Puppy With Serious Injury Makes A Dramatic Move To Finally Find Help

Botswana is landscaped with vast grasslands and dry deserts. The land is harsh and unforgiving, even for its native animal residents, like lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and large elephants. Life is a constant battle, and only the fittest will survive…

So researchers were absolutely shocked and confused when a paralyzed puppy dragged herself into their remote camp one day. The little dog, Poppy, was gravely injured and her fate was up in the air until an unlikely chain of events happened.

Susanne Vogel and her team work in the northern Okavango region, a remote area of Botswana. They conduct elephant research throughout the African region, which is heavily run by very large elephants.

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You can imagine the team’s surprise when they saw a puppy dragging itself into camp one day. Botswana is full of deadly predators, so the researchers were quite baffled at how she even managed to survive thus far.

“She came crawling — literally crawling because her back legs were completely immobilized — into our research camp,” Susanne said. “She was unable to walk, but full of love and seeking help.”


The team assessed the puppy’s condition and quickly realized that she had been involved in some type of accident. It crushed her spine and left her lower half completely paralyzed. She was on her own and clearly desperate.

The researchers took her in and named her Poppy. They cleaned her, fed her, and built up her strength before taking her to the nearest veterinarian.

Poppy and the team traveled eight hours on dangerous terrain before taking a ferry across the river to the veterinary office. Here is where they’d find out Poppy’s chance of survival…

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After a thorough examination, they learned that she was most likely around seven months old and that she might need major spinal surgery if she was going to make it to adulthood.

Unfortunately, the veterinarian told the researchers that Poppy’s survival was slim at best. They refused to believe it and knew there was something very special about the pup — Poppy was a fighter.

Poppy continued to eat, heal, and bond with her rescuers. They couldn’t believe her will to fight, given her circumstances. As she grew stronger, her bubbly personality and resilient spirit became impossible for anyone to ignore.

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

Amanda, from the vet clinic, made a GoFundMe account to help raise money for Poppy’s future care, surgeries, and medical expenses. They humbly asked the public to help raise $3,000 to give Poppy the chance to live.

News of Poppy’s story quickly spread across social media. The GoFundMe page exploded overnight and they met their $3,000 goal. In fact, the fundraiser raised over $10,000 for Poppy’s care.

As Poppy grew stronger they reassessed her progress. She was getting healthier, but the veterinarian was still concerned about performing surgery out of fear she wouldn’t make it.

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

They agreed to try some anti-inflammatory medication teamed with physical therapy to strengthen her back legs. They even got special permission to let Poppy use a local pool for water therapy.

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

Additionally, with the help of a special elastic band, vet volunteers also worked on trying to get Poppy to stand on her own. It wasn’t easy, but she was up for it!

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

Amanda shared on the GoFundMe page, “Our plan now is to get her ready in the next month for travel to Johannesburg where she can see a specialist, and we can make a decision about whether surgery is needed or what the next steps might be for a wheelchair and a new home.”

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

Poppy was making some serious progress and was able to stand on her own four paws for a few seconds at a time. She was also able to move her back legs slightly when she was lying down or being held. It was time to travel to Johannesburg for her MRI and prognosis.

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

In Johannesburg, it was revealed that Poppy’s spinal chord was completely severed between two vertebrates and there was fluid and swelling around the injury. Surgery wouldn’t make a difference in Poppy’s recovery.


The good news was Poppy had shown no signs of pain since her therapy had begun. The vet believed the best option was for Poppy was to be fitted for a set of wheels to help her race around.

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

The good news didn’t stop there. Poppy’s journey was going to take her back to the states where she would get her “furever” home with MaryBeth Hastings and her loving family.

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

Animal shelters and volunteers all over the world do incredible work every day, rescuing poor creatures like Poppy, nurturing them and getting them ready for their new loving homes. But sometimes it’s the heroes we don’t suspect that come through…

Poppy the Puppy who Stole our Hearts / Facebook

After two tours in Afghanistan, Sean Laidlaw (left) figured he could handle anything Syria threw at him. But when the British Army deployed Sean and his comrades in the Royal Engineers in 2018, he leaped into a rescue attempt that he never saw coming.

