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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

‘Golden Strong’ fundraiser honored Boston Marathon duo Spencer and Penny

With the Boston Marathon kicking off Monday, April 17, MA Golden Meetups raised a bittersweet fundraiser to honor the city’s favorite four-legged buddies.
Over 100 golden retrievers and their owners organized to cross the Boston Marathon finish line Sunday, April 16—the day before the big race. The parade of retrievers gathered at the Boston Common and began the one-mile march at 11:00 a.m [1,4].
The dogs who participated in the walk wore “Golden Strong” bandanas to honor Spencer and his “soulmate” Penny. Spencer was named the official dog of the Boston Marathon after going viral in 2018 for supporting the marathon runners during a rainstorm, all while holding a double-sided “Boston Strong” flag in his mouth. Spencer and Penny worked as therapy dogs, and their support for marathon runners over the past eight years has made a long-lasting impact [1,6].
MA Golden Meetups are the organizers of the “Golden Strong” fundraiser for the Morris Animal Foundation. Due to the extreme popularity of the event, the fundraiser quickly exceeded capacity. After several media outlets continued publicizing the event, MA Golden Meetups had to release a statement regarding the event’s registration [1].
“Out of respect for the Boston community and the B.A.A. we are no longer accepting RSVPs,” MA Golden Meetups wrote on Facebook. “Boston will be a high traffic area the day before race day and our goal is to keep everyone safe.” The organization later on made a note to plan an even bigger event for the marathon next year, in order to accommodate more dogs along with their owners [1].
According to Boston.com, the event organizers continued to sell “Golden Strong” bandanas. The proceeds from the bandana sales would benefit the Morris Animal Foundation’s canine cancer research [1].
Elisha Bussiere, co-founder and marketing director of MA Golden Meetups released a statement reported by Yahoo Life acknowledging the impact Spencer and Penny had on the race and the golden retriever community. “Spencer and Penny’s deaths shook the Massachusetts golden retriever community. We all felt connected to them through our love for these dogs and all golden retrievers. Our members wanted to do something for the Marathon to spread love and offer comfort in memory of these dogs who brought joy and comfort to so many others” [5].
The two golden retrievers passed away just eight days apart from one another back in February. Spencer passed away Feb. 17 due to liver cancer at the age of 13. His “soulmate” Penny passed away shortly after Feb. 25, following the discovery of several hemangiosarcoma tumors that spread to Penny’s liver [1].
Unfortunately, golden retrievers are very susceptible to medical problems, with the most prevalent issue being cancer. Spencer had a tough time, battling several cancerous tumors since 2020. Spencer underwent several surgeries and chemotherapy to remove each tumor from his spleen [6].
As for Penny, her hemangiosarcoma tumors are often called “silent killers” in dogs, as it’s a very deadly type of canine cancer. According to the Morris Animal Foundation, “Hemangiosarcoma is an important cancer of golden retrievers and is one of several cancers of special interest to the Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. Currently, hemangiosarcoma is the leading cause of cancer death in our cohort of 3,044 dogs” [1,3].
The Morris Animal Foundation has also set up a page on its website to donate to canine cancer research in Spencer and Penny’s honor. The organization continues to accept donations even after the fundraising event ends [1,2].

  1. https://www.boston.com/news/boston-marathon/2023/04/10/100-golden-strong-retrievers-boston-marathon-finish-line-spencer-penny/

  2. https://fundraise.morrisanimalfoundation.org/golden-retriever-lifetime-study/SPENCERSSP?fbclid=IwAR06e9TZ_2Du5jEBEqrL9a0doLZM4u-fAXlyLRHU5X816ffZYVMtLN7JRcA

  3. https://www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/article/hemangiosarcoma-cancer-in-dogs

  4. https://magoldenmeetups.wixsite.com/magoldenmeetups/bostonmarathon

  5. https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/more-100-golden-retrievers-gather-163105218.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAANTl1mogBynnZmfIZPHpO7v5NnwIk4Z2VPRsQPd38q0Te-ybqld8DT-8caj7EsUai2yinkt36Act0_b-8UEq52iuBsth6pRozMRe1JSpY-BtJk9VuFSdNhg-8WFbJFfqXL0ZTDhR-HfQnI1hcnP0GvnFnk86xDsONn_O_6swkRd5

  6. https://www.boston.com/news/boston-marathon/2022/04/13/spencer-official-boston-marathon-dog-baa/

About the Contributor
Samantha Beady, News Editor