Golden Gracie goes viral: A Soldier’s Joyful Reunion

It all started in September 2005. This was the day (now) Captain Andrew Schmidt came back from a 5 month tour in Kandahar. It turns out Golden Retriever Gracie had been in an Alexandria, VA shelter for 4 months and was literally days away from being euthanized when the Schmidt family adopted her.

The video got renewed hits after a remembrance collage had been created, which included Gracie’s warm homecoming for her dad. And, the family was invited onto the Today Show.

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Andy did not feel he got to say all he wanted to when he appeared on the Today Show, and has provided many updates to his Youtube site.

UPDATE: (11-13-2009) – This is crazy. I posted this years ago along with three other clips of wife in Haiti for my parents to see (Jen does medical missions in Haiti and runs a clinic in Cap Haitien). They still have like 400 hits a piece. This clip had like 30,000 hits two days ago. I’m not quite sure where this attention is all coming from. [EDIT: It appears to have started at Mentalfloss.com]. Oh, and it was filmed by my wife Jen in our front yard in Springfield, VA.. Gracie is six now. She’s asleep at my feet as I’m typing this.

UPDATE (11-14-2009). O-kaaaaay. This is getting crazy. They ran this on the Today Show today. I’m not a public person … this is getting a little intimidating.
I’m glad that this clip of Gracie has made so many people happy. If it makes you smile, it’s a good thing. But please remember the men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan right now. My buddy Steve Taylor who is in Iraq wrote me to say that it bummed him out, because it reminded him of how much he missed his dog …

FINAL UPDATE (11-15-2009) Again, thanks for everyone’s kind words. Yes, we did a short (2-min) spot in the Today Show this morning. They were nice, but I didn’t get to say what I wanted to say about my friends deployed or the many Guardsmen overseas right now. But it went well (do a Google for Capt. Andrew Schmidt to see it).
We were contacted by another news outlet, but we declined. We’re 17 minutes into our 15 minutes of fame. We’re private people, and these things can get out of hand. For one, I am a staff officer in the Air Guard (even though I am past enlisted) … there are tens of thousands of combat arms soldiers and Marines on their third+ 12 month deployment down range; I’m only gearing up for my second. I don’t want to be made a symbol for something that I don’t deserve to be. You have to be careful, because you have no control when you go on TV unless you are very, very savvy (I am not). Or you get crazy and end up building a UFO weather balloon in your back yard.

FINAL FINAL UPDATE (11-16-2009) — I forgot to say this earlier, but if you ever want to get a dog, go to the pound. Pound dogs will always appreciate what you did for them. Save a life, adopt a mutt. Mixed breeds rule. Gracie 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.

FINAL, FINAL, FINAL UPDATE (11-18-2009) I wanted to point out two things that have happened as a result of this. First, Kong Toys, which makes those wonderful little rubber dog toys with the peanut butter, reached out to me so that they could send a basket to Gracie (spoiled). That’s nice, but I give the plug because they asked for my friend Steve’s parent’s contact info so that they could send a ton of stuff to them to help them look after his dog Maxine, since he’s overseas. We had some talks about how we could build a program where when Guardsmen get deployed the company can do something for the pets left behind. Hopefully more to follow that.

Second, I reached out to the Alexandria, VA, animal shelter to let them now that Gracie is one of theirs. They saved her in 2004. They were elated — those people have a tough job, and if it picks up their morale, then great. I also told them that they could use it in any way for marketing or promotion purposes, full rights. Hopefully more to follow on that as well.

Finally, I don’t want to be a jerk on this, but I see that a lot of people are ripping this video and posting it as their own because it’s viral. Then they sell ads on it. Not cool. Linking is fine, but saying that it’s your own is not. You have to fill out a form with Google claiming it as your intellectual property. If you see this somewhere else (usually with a title like “Dog goes crazy”), then I didn’t post it. [Not everyone who has reposted this had had bad intentions, BTW. Some are cool people who wanted to publicize it. But some are thieves. I know, that’s clear as mud].

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