When a dog smiles, the world around him smiles too.
The proof is in the joy expressed by hundreds of tired New York City Marathon runners Sunday who witnessed an adorable golden retriever named Beckham paw out free high fives at miles 15 and 19 of the 26.2-mile race.
A video of the interaction re-posted by ABC’s “Good Morning America” this week has racked up nearly 10 million views on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other social media outlets. The one-minute snippet has made Beckham a star and his master, East Patchogue native Caitlyn Pabst, a very proud mama.
“I was already planning on watching the marathon and I just knew that it would give runners a serotonin boost if Beckham were out there with us giving high fives,” said Pabst, 28, a 2011 graduate of Bellport High School. “He was really only giving high fives in 10 to 20-second intervals over a few minutes the entire day. But in that time period, he made so many people smile and he also loved the attention.”
Clearly! In the video, Beckham – still a pup at 14 months old – actually looks likes he’s smiling and his eyes dart all around as he pays careful attention to each runner passing by. More than a few of the marathon participants diverted from their paths to cut across the street just to get some Beckham magic.
Pabst said she’s completely overwhelmed by the response to the video she posted on an Instagram account she created just for Beckham — barkinlikebeckham — when she adopted the precious pooch one year ago.
“I thought I’d post it for my usual group of friends on there and it’d be a cute video that would make them smile on a Monday,” said Pabst, a data analyst working remotely from her home in Astoria, Queens, for a consulting company in Washington, D.C. “The thought that this could go viral truly never crossed my mind.
“Dogs are in our lives for a fraction of time – I make videos like these … so I can have them forever and look back on all our memories as he grows up,” she added.
Get ready for your heart to smile and check out the uber-popular video below.
“People are drawn to Beckham in everyday situations because he is always so smiley and approachable,” said Pabst, who played soccer and was a pole vaulter and sprinter on the track and field team at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.
Pabst was at the marathon to root for a family friend, Lynette Pettinicchi, who was competing in the marathon for the second time. With some motivation from Beckham, Pettinicchi finished the race in 4:39 – five minutes better than her time in 2016.
“I knew this would bring him as much joy as it brought the runners,” Pabst said. “He had the biggest smile on his face all day and received extra treats and belly rubs for his acts of kindness.”
What’s next for Beckham? Well, down the road, Pabst envisions him being a therapy dog.
“When he’s older,” she added. “Because he’s so good-natured around humans.”
Below is Pabst’s original post from Monday on Beckham’s personal Instagram account.
Here’s some photos from Instagram’s barkinlikebeckham of Beckham doing his thing in New York City.