Animals

Former Soldier And His Dog Rescued From Syrian Rubble Named Finalists For Crufts Award

Sean Laidlaw found Barrie, an Asian Shepherd-cross, while working as a bomb disposal expert in Syria.

A former soldier and the dog he rescued from a bombed-out building in Syria have been chosen as finalists for an award at Crufts next month.

Sean Laidlaw, who spent eight years in the Army as a Royal Engineer, pulled out Barrie from under the rubble while working in the country as a bomb disposal expert.

The pair have now been named as finalists for the Kennel Club Friends For Life award. 

Mr Laidlaw was in the city of Raqqa, checking the area before civilians could move back when he found Barrie while clearing a government building.

"Near the building was a school," Mr Laidlaw told Forces News last summer.

"It was our safe area, and when we went past it, we heard what sounded like a child crying, really loud and high pitched.

"A small cave had been formed in the collapse of the building and she [Barrie] was there. She was the only one alive."

Barrie, who was just a puppy at the time, quickly grew close to Mr Laidlaw and the pair became inseparable.

The Asian Shepherd-cross soon became a key part of her owner's team and joined them on tasks.

"It was always someone's job [to look after Barrie]," Mr Laidlaw said.

"If something went wrong, you would grab Barrie."

Three months after meeting Barrie, Mr Laidlaw was due to return home.

Determined to be reunited, he set up an online fundraiser to bring his best friend to the UK but it took seven months for her to arrive.

The pair have remained inseparable since.

The winner of the Crufts award will be named on Sunday 8 March.

Cover image: Mr Laidlaw with Barrie as a puppy in Syria (Picture: Sean Laidlaw).