Sign In

Therapy Dogs Giving Reminders

September 9, 2020

Two purebred golden retrievers that spend time in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have stolen the hearts of hundreds.

Eleven-year-old “Spencer” and his 8-year-old niece, “Penny,” are pleasant pooches that have been certified volunteer therapy dogs for years.

The pair live with their owners part-time in Wickford.

“Everybody smiles when they meet them. Everyone just falls in love with them,” said Rich Powers, their owner. “They actually go visit hospitals and schools and assisted living, funeral homes alike.”

While both are well-loved, Spencer is an internet sensation. His claim to fame happened two years ago along the streets of Boston.

“Spencer became famous in 2018. He was standing at the Boston Marathon in the pouring rain holding a flag that said, ‘Boston Strong’,” said Powers. “It was seen all over the world. People from Australia reached out asking to meet him.”

Since then, the dogs have had quite the following on social media. So Powers, who’s a professional photographer, has been sharing them with others virtually.

“I started stepping it up a little bit more lately because you know the pandemic was a little more tense, so we’re trying to do more positive feel good stuff,” said Powers. “Back in March, when we first started working from home, losing track of the days were a real thing.”

Every day since the pandemic, he asks the pair to pose for pictures.

He sometimes dresses them up or has them hold personalized signs with positive messages.

Some of the most popular pictures though, are the most simple.

“When this all started, I would put the trash out more than once on the wrong day,” said Powers. “So, with them, I started to post the date and then it was the Monday, and the date, and the year.”

Powers posts the pictures of Spencer and Penny to several community groups in Rhode Island and Massachusetts with a message like, “Good morning.”

He said the response has been overwhelming.

“I was waiting for people to say, ‘Stop doing it. It’s annoying,’ but that was not the reaction I got,” said Powers. “It was like, ‘Please keep doing it’.”

Spencer and Penny don’t mind dressing up. They’re well-trained, patient, and gentle.

“You can’t have a bad day when you look at them,” said Powers. “I wanted to share that with others.”

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Pet Therapy Program

    Saturday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, which this year has a new sense of urgency for many. Covid-19 has taken a mental and emotional toll on healthcare workers across the U.S but there is a program boosting the spirits of doctors and nurses on the frontlines. At UC Irvine Medical Center in Southern […]

    Read more

    AMR Therapy Dog

    Rampart, a therapy dog with American Medical Response San Bernardino County, recently passed his Certified Therapy Dog exam. AMR acquired Rampart, a 1½-year-old goldendoodle, when he was 10 weeks old. Rampart started basic obedience classes when he was 4 months old and continued through advanced obedience classes, according to a news release. When he was […]

    Read more

    Workers Get Canine Interactions

    It was a long, boring spring and summer for the four-footed members of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, who couldn’t visit nursing homes and hospitals giving tail wags and doggy smiles. The coronavirus paused the professional canine therapeutic interactions with patients and hospital workers. “You could actually see him falling into a depression at home,” said Wendy Kadish of […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Program

    An initiative by Cyndy Caravelis, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Western Carolina University, will include a pilot program to use a therapy dog to aid domestic violence victims and their families in Jackson County. Caravelis’ German shepherd Atlas will escort victims and family members into court procedures and stay with children while […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs Working With Staff

    After a pause due to COVID-19, the St. John Ambulance Abbotsford therapy dog team recently returned to visit staff at several different correctional facilities in the Fraser Valley. The PAWS inside program originally began at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women five years ago and started off by providing services to inmates. Last year, the […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Bringing Comfort

    The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has a special K-9 who plays an important role. While most K-9s help in crime scenes and investigations, Comfort Caj is crime therapy dog and brings smiles to the community and the sheriff’s office. “He really brings a light and energy to this whole building, that you can’t fathom, you […]

    Read more

    Montgomery County's Therapy Dog

    Montgomery County has a new tool to help give crime victims some support. That tool’s name is Zurg. Zurg is the new therapy dog for the Montgomery County district attorney’s office. Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey introduced Zurg as the newest member of the team Monday. Coming from Canine Companions for Independence, Zurg will […]

    Read more