In a world that sometimes seems filled with hardness and hate, Casey the schnauzer of Murrysville has offered approximately 20 million YouTube fans a look at loyalty and unconditional love so intense she apparently fainted from joy during a reunion with her long-lost owner last week.
In the video, which was filmed on Wednesday and posted on Thursday under the title “Dog Passes Out with Overwhelming Joy,” 29-year-old Rebecca Svetina returns to her parents’ home after a two-year absence overseas and reunites with Casey, one of the family’s four schnauzers. And although Ms. Svetina has lived in Slovenia for six of Casey’s nine years, the schnauzer cries with excitement, then collapses several times on the family’s gravel driveway in an apparent overload of doggy emotion.
“She gets really excited for a lot of people, but two years -- or 14 years in dog years -- was just too long for her, I guess,” said Mrs. Svetina, a Murrysville native who now lives in Slovenia with her husband, 31-year-old Miha Svetina.
Casey often squeals with excitement at seeing family members after an absence, but usually she stops after a minute, and she has never fainted before, said Mrs. Svetina’s father, Greg Ehalt. A visit to the vet showed all was well, he said.
“She didn’t seem to be any worse for the wear, her heartbeat seemed to be good,” Mr. Ehalt said. “She was running a little fever, so maybe that combined with all the excitement caused it.”
Mr. Svetina’s mother and sister back in Slovenia wanted to see the dog-meets-girl reunion, but the video file was too large to email, Mrs. Svetina said. So, never intending or expecting widespread public attention, the family posted the reunion on YouTube, she said.
Then, what was intended mostly as a moment of family sharing quickly morphed into a worldwide phenomenon that gobbled millions of views each day and evoked an almost infinite number of variations of “aw,” “so cute,” “incredibly beautiful” and yes, a few derisive comments, in many languages on several continents among the video’s approximately 20 million viewers.
The video gone viral also brought a thunderclap of media requests and other phone calls to the family home as the Svetinas, who married in Slovenia last year, and their extended family prepared to celebrate their local wedding picnic on Saturday.
After the celebration, the family got down to the serious business on Sunday of responding to interview requests from local media outlets, “Good Morning America” and even CNN.
As Mrs. Svetina sat with Casey before the CNN interview and listened to the buzz of bad news from her ear piece -- the conflicts in Gaza and Israel, more deaths in Benghazi, the spread of Ebola virus in Africa -- it made sense that so many people have tuned into her reunion with her dog, she said.
“I think with all the negative news you hear -- all the news for half an hour in my ear piece was negative -- I think such a heartwarming, happy story of homecoming, and a puppy, and people love dogs, that is one reason it went viral,” Mrs. Svetina said. “It’s a breather, a laugh, and if you show one funny, cute video at a coffee break, everyone feels better.”
Amy McConnell Schaarsmith: firstname.lastname@example.org