After a year of service in Afghanistan, a South Carolina couple was reunited with their pets this afternoon in East Tennessee.
The Leas have been keeping their dogs, Sadie and Scout, with the Nichols family of Sevierville ever since they were deployed. Michelle Lea left for Afghanistan October 2011. Dru, her husband, did the same April 2012.
"We both were gone, and neither our family or our friends were able to take them in, said Michelle Lea.
Before the Leas left, they got involved in a program named, "Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pets." It's a foster home program for the pets of military service members. It was founded in 2005 and is available to soldiers in all branches of the armed forces to use.
More Information: Guardian Angels website
Through the program, the Leas, who are based in South Carolina, were connected with the Nichols in Sevierville.
We just had this beautiful home with this big backyard, and I put in an application, said Crystal Nichols, who first heard of the program through the news.
She said it was important that she and her family find a way to help.
"Because, if we weren't there, where would the dogs go, what would happen to them?" she said.
The Leas said they appreciated the help too. Back from Afghanistan, and fresh off their wedding, the couple picked up their two excited. dogs Saturday from the Nichols.
"The Nichols were able to save the day," Lea said.