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Happy reunion between dog and returning soldier takes YouTube by storm

November 17, 2009 |  5:43 pm

More than four years after it was recorded, a home video uploaded to YouTube so it could be shared with family members has become a big hit with animal lovers virtually overnight. 

The video, filmed in September 2005, shows the ecstatic reaction of family dog Gracie when owner Andrew Schmidt, then a lieutenant in the Air National Guard, returned to his Virginia home after a five-month tour of duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  (Schmidt, now a captain, will return to Afghanistan next year.)  Schmidt's wife, Jen, filmed the clip, which has since racked up more than 840,000 views, most of them just in the past few days.

Gracie, now 6 years old, was an only "child" at the time the video was filmed (the Schmidts now have a son named Anthony), and the couple told The Today Show that the dog, much like many human children whose parents have shipped out, began to exhibit some behavior problems after Andrew left. Dogs "really do act like kids," Andrew said in the Today interview. 

Writing on YouTube, Schmidt said he's "glad that this clip of Gracie has made so many people happy. If it makes you smile, it's a good thing." 

But Schmidt was quick to shift the focus back to those servicemembers still serving in the Mideast, adding, "My buddy Steve Taylor who is in Iraq wrote me to say that it bummed him out" because it reminded him of his own dog at home.

In what Schmidt described as his "FINAL FINAL UPDATE" to the video's explanatory text, he extolled the virtues of pet adoption, explaining that Gracie is a rescue dog who "was on doggie death row -- she had been there for four months -- when we got her. She was days away, and she's been the best dog and a vital part of our family for the past five years. It's funny that a little dog that was found abandoned in a pen in West Virginia, completely neglected, could put a smile on so many faces."  Amen to that!

-- Lindsay Barnett

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