BOSTON (CBS) – Spencer the golden retriever, one of the biggest cheerleaders at the Boston Marathon each year, received a special honor on Wednesday.
Each year Spencer roots for runners along the marathon route in Ashland, about 2-to-3 miles into the course. He holds Boston Strong flags in his mouth as runners go by.
Spencer underwent surgery late last year to have a tumor and his spleen removed and was later diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has since finished chemotherapy treatment.
Ahead of this year's race, 12-year-old Spencer was named the official dog of the 126th Boston Marathon during a ceremony Wednesday.
Spencer was given a limousine ride to Fairmont Copley Plaza, where he was presented with gifts in the lobby including a personalized race bib, and a goodie bag donated by Boston Barkery.
"I'm very emotional about this dog," said Richard Powers, Spencer's owner. "He's extremely special, and I'm just glad we can share him with so many people."
Spencer was all smiles alongside his niece, Penny, both certified therapy dogs. They were greeted by the Fairmont Copley's Canine Ambassador, Cori.
"When he got sick, people were afraid he wouldn't make it again," said Powers. "The past two marathons, this one included, it was really unlikely. It's a miracle. He's a miracle boy. He's an inspiration for a lot of people that you can do it."
The celebration was in honor of Spencer's dedication to supporting athletes along their 26.2-mile quest, something Powers hopes his dog will be able to do again on Monday.
"The odds are as high as before he had cancer," said Powers. "The same judgement call whether he's going to go is the same one I've had since 2014. Can't be too hot, has to be feeling good. It's all about him."
You can watch live coverage of the 126th Boston Marathon on WBZ-TV and CBS News Boston on Monday April 18, 2022.
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