Running the Boston Marathon is no easy task, but for years, participants have had a unique spectator: a golden retriever named Spencer, who has encouraged and motivated them.
Running enthusiasts adore Spencer, who has become a symbol of the race. Last year, Spencer was even given the title of “Official Dog” of the race.
Spencer, sadly, is also dealing with some significant health problems. After overcoming a previous cancer battle, he was just told that he has terminal, incurable liver cancer.
But as his own race approaches its conclusion, Spencer recently earned a significant accolade that will serve to remember his years of encouragement.
Thanks to his yearly appearances at the Boston Marathon, where he frequently holds his infamous “Boston Strong” sign to motivate the runners, Spencer, 13, has gained notoriety in his hometown for years.
Come rain or shine, he is always present. When he battled the wind and rain in 2018, it became one of his most well-known viral moments.
Spencer was there to provide some motivation in 2020 when people most needed it after the marathon was postponed due to the epidemic.
He was unstoppable despite his disease. When a cancerous tumor was discovered on Spencer’s spleen in 2021, his health was in jeopardy. However, veterinarians were able to remove the tumor and treat the golden retriever with chemotherapy.
In the previous year’s marathon, Spencer received extra particular attention because he had recovered in time. He received a limo ride to a five-star hotel after being designated the race’s “Official Dog” for the first time.
One runner even gave Spencer his own medal. Runners lined up to take selfies with Spencer.
On behalf of the @BAA, we recognize Spencer the Dog, who has become an icon for Boston Marathoners every year.
The #BostonMarathon hereby names Spencer as the Official Dog of the 126th Boston Marathon & present him with his very own SPENCER bib to celebrate.👏🐶#Boston126 pic.twitter.com/09mEdLY1Zr
— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) April 13, 2022
Unfortunately, Spencer received even more alarming health news only a few months after his triumphal comeback.
Owner Richard Powers of Spencer recently disclosed that Spencer was identified as having terminal liver cancer last fall, which is incurable but untreatable, according to Boston 25 News.
Powers said that the family is “beyond saddened to know that this precious angel will leave us soon.”
That Spencer recently received a unique tribute thanking him for all of his “Boston Strong” encouragement is devastating news.
Tom Mosser, an artist, unveiled a massive image of Spencer during a ceremony on Wednesday at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. The famous dog is seen in the portrait with his signature signs:
On that chilly, rainy day, Tom Mosser observed, “The sight of Spencer’s ears blowing in the wind as he held the marathon banners so securely is so iconic.” “Since I’ve completed five marathons, I particularly enjoyed watching the runners’ faces light up when they spotted him every year. Making the sculpture to honor Spencer and the Boston Marathon was such a delight.
The artwork will go to Spencer’s family rather than being displayed in the hotel. Since they are aware that their beloved dog will shortly pass away, the portrait will be his own.
“Our boy is about to turn onto Heartbreak Hill and is heading to his own finish line,” Powers said at the unveiling ceremony. “He’s doing very well, he still does his walks…But his days are limited. We’re not sure how long he’s going to be here, so we reached out to Tom.”
The artist also intends to sell public prints for $100, with the revenues going to the Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, according to Boston 25 News.
Powers told CBS News that although Spencer “does not have the stamina for that any longer,” he “may be able to attend one last Boston Marathon,” albeit not in the same role.
But Spencer can relax knowing that his history is safe and that he will always be known as the real Boston Marathon dog.
“We’ve been given a great gift with Spencer. Early on we realized he was extremely special and our mission was to share him with the world,” Powers said. “He’s inspired all over the globe. I’ve had Australian runners email me to find out exactly where he will be standing so they can meet him.”
Over the years, Spencer has truly inspired a lot of people, and we wish him happiness and comfort in his remaining years.