MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – More than 200 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard will be coming home soon from a nine-month deployment to Egypt.

And for a few soldiers, they’ll have a new best friend waiting for them.

Dogs that the soldiers rescued and befriended overseas arrived at MSP International Airport Monday night.

Family, friends and one soldier who already returned home were there to pick up the animals.

In Egypt, they found the dogs whimpering under their building, and since they couldn’t keep dogs on base they worked with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to take care of them for five months and get them to the U.S.

John Goebel was at the airport picking up his friends’ dog, and expects his dog to arrive home next month.

“They were laying in the streets, laying in the dirt,” Goebel said. “Here a dog is supposed to have a home. And I felt bad because this is an animal to them and to us it’s a companion and we love to have them around. So that’s why we decided to take care of these five puppies and make sure that they got healthy and whatnot.”

Candes Stiever’s son is deployed with this group of soldiers. She drove up from Winona and picked up his dog Monday evening.

“I think it means a lot to him. I mean kept him company while he was there,” Stiever said. “I am happy. I’ll be even happier to see my son.”

The soldiers from the Mankato-based 135th Infantry Regiment spent the better part of the last year on the Sinai Peninsula, observing and reporting on the 1979 peace treaty signed between Israel and Egypt.

They recently handed over command and are in Texas, in the process of returning to civilian life.

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