The Boston Athletic Association just named Spencer the Official Dog of the 126th Boston Marathon on April 13, 2022.
Spencer, a 12-year-old Golden Retriever, has been a mainstay in the marathon for eight years and cheers runners on the sideline during the 26-mile grueling race. He first became famous in 2018 when a video surfaced showing him holding a flag between his teeth that said, “Boston Strong” during pouring rain wearing a windbreaker rain jacket.
Runners and spectators worldwide have since fallen in love with the pooch and have garnered quite a respectable following on social media.
Spencer is joined by his niece and companion, Penny, a nine-year-old Golden Retriever, at the awarding ceremony in Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, together with his owners, Rich and Dorrey Powers. The adorable dog was given his own Spencer bib to honor his special role, as well as a goodie bag.
Thomas Grilk, president and CEO of the Boston Athletic Association, stated in the ceremony, “no matter the weather on Marathon Monday, Spencer is out at his post near Ashland State Park, holding his ‘Boston Strong’ flag.”
In 2021, Spencer had a health scare when a 3.5-inch tumor was removed between his liver and stomach that was found to be benign.
He suffered another setback in December 2021 when a tumor the size of a softball was removed together with his spleen. This time it was cancerous, and he had to undergo chemotherapy. He finished the therapy several weeks before the marathon and is now in remission.
Powers thought they would lose Spencer and would not be able to cheer up the runners again. “If you didn’t know his story, you would never know he had anything wrong, and you wouldn’t know he’s 13 either. Every day is a gift, and we take just one day at a time,” he stated.
He added that Spencer was ready to attend the marathon, and they would be in their usual spot near Ashland State Park. But he added that if the heat is too much and the dog isn’t feeling well, they may have to forego their tradition.
In 2020, Spencer and Penny were ready to attend the marathon when it was postponed due to the pandemic.
When not attending his favorite marathon, Spencer and Penny are busy working as certified volunteer therapy dogs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“Everybody smiles when they meet them. Everyone just falls in love with them,” Powers said. They bring cheers and support to many schools and hospitals and help comfort people grieving in funeral homes.
Powers would usually post pictures of Spencer and Penny on their social media page about their weekly therapy sessions, as well as their daily activities.
“You can’t have a bad day when you look at them,” Powers said fondly. “I wanted to share that with others.”