Therapy Dog With Cancer Becomes Official Dog Of 126th Boston Marathon

Spencer the Golden Retriever is one of the most famous faces at the Boston Marathon. He doesn’t do any running, but he’s always there to support the humans participating. He and his sister Penny often sit in a specific spot and cheer on the runners by holding up flags. In return, they get a lot of pets!

Sadly, Spencer was diagnosed with cancer last year, so his family was worried he wouldn’t be able to attend the next Boston Marathon. But he has fought hard since his diagnosis, and he’s hopeful that he’ll attend. This year, he was even named the official dog of the event!

Golden Retriever Holding Flags

Spencer’s Medical Struggles

Last year, Spencer had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, and he was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after. He also had a non-cancerous tumor removed in 2020. Spencer is currently in remission from his most recent surgery, and luckily, he’s managed to stay healthy since then.

Spencer’s human, Rich Powers, is hopeful that Spencer will feel well enough to attend the 126th Boston Marathon on April 18th. Spencer and Penny, who are both therapy dogs, usually sit in one spot and hold “Boston Strong” flags as people run by. They love all the attention they get, and Powers is happy they can bring joy to others.

Boston Marathon Dog has Cancer

“We don’t really do it for the recognition — we do it to inspire,” Powers said. “He’s been kind of a very special dog from the get-go, we recognized it immediately. It’s almost been like a mission for my wife and I to share this dog with the world. He’s literally too good to keep to ourselves.”

So, Powers plans to bring Spencer to the event, as long as everything is going well. He said if it’s too hot for the dogs, he won’t bring them. Spencer handles cold and rain well, but hot temperatures are a struggle. It will be sad if Spencer can’t attend, but of course, his health always comes first.

Spencer and Penny at Boston Marathon

A Boston Marathon Honor

Whether or not Spencer comes to this year’s Boston Marathon, he’s the official dog of the event. He attended a ceremony at the Fairmont Copley Plaza to earn the title. Spencer and Penny got a limousine ride to the ceremony, and Spencer was given lots of gifts, including a personalized bib and a goody bag.

“When he got sick, people were afraid he wouldn’t make it again,” said Powers. “The past two marathons, this one included, it was really unlikely. It’s a miracle. He’s a miracle boy. He’s an inspiration for a lot of people that you can do it.”

Spencer Official Boston Marathon Dog

Spencer is almost 13 years old, so even if he wasn’t facing cancer, his family would still be unsure how many years he has left. So, he’s going to make the most of every Boston Marathon just like he always has. He’s been through a lot this past year, but that hasn’t stopped him from being his happy, loving self.

Runners can expect to see Spencer about two to three miles into the marathon route. He will likely spend some time holding up flags and resting with his sister. As always, humans are encouraged to stop by to say hi and give him some love. This incredible dog deserves all the recognition he can get!

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