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Statue revealed of Boston Marathon’s legendary 'official' dog, Spencer

 Memorial statue revealed of official Boston Marathon dog Spencer.
Memorial statue revealed of official Boston Marathon dog Spencer.

A bronze memorial statue for one of the true legends of the Boston Marathon has been unveiled in the run-up to the 128th event on April 15th. But it’s not one of the race’s winners. Or anyone who ever run it, or even helped to organize it.

It’s for the the race’s most famous four-legged spectator – Spencer, the golden retriever, who for eight years barked encouragement to the runners taking part and was eventually named the official dog of the Boston Marathon.

And he’s now been immortalized in statue form at the intersection of Olive, Frankland and West Union Streets.

Therapy dog Spencer first appeared at the Marathon in 2015, but it wasn’t until a video surfaced of Spencer in 2018 encouraging the runners during a particularly soggy race that he became a viral star (see that original video below).

His favored spot was the near the marathon’s three-mile mark in Ashland, where he would stand with two Boston Strong flags gripped in his mouth. This is where you’ll find the statue.

He was given his Boston Marathon official dog honor in 2022, bad sadly died the following year after a three-year battle with cancer

The bronze memorial of Spencer – with flags in jaw, of course – was paid for by GoFundMe donations which raised over $39,000, with the remaining proceeds going to an animal charity.

“It’s definitely humbling to know that Spencer affected so many people,” Spencer’s owner told The Boston Globe. “The statue’s not for me, it’s for the world.”

Memorial statue revealed of official Boston Marathon dog Spencer
Memorial statue revealed of official Boston Marathon dog Spencer

Somewhat heartlessly, last July the Ashland Select Board voted 3-to-2 against allowing the statue to be erected at the community center near the spot where Spencer delighted runners from the sidelines for years. In response, Robin and Cynthia Hicks, who live across from the community center, said the statue could live on their land.

“We grew up cheering on the runners and being there no matter what the weather was, holding signs and supporting the athletes,” Cynthia Hicks told The Boston Globe.

“We really feel that he was an inspiration not only for runners, but for people around cheering on the runners,” added husband Robin.

Rich Powers now has a new Golden Retriever puppy, Jimmy, who’s carrying on the family tradition, and not just by becoming a therapy dog.

“He’s trained to hold the flag,” says Powers. “In my driveway, he walks with it… Can he do it when 20,000 runners are running by? I don’t know.”