This is a truly great story full of contrasting emotions; a story of hope, courage and persistence. And even though the puppy whose life was at stake didn’t make it, all the efforts that were made trying to get her home were not in vain.
It happened in Iraq, in a country torn up by war where not only humans are victims but animals as well. And this time, it was a 7-week old puppy who suffered the consequences. In only a week, she was found, rescued, partially healed, loved like she was never loved in her life, fully funded to go home to Scotland and buried after she lost the battle of her life.
It was an ex royal marine from Neilston, Alex Cairnie, who heard crying and whimpering for days until he finally found the source: a small white puppy wedged under a container in an oil field near Basra. She was dehydrated, starving, covered in ticks and hard glue -which kept her from moving and she was covered in open wounds.
Alex, being an animal lover himself, cleaned her wounds, removed over 30 ticks from her ears, shaved off all of her matted fur to remove the hardened glue and named her War Paws after an animal welfare charity who cares for animals suffering in hostile environments and wars. He saw she wanted to fight so he gave her a chance.
He was willing to adopt her and take her home with him back to Scotland, so he got a friend to drive her to the nearest vet to be vaccinated and treated, but health problems just kept turning up. She kept passing blood, probably because of organ damage due to dehydration and she was even thought to have Parvo –a highly contagious virus.
Alex was still coordinating efforts with an Iraq-based rescue and a Scotland-based rescue to save War Paws life. Another friend set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover all of her medical and travel expenses and he opened a Facebook page called “War Paws -let’s bring her home” to share updates.
The support was unbelievable. In only 5 days they gathered over £7,000 and the Facebook group got almost 5,000 members. So many people wanted to see War Paws having the happy ending she deserved. Sadly, she didn’t make it. A week after she was rescued, she passed away. In Alex’s words:
“No matter how hard she fought back every time the odds were always massively against her. In the end she doesn’t get the life she would have had with me and my family and I don’t get to give all you guys the icing on the cake that you deserve so much (…) I am not interested in sympathy although I am ripped inside and feel sick I am sorry I couldn’t make it happen, I really am”
All the money collected will be donated to War Paws, the animal welfare group, so they can give the same chance of survival to other dogs caught up in the middle of war zones that so desperately need help.
READ MORE: 21 DOGS RESCUED AS PART OF AN OPERATION THAT HAS ALREADY SAVED 131 ANIMALS. THESE ARE TRUE HEROES!
War Paws didn’t get to live a happy life in a forever home but in that week, she felt more love than she ever felt before and that made all of Alex’s efforts totally worth it. May she rest in peace.