Dogs are considered man’s best friend, and one dog seemed to prove that overwhelmingly in a heartfelt, emotional reaction to seeing her owner when he returned from a six-month overseas deployment with the U.S. Navy.
The video posted to YouTube shows Lt. Gary Daugherty coming up the stairs inside his home, calling out, “Where’s Buggy? Where’s my puppy?”
The puppy – well, the dog, a black Labrador/blue heeler mix whose full name is Bugaboo – came rushing to greet him.
Weighing in at 72 pounds, the dog launches herself at Daugherty, standing up on her hind legs and putting her front paws on his shoulders. She licks his face and yips repeatedly.
As Daugherty moves to a chair, she maintains contact, following and climbing up onto his lap.
For more than two minutes, the dog whines, barks, yips and emits anxious-sounding yowls while Daugherty cradles her and talks to her. “I know!” he said, as if in reply to her effusive vocalizations. “Did you miss me?” “Daddy was gone a long time.”
At one point, Bugaboo throws her head back and howls, wagging her tail fiercely the entire time.
In an interview with ABC News on Tuesday evening, Daugherty said he and his dog had a special bond but that she’d never reacted this way before.
“She was just going crazy, and I was just like, ‘Oh, my baby.’ I was talking to her just a little bit,” he said. “She didn’t leave my side the rest of the night.”
His wife, Sarah, recorded the reunion. Daugherty, 30, said it was his first deployment with the Navy, and he wanted to surprise his pet upon his return.
He never expected the moment to elicit such a strong reaction online. Since he posted the video to YouTube on June 11, shortly after the emotional reunion, it’s been viewed more than 4 million times.
Some viewers wrote that the video had moved them to tears.
One YouTube user wrote two days ago that the video showed “possibly THE best puppy/human reunion I’ve ever seen! What a great start that is to my day! Thank you for sharing, and I pray for another happy reunion … God bless!!”
Another user wrote: “What a beautiful animal. And for the record. This old man cried. Then I watched it again, and I cried again. What a bond they have.”
Daugherty is gratified that that most of the comments were positive. Although some commenters brought up “stuff about war,” Daugherty said the video had nothing to do with war or politics.
“I always want me and Buggy to be used by God to bring joy to people, because my dog — anybody that has ever met my dog, people that don’t like dogs like my dog,” he said.
Daugherty is scheduled to be deployed again soon and says he’d be happy to post another video showing the next reunion with Bugaboo.
“You know, that there were so many people touched by the video means a lot,” he said.