ATTLEBORO, Mass. (CBS Boston) – U.S. Army Captain AJ Ferraro wrapped up his tour in Afghanistan two months earlier than expected.

“I didn’t tell a soul, and it was quite its own military operation to keep it secret,” he told WBZ-TV in Boston.

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So he mapped out a plan with his best friend to surprise his family at their Attleboro home last month. “I saw AJ, and I started crying of course,” his mother, Carol Ferraro, said.

But little did AJ know, his mom and dad had a doggy waiting to see him! “It was just an awesome, great surprise,” he said.

Captain AJ Ferraro and his dog Pagunda. (Courtesy photo)

When AJ showed up, a familiar pup named Pagunda was right next to his parents. He’s a dog AJ fell in love with in Afghanistan and was in the process of adopting.

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“He was there at the door wagging his tail, and I just lost it. I showed up in the front door, and I didn’t know who to talk to first, who to see first my parents – my mom, the dog,” said AJ.

AJ met Pagunda through an organization called “Nowzad.” It rescues animals in Afghanistan, helping them find new homes, often with deployed soldiers. “They were saying the organization said that he was probably injured either in a car accident or something or maybe an IED it’s really not known,” said AJ.

AJ is thankful his mom Carol was able to get Pagunda stateside, and Carol is just glad her boy is home safe. “I am so proud of him; don’t make me cry now. Army mom,” she proudly said.

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Now that AJ is home, he’s in a transition period. He says he plans to stay in the Army Reserves and wants to continue serving his nation by working for the government. He’s got a great sidekick now to help him along the way.