Canines Had Been Left Behind In War-Torn Afghanistan

PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was a hero’s welcome home Wednesday for eight canine crusaders.

Five U.S. soldiers were reunited with Sheba and her 5-month-old puppies dubbed the “Magnificent Seven” in Port Jefferson Station. The pack became a part of their military family while the soldiers were serving in Afghanistan, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

“When you come off of a mission, it was really nice to go out there and feed them and just have them there to brighten up your day and get your mind off things you’d done or seen,” Sgt. Travis Burton, of Cincinnati, said.

Staff Sgt. Edwin Caba, of Long Beach, Long Island, and his fellow soldiers were devastated when they returned to the United States and had to leave the dogs behind. Caba made it his mission to bring them to America. After a few phone calls, Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Port Jefferson Station, along with Guardians of Rescue, raised more than $15,000 to bring the dogs to their new homes.

“We started falling in love” with the dogs, Caba said. “They started growing up and getting their own personalities. To see them here today is just fantastic.”

Added Sgt. Alex Rotundi, of Syracuse: “So excited to see him and her. I just love the energy of these puppies.”

All the dogs will be going home with a soldier. Sheba, the mother, will be trained to be a service dog and will be placed in the home of a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Save-A-Pet volunteers said their nonprofit group is still raising donations to pay for the rescue and that they desperately need donations to keep their center open.

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