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

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs At School

    Those who own a dog can attest to their ability to lift mood, improve stress and bring joy by simply being there, unanswering, seemingly all-knowing and always delighted to see you.  Therapy animals are known for their calm and comforting nature, giving people a way to relax, de-stress and interact with a loving pet.  They […]

    Read more

    Wonder Dog

    For those of us with dogs, we know they quickly become major parts of the family. You live for and care for just like one of your own children, and one dog right here in Oklahoma City is beating the odds, and helping others recover as a therapy dog, despite all of the issues he’s […]

    Read more

    Scott And Charlie

    Cherokee Middle School students may do a little more “doodling” second semester starting this month (January), but also will improve their attendance marks because of a special attraction at the school, courtesy of Principal Scott Aden. Aden, an effective, caring administrator, has acquired and will house and handle a young female Golden Doodle (Charlie) that […]

    Read more

    Hope For Veterans

    E5 Therapy opened in April with a different way to help veterans in therapy. They offer canine-assisted therapy along with talk therapy to veterans and veterans’ families in Solano County. Owner Matthew Decker is a licensed clinical social worker in Northern California, focused on helping veterans achieve their mental health goals. Along with his team, […]

    Read more