The pet dog took a trip of 3,000 miles to reunite with the soldier who saved her. It goes without saying that military life isn’t easy, especially when soldiers are deployed overseas. Not only do they face threats around every corner, but they’re also homesick and sad. That’s why it’s so important for soldiers to have an outlet to rely on during all the chaos.
This soldier found his outlet while overseas, but when it was time for a change, he had to do some fast thinking before it was too late.
During a shocking rescue attempt that he never imagined happening in the Syrian civil war, Sean Laidlaw thought he could handle anything that Syria had to throw at him, especially considering that he’d already served two tours in Afghanistan. Sean and his fellow soldiers in the Royal Engineers were deployed by the British Military in 2018. Sean is an expert at pacifying and removing bombs. Throughout the last several years, the Syrian civil war has wreaked havoc on the country, particularly in the city of Raqqa.
While there were a large number of surrounding buildings crumbling to the ground around Sean, there were a number of buildings that had undetonated bombs inside them. Life in the army wasn’t a walk in the park for Sean or for anyone. There was rarely anything exciting happening in camp, and the troops’ morale was definitely suffering because of it. So in February, Sean almost felt happy to be called out to explore a flopped-out school. Shawn couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary while he was patrolling the area, but when he really tuned into his surroundings, he thought he could hear the sound of a faint whimper somewhere below all the rubble.
Shawn began to follow the noise and soon started digging.
Suddenly, the noise that Shawn was hearing was coming from a young puppy. The pup, which looked like some type of Asian shepherd mix, quickly retreated from Shawn when he tried to reach out. Without hesitating, Shawn realized that he had to do something to help the terrified dog. But then he saw something that made him recoil – a sad sight.
All of a sudden, Shawn realized that there were a few other pups surrounding the one he had just found. Sadly, none had survived when the building collapsed. It was clear that the poor pup had lost her entire family. That’s when Shawn realized that he couldn’t just leave her there all alone to starve in the rubble. Tiny steps The pup was still very scared, so he didn’t really want to go near any strangers.
Shawn decided it was best to do the simplest thing that he could. He got a little bit of water and some food, and that was clearly enough to call the scared pup out of her hiding place. New friends It took four days before the pup would let Shawn touch her. That was when Shawn realized he was able to pick her up. Shawn decided that he should bring her back to the base with him.
He was looking forward to introducing his new friend to all his pals, but she really needed her own name. First, a new name Shawn chose the name Berry for the sweet, little girl, and soon enough she became a permanent member of the Royal Engineers. In fact, she hardly ever left Shawn’s side. “She stayed with me all day, every day. She did tasks with me.
I would wake up, she’d come eat with me. She would then sit in the passenger seat of my car when we drove,” Shawn said in an interview with Mail.
Online, reassuring friend Shawn explained that having the sweet puppy around all the time made him happy. “Working in a war zone, coming back to camp, sitting in your room by yourself, to have a friend you can play with and train, it kept my mind away from all the things I was seeing and doing out there,” he said. “You can only imagine how bad Syria is.
” An outlet: Sadly, most of Shawn’s fellow soldiers suffered from PTSD, but Shawn was able to find a calming outlet in Berry. “She provided me a bit of normality. She definitely kept me sane.” He said, “She raised the morale of other soldiers by sitting in their laps when they had bad days.” Best buds: “I feel like it might find that I saved Berry’s life, but I feel like she saved mine,” said Shawn.
He was certainly more than happy to have found Berry. The two had become so close that Shawn couldn’t imagine spending even one day without Berry in his life. It was official. Berry had become such a major member of the Royal Engineers that Shawn knew he had to make it official. So he stitched together a bomb team vest, so Berry could have one of her very own.
But they would soon find out that Berry’s danger was closer than they thought. Going home: Shawn got word that his time in Syria was almost over in the fall of 2018. He was finally going home. But what was going to happen to Berry once he wasn’t there to take care of her? He had no clue if he’d ever see Berry again, and he certainly didn’t know if she would even have a home at the base when he left.
Battle paws: All of Shawn’s comrades celebrated on the trip back to the United Kingdom. But all Shawn could do was think about Berry.
“That’s when an incredible idea popped into his mind. Shawn remembered hearing about Battle Paws, a charity that helps unite veterans with the dogs that they served within the military. Shawn quickly set up a GoFundMe account to get funds to help get Berry back home with him.
The volunteers who work with Battle Paws seemed pretty confident that they’d be able to reunite Shawn with Berry. More Paws got safely out of Syria to Iraq. Then the dog had to be quarantined for three months. Finally, Shawn was told to go to the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris to pick up Berry. As the staff of the airport slowly rolled a dog crate out of the plane, Shawn saw her furry face peering through the door.
Berry was staring back at him. She had made it to Paris. Trying not to cry, Shawn reached his hand out to pet Berry through the cage. This was not a puppy anymore. She was a big dog now.
Shawn worried that she would not recognize him, but she certainly did. “It was pure joy when she realized who I was. She’s exactly as she was back in Syria. It was just great to have my dog again,” he said. Shawn returned home to Hornchurch with Berry happily sitting right by his side.
Berry had no problem settling in with Shawn. She sure had changed a lot since being that scared little puppy that was afraid of Shawn. It took a 3,000-mile trip, a 12-hour car ride, and traveling through five countries to finally get them together. Thanks to the help of people at Battle Paws and all the friends and strangers who donated to Shawn’s GoFundMe account, this man and his dog will have a wonderful life together. Cheers to a long and happy friendship, Berry and Shawn.
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