Facebook / Sean Laidlaw

Sean was an expert at defusing and removing bombs. The Syrian Civil War had ravaged the country over the last several years, especially in the city of Raqqa. While many buildings crumbled around him, others still had undetonated explosives inside.

Reuters / Erik De Castro

Even when Sean wasn’t on patrol, the army life was a grind. Exciting moments in the camp were few and far between, and troop morale suffered greatly. When Sean got a call to investigate a bombed-out school in February, he was almost grateful.

Tom Bonnett

As Sean patrolled the area, he couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary. When he really focused, however, he thought he could hear a faint whimpering somewhere under the rubble. Sean followed the noise and started digging.

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It was a puppy! The canine, which appeared to be some kind of Asian shepherd mix, backed away from Sean as he reached out. Sean knew he had to do something to help the poor thing, but then a horrific sight made him recoil.

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A few other puppies surrounded the one Sean just found. Tragically, none of them had survived the collapse of the building. Now that the dog lost her family, Sean realized he couldn’t just leave her in the wreckage alone.

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The pup still wouldn’t go near any strangers, so Sean did the sensible thing. He pulled out some water and a couple bites of food, and that was enough to draw the reluctant animal out from her hiding place.

Soon after, the orphaned canine let its guard down and allowed Sean to pick her up. There was an immediate bond. Sean decided to bring her back to base and introduce his new friend to all his squadmates. First, of course, she would need a name.

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Sean called her Barrie, and she soon became a fixture in the Royal Engineers, barely ever leaving Sean’s side. Once she got settled in, Barrie accomplished quite a bit of good as well.

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The Army interacted with a number of Syrian children, many of whom lost their homes and family members. Amid the chaos and destruction, having a friendly dog roam around made a big difference in their lives.

Times of Israel / Bilal Hussein

Sean also believes that having Barrie around gave him an escape from the stress and trauma of the military life. Whereas some of his comrades developed mental illness or PTSD, Sean at least had an outlet and companion.

Incredibly grateful to have such a valuable friend, Sean said “I feel like it may come across that I saved Barrie’s life, but I feel like she saved mine.” They got so close that Sean could no longer imagine being apart from Barrie.

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Barrie became such a big member of the team that Sean decided to make it official and sewed together a custom bomb squad vest for Barrie. Aside from being a big fashion statement, the vest kept her protected from danger. However, it turned out that her biggest threat was right around the corner.

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In autumn of 2018, Sean received word that his stint in Syria was almost over. He was going home — but only with one ticket. What would happen to Barrie once he left? He didn’t know if he would ever see his dog again, or even if she would still have a home at the Army base.

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Sean’s comrades celebrated the entire trip back to the United Kingdom, but Barrie weighed heavily on his mind. Then, an idea popped into his head. He remembered hearing about a charity called War Paws that helped reconnect veterans with their military dogs.

War Paws workers seemed confident they could help Sean, but there were no guarantees. They instructed him to go to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to await the arrival of a military plane. He waited nervously, hoping Barrie would be one of the passengers getting off.

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As the airline staff rolled out a dog crate, Sean recognized a familiar face peering through the door. Barrie made it to Europe after all! Holding back tears of joy, Sean reached out to hand her a gift.

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He got Barrie a new and improved vest! She took a look in the airport mirror to size up her new duds — and her new surroundings. The streets of Raqqa, Syria, were all Barrie had ever known, so Sean hoped she would adjust to British life easily enough.

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With Barrie back in his arms, Sean returned home to Hornchurch, Essex. She settled in immediately — a far cry from the scared puppy that wouldn’t come out of the ruined school. Thanks to a stable home and steady diet, Barrie grew like a weed too!

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A full-grown dog, Barrie continued to live happily with Sean. After going through so much together, there’s no doubt that this pair would never let anything split them apart ever again.

ITV / Ken McKay

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