UPDATE 11 Nov 2015: Because many people ask, Gracie is doing well these days. She turned 12 this summer and moves a lot slower, but she is still a good dog and a great friend. We take a long walk each morning.
I'm uploading this for family. This was the day I came back from Kandahar in Sept. 2005. Life has changed since then. But Gracie is still a good dog.
UPDATE: (11-13-2009) – This is crazy. I posted this years ago along with three other clips of my 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.
Take care, all – A.S.
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 on 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.
Take care. This was a fun week, but it's over now. I have to go change a diaper, then walk Gracie.
Andy and family.
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 is half Corgi, and a bunch of others, I'm sure). 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 know 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.
DECEMBER UPDATE (12-30-2009): Thanks to everyone who clicked the ads. This week I received a check for $602.23 from Google Adsense, which I am donating to the Alexandria Animal Shelter today (already spoke to them via e-mail). Obviously, the attention on this clip has come and gone, but it still gets some hits from time-to-time. Have a happy new year everyone.