Golden retrievers gather at Boston Marathon to honour Spencer who died from cancer

dog with bandana reading "golden strong" lying on its owner

Morris Animal Foundation website – A non profit dedicated to helping animals and the charge of the Golden Retriever Lifefime Study

For years at the Boston Marathon, runners were able to look along the sidelines for a beacon of hope: A golden retriever named Spencer waving a “Boston Strong” flag. Spencer had been a staple at the race since 2015, but sadly, he died earlier this year. At the 2023 marathon, his legacy lived on, thanks to fellow goldens and their owners. 

Supporter with their Golden at Boston Marathon meetup

A group of golden retrievers walked to the iconic finish line on Boylston Street near Copley Square on Sunday to honor Spencer. 

MA Golden Meetups, a group that organizes such events for golden retrievers, planned the walk. When Spencer died in February, MA Golden Meetups was holding an event, the group’s co-founder Elisha Bussiere told CBS Boston. 

“So we all drove to the event, get out of our cars, and everyone’s faces were just very sullen, somber. Just heartbroken,” she said. “So one of the members suggested why don’t we have a representation at the Boston Marathon since Spencer won’t be there this year and it just grew from there. It was a wonderful idea.”

Approximately 250 golden retrievers showed up with their owners and donned “Golden Strong” bandanas as well as took donations to the Morris Animal Foundation.

The sold “golden strong” bandanas, raising about $1,000 which went to Spencer’s owners to be donated to Morris Animal Foundation, which works to research hemangiosarcoma, a type of cancer. 

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