NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - A gold star family on Long Island welcomed its newest member—a puppy.
Mila, 7, and Eva, 5, thought they were going to play with puppies on Friday. Little did they know, just one puppy was in the truck—and Calvin was all theirs.
"My plan is to keep him forever and ever and never get rid of him," Eva said.
The 4-month-old black Labrador retriever is just what the girls had been hoping for.
Their dad, Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, an Air National Guard airman and an FDNY lieutenant, was one of seven men killed in Iraq when their helicopter crashed in March. He promised to bring home a puppy for the girls when he came home in June.
It was a devastating loss for everyone, but most of all, Eva.
"The deal she made with Daddy is that she would keep his side of the bed warm until he got home and she hasn't left," mom Carmella Raguso said. "So I'm thinking maybe her and Calvin can keep her bed warm and let mommy have some peace at night."
And that's exactly her plan. Where will Calvin sleep?
"In my bed with me," Eva said. "I used to not sleep in my bed because I had nobody to sleep with me."
Calvin was one of 11 dogs rescued from a kill shelter in the South. Paws of War is placing them with veterans and veteran families on Long Island.
"Hopefully, this dog will really change their life," Paws of War co-founder Robert Misseri said. "Pray and be grateful for our armed forces every single day. This is why we live free like this."
Carmella can imagine what her husband would say.
"'Carm, keep the backyard clean—don't let the dog destroy the house,'" she said. "But I think he'd be tremendously happy."
"I don't care if he chews one of my toys, it's fine," Eva said. "I will never get rid of him. He's the best."
Calvin is part of a fresh start and much-needed unconditional love for the girls.