Famous Boston Marathon golden retriever, Spencer, recovering after surgery

"He went in with his Frisbee and head and tail held up high."

The famous Boston Marathon dog Spencer is recovering after a successful tumor surgery, according to a post on the dog’s Facebook account.

Spencer and his sister Penny — who cheer on runners during the Boston Marathon at Ashland State Park — are local therapy dogs. The 12-year-old pup has become a famous checkpoint along the 26.2 mile route for many runners and marathon fans.

Spencer has cheered on runners while holding a Boston Strong flag in his mouth during the past seven marathons. The dogs were even in their spot on the date of the initial 2020 Boston Marathon before it was cancelled.


Spencer went into surgery on Monday to remove his spleen and a softball-sized mass attached to it, which was discovered after he was taken into the ER earlier this week. Last year, Spencer suffered internal bleeding and had a separate tumor removed.

“He was so brave this morning,” his owner wrote. “He went in with his Frisbee and head and tail held up high.”

The surgery was successful and the doctor reportedly said the healing from his previous surgery looked good. Both the tumor and his spleen were taken out without complications.

Spencer stayed overnight at the hospital following his surgery to make sure there were no complications and then arrived back home the next day.

Now, the doctors are doing a pathology report on the removed mass to determine what it is and how to best treat Spencer. According to a Facebook post, the results should come back in about a week.

“We could not expect any better outcome than that at this point and are happy to know our boy is resting comfortably,” his owner wrote in a Facebook post. “Finally a huge THANK YOU to the thousands of you that sent well wishes and prayers to this incredibly special boy.”

Previously, Spencer and Penny were back to working in-person as therapy dogs, most recently at children vaccination centers for Ashland and Holliston students.


“Spencer is everybody’s dog literally and symbolically. Many of you have your own ‘Spencer’ at home and we hope that Spencer gives you hope and joy,” his owner wrote on Facebook. “Everyone claims to have the best dog…… and NOBODY is wrong. Give YOUR Spencer a hug today.”


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