“He’s A Gift.” Boston Marathon Makes Golden Retriever Their Official Goodest Boy.

Of the thousands of spectators and supporters who line the streets during the Boston Marathon, there’s one that always manages to stand out from the pack.

His name is Spencer, and he’s a very special 12-year-old golden retriever. Spencer and his human, Richard Powers, have been attending the big race every year since 2015. The certified therapy dog often holds a “Boston Strong” flag in his mouth as runners pass, and he’s always available for a photo op — but runners get first dibs.

Spencer has gone viral on more than one occasion, and he’s something of a celebrity in his Massachusetts neighborhood.

“I mean, when I walk the dog people just stop and say, ‘This is Spencer?’ They act like they’re meeting Sandra Bullock,” Richard joked.

When he’s not rooting for marathon runners or posing for pictures with his adoring fans, Spencer and his fellow golden retriever friend Penny travel to schools, hospitals, and senior centers to spread love and good cheer. Richard says he feels compelled to bring him out in public because Spencer is such a good boy, it’d be a shame to keep the dog all to himself!

“He’s a gift to us,” Richard said.  “We’re very lucky to have him. We figured he’s too good not to share so we want to share him with as many people as we possibly can.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there was no marathon, which turned out to be a good thing for Spencer because veterinarians discovered a 3.5-pound tumor that needed to be surgically removed. The dog proved to be a fighter, and he recovered from his surgery in time to attend the 2021 event. Sadly, he’s now been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor that requires chemotherapy. Richard wasn’t sure Spencer would make it to the 2022 marathon, but once again, the dog’s fighting spirit pulled through!

“Miraculously, he’s still here with us and an even bigger miracle, he was strong enough to go to the marathon,” Richard said. 

As a way to recognize all that Spencer and his family have been through, The Boston Athletic Association decided to honor the famous pooch by naming him the official dog of the 126th Boston Marathon!

Richard says they’re honored by the tribute, and he understands why Spencer makes such an impact on everyone who meets him and hears his story.

“He just represents hope, it’s the best way to describe him. An inspiration,” said Richard. “He just kind of represents the regular guy, you know, who’s fighting the good fight and plugging away and getting by. Everybody out there has a Spencer story — whether it’s a person or a dog or a cat or themselves — they’re going through some personal struggle, they’re just doing the best they can.”

In 2021, an anonymous runner even pulled the marathon medal from his neck and gave it to Spencer! He’s truly inspiring everyone he meets and reminding us to greet every challenge with a smile.

Share this story to congratulate Spencer on being the official dog of the 126th Boston Marathon!

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