediately called the charity, I didn’t think of anything else and tried to see how I could get Barrie home.

‘When it came to going home without her, I thought I’d never be able to leave her so I started thinking about how I could bring her back.

‘It’s very difficult to be apart, my biggest issue was that I never had that moment with her to say goodbye as when I left I thought I’d see her in a couple weeks.

‘But then months passed and she’s gone from a puppy to a full-grown dog. That was hard for me, as I worried she was a totally different dog.’

The plan to fly Barrie to London Heathrow in late October quickly collapsed as Barrie was missing some paperwork and the nervous pooch wasn’t allowed to travel.

Barrie was told his contract was cancelled but Barrie remained in Syria. The former soldier began to look for ways to get her home

Barrie was told his contract was cancelled but Barrie remained in Syria. The former soldier began to look for ways to get her home

Barrie was told his contract was cancelled but Barrie remained in Syria. The former soldier began to look for ways to get her home

Sean and Barrie helped one another through their time in the war zone but Sean said it was the puppy who saved his life 

Sean and Barrie helped one another through their time in the war zone but Sean said it was the puppy who saved his life 

Sean and Barrie helped one another through their time in the war zone but Sean said it was the puppy who saved his life 

Reunited at last! Barrie and Sean met again at Charles De Gaulle Airport after seven months apart 

Reunited at last! Barrie and Sean met again at Charles De Gaulle Airport after seven months apart 

Reunited at last! Barrie and Sean met again at Charles De Gaulle Airport after seven months apart 

Sean Laidlaw, 30, anxiously waiting for Barrie in Paris on Saturday after he successfully found a charity to help bring her home 

Sean Laidlaw, 30, anxiously waiting for Barrie in Paris on Saturday after he successfully found a charity to help bring her home 

Sean Laidlaw, 30, anxiously waiting for Barrie in Paris on Saturday after he successfully found a charity to help bring her home 

Sean made a vest for Barrie from a bomb jacket and a teddy bear from old denim jeans 

Sean made a vest for Barrie from a bomb jacket and a teddy bear from old denim jeans 

Sean made a vest for Barrie from a bomb jacket and a teddy bear from old denim jeans 

Barrie travelled with Sean on jobs around Syria as he worked dismantling explosives in the war-torn country

Barrie travelled with Sean on jobs around Syria as he worked dismantling explosives in the war-torn country

Barrie travelled with Sean on jobs around Syria as he worked dismantling explosives in the war-torn country

Barrie has grown up significantly since the pair were separated and now Sean will get her used to life in the UK

Barrie has grown up significantly since the pair were separated and now Sean will get her used to life in the UK

Barrie has grown up significantly since the pair were separated and now Sean will get her used to life in the UK

The heart-melting journey that brought a soldier from Essex and an abandoned dog from Syria together finally came to its culmination on Saturday, November 3

The heart-melting journey that brought a soldier from Essex and an abandoned dog from Syria together finally came to its culmination on Saturday, November 3

The heart-melting journey that brought a soldier from Essex and an abandoned dog from Syria together finally came to its culmination on Saturday, November 3

Barrie was alone without Sean for seven months while he battled to have her brought back to the UK 

Barrie was alone without Sean for seven months while he battled to have her brought back to the UK 

Barrie was alone without Sean for seven months while he battled to have her brought back to the UK 

Sean was prepared to fly to Jordan to pick up his best friend, but owner of War Paws, Louise Hastie, came to the rescue as she was already flying two dogs from Jordan to Paris.

Sean made the 12-hour journey from Essex to Paris at 6am on Saturday, November 3, in what he says was a surreal feeling.

Sean said: ‘All the help we’ve received to bring us together has been amazing, just to bring one dog to Essex, it’s been incredible.

‘Thinking about having Barrie with me now, the life we can have together – it’s surreal.

‘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. She’s exactly as she was back in Syria, it was just great to have my dog again.

‘I’d be willing to travel across the whole world to have Barrie with me.’ 

Continue Reading
You may also like...

More in News

To Top