Littorin, 46, has kept a relatively low profile ever since he announced in July 2010 he was resigning from the cabinet of Fredrik Reinfeldt for “personal reasons”.
The day before, he had been confronted by reporters about allegedly purchasing sex, although the claims were never substantiated.
Last weekend, however, news emerged that Littorin, who now works as a PR consultant, had remarried, getting hitched with 25-year-old Therése Tous Evling.
But news of the nuptials themselves was quickly overshadowed a picture taken by Littorin’s new bride, who then posted the now famous dog-toilet image on her own Facebook page.
“After a short walk I arrived home to this sight: the men in my life taking a footbath – in an oven-safe pan,” read the caption under the picture of Littorin holding the dachshund puppy.
However, Tous Evling had apparently neglected to change the security settings on her account, meaning the rather personal picture was viewable to anyone who happened to check the Facebook profile of the ex-minister’s new wife.
It didn’t take long for the image to spread like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook. By Tuesday, the picture of the puppy-holding Littorin sporting a sheepish grin as he sat on the toilet had spawned a Facebook group of its own: Vi gör en Littorin (‘We’re doing a Littorin’).
“It looked so cozy. A toilet, an animal, and a home spa in the form of a baking pan. We simply must try to do a Littorin,” the group’s description reads.
Group creator David Stark explained he felt compelled to do something after seeing the picture because it was “just so hilarious”.
“When I saw the picture I thought, ‘If I do one myself and urge others, we’ll have to see if it spreads.’ And it really took off,” he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
By Thursday, the group had nearly 1,000 members, including Littorin, as well as dozens of pictures from users who put their own spin on the former politician’s pet-hugging toilet scene.
The man who inspired the Facebook-fad eventually commented on the matter himself.
“Haha hi everyone. Yeah, ah, my dear wife took the original picture and put it up on FB without thinking much about the security settings…One can only have a laugh about it. The dog and the feet are doing well. The baking pan, however, has been retired,” Littorin wrote in a post.
In an interview with Swedish news website Nyheter24, Littorin admitted he was at first “rather shaken” that the picture of him and Sixten the puppy had been made public.
“Who wants all of Sweden to see you in your undies with a dachshund in your lap taking a foot bath?” he said.
“But when I saw the Facebook group it was really funny. I wasn’t subjected to internet bullying, quite the opposite: there was warmth and humour in the pictures and the comments.”