One day before the 127th Boston Marathon, a sizable gathering of golden retrievers gathered in Boston on Sunday. The Boston Commons hosted a gathering of over 150 dogs to remember Spencer, the honorary dog of the Boston Marathon, who died in February. Penny, Spencer’s niece, unfortunately, passed suddenly a week later.

Who were Spencer and Penny? 

Spencer was the official Boston Marathon dog and Penny was his niece. Spencer passed away on February 17 and Penny on February 25, 2023 at the age of 13 and 10 respectively.

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Penny died of hemangiosarcoma tumors, a highly invasive type of cancer that had spread to her lungs.

Dogs can develop hemangiosarcoma, and some breeds, including German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, are more susceptible than others. Hemangiosarcoma in dogs rarely manifests clinically until the tumor has grown significantly and spread to other organs.

Clinical symptoms are typically brought on by hypovolemia following the tumor’s rupture, which results in significant bleeding.

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Spencer and Penny were both therapy dogs as well.

Spencer became popular in 2018 for braving the rain to proudly hold flags in support of Boston Marathon runners.

In April 2023, The Boston Commons hosted a gathering of over 150 dogs to remember Spencer and Penny.

The dogs donned bandanas that read “Golden Strong” in remembrance of the deceased golden retrievers. Massachusetts Golden Meetups Meetups presented Spencer’s owner Rich Powers with a $1,000 donation in Spencer and Penny’s honor to the Morris Animal Foundation for K9 Cancer Research.

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Despite not competing the entire 26.2-mile course, several retrievers arrived at the finish line before more of them gathered at Boston Common on Sunday afternoon, according to Elisha Bussiere, a co-founder of the Massachusetts Golden Meetups organization that put the event together.

She claimed there was no way to count the number of dogs who attended, but she calculated that there were probably 250 at the Common gathering. The group had not anticipated such a large response, she claimed.