Few dogs have inspired people like Spencer, the golden retriever who cheered on runners every year at the Boston Marathon. Spencer, along with his sister Penny, were beloved staples of the annual event.
Sadly, both dogs passed away earlier this year — but their legacy will live on: their owners recently announced they got a new golden puppy who will carry on the tradition.
The Powers family, who owned Spencer and Penny, announced on May 7 that they received a new golden retriever puppy named Jimmy.
The pup was donated by Golden Opportunity for Independence, an organization that raises and trains golden retrievers for people in need. The family wrote that after Penny’s death the organization “knew we were enduring unbearable grief and wanted to help.”
“We could not be anymore grateful for this generous heartfelt gesture. We promise we will to continue Spencer & Penny’s mission with your pup and we know he will do amazing things.”
They wrote that Jimmy was born on March 3, making him just over two months old.
The 127th Boston Marathon, held last month, was the first one in many years without Spencer or Penny on the sidelines, but it sounds like Jimmy will take their place over the coming years, keeping their inspiring legacy alive.
Spencer and Penny: “Boston Strong” dogs
Every year for 9 years, Spencer would be on the sidelines of the race holding a “Boston Strong” flag to cheer on runners. He was frequently accompanied by his sister Penny, also a golden retriever.
Spencer brought joy and hope to so many people: In 2018, he braved the wind and rain to cheer runners on. In 2020, when the race was postponed due to COVID-19, he offered some positivity and encouragement.
In recent years, Spencer faced a number of health battles. In 2021, vets found a cancerous tumor on the dog’s spleen, which they were able to remove and treat with chemotherapy.
He finished chemo just in time to return to the Boston Marathon, more inspiring than ever: he was named the race’s “Official Dog” and was honored at a luxury hotel. Many runners stopped to take selfies with him, and one even gave him his own medal.
Death and tribute
But months after his triumphant return to the marathon, Spencer was diagnosed with untreatable liver cancer. The family was “beyond devastated to know this amazing angel will leave us soon,” Powers said, according to Boston 25 News.
In February, the owners announced that Spencer had died. “Spencer passed in our home with the help of our compassionate vet on Friday,” they wrote.
Sadly, his sister Penny followed him over the rainbow bridge just eight days later.
As the Boston Marathon approached, fans of Spencer and Penny realized it would be their first race without the beloved goldens cheering them on — so they decided to do something incredible in their memory.
So last month, 250 golden retrievers gathered at the race, organized by Massachusetts Golden Meetups, as a tribute to Spencer and Penny.
“I think it’s a symbol of Massachusetts, but it’s also a symbol of strength and resilience,” group member Elisha Bussiere told WCVB. “I think we’re all going through a time where we all need strength and resilience coming out of the pandemic. Opportunities to make people smile, whether it’s the day of or the day before, I think it’s a way to come together as a community.”
“I’m overwhelmed,” owner Rich Powers told the New York Times. “I think I can safely say that Spencer and Penny have impacted millions now.”
We’ll always miss Spencer and Penny, but we’re glad this sweet little puppy will keep their legacy alive! Can’t wait to see Jimmy at future Boston Marathons!
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