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Video shows golden retriever waving ‘Boston Strong’ flags at marathoners

Thousands of runners braved driving rain, chilly temperatures, and blistering winds at the Boston Marathon Monday. And a flag-waving dog named Spencer was there to cheer them on.

A video of the golden retriever, perched on a wooden crate holding a pair of “Boston Strong” flags in his mouth, had more than 2 million views on Facebook by Tuesday evening. The video aired on TV news and was shown on NBC’s Today show.

Runners were smitten with the 8-year-old dog, stopping along the course to take selfies, give him a kiss, or hold his paws, said his owner, Rich Powers, who posted the video.

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It was Spencer’s third trip to the marathon. The past two years, Powers brought him and another therapy dog, Penny. Each waves its own flag in an endearing show of support.

“We just do it because it really motivates the runners,” said Powers, 53, of Holliston. “They get a little charge out of it. This year, I think they just needed a little bit more motivation. We’re not gonna let a little weather bring us down.”

Powers takes the dogs on a few outings each month, to hospitals, assisted-living facilities, or wherever people might need cheering up.

On Monday, Penny stayed home because of the miserable weather, so Spencer carried both flags. Powers said many runners and spectators recognized the golden retriever from past years and were delighted to see him again, bundled in his owner’s hooded raincoat.

Powers had posted videos of his dogs before, but none made much of a stir. So he was stunned when he saw this one rocket across social media.

“I was like, ‘What the hell is going on here,’ ” he said.


Alana Levene can be reached at alana.levene@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alanalevene.

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