Town Voted ‘NO’ to the Statue of Spencer the Marathon Dog
The town of Ashland Select Board rejected the proposal to place a memorial statue of Spencer, the Official Dog of the Boston Marathon at the Ashland Community Center. The idea was to put the memorial statue near the spot where Spencer cheered tens of thousands of runners along the Ashland portion of the Boston Marathon route.
For close to a decade, through pelting rain and scorching heat, Spencer the golden retriever offered encouragement from the same spot, carrying Boston Strong flags in his mouth.
“He just felt the energy of the marathon and sent it back ten-fold,” said Rich Powers, Spencer’s owner. “He delivered positive light and energy. When you touched him, he was like an angel. He was extremely special.”
After Spencer died in February due to cancer, his owners Rich and Dorry Powers received hundreds of messages of condolences from people across the country. Some of them encouraged the family to immortalize the beloved dog by erecting a memorial statue.
Over the next several months, volunteers worked hard to raise the necessary funds for a three feet tall bronze statue of Spencer. Jeff Buccacio, a sculptor from Canton, Massachusets was commissioned to immortalize the marathon dog’s likeness.
However, the proposal to place the statue of Spencer in the same spot he always stood for the Boston Marathon was rejected by Ashland’s Select Board. Those against the statute argued that Spencer, despite his presence at the Boston Marathon, didn’t have a direct link to Ashland - this dog didn’t serve as a police dog nor was involved in events at the town’s schools and senior centers.
In a statement for the Boston 25 News, Board Member Brandy Kinsman said, “Spencer, who was from Holliston, was a special dog that was loved by so many. I personally felt that Spencer’s connection was with the marathon, not specifically Ashland.”
The Ashland Select Board voted 3-2 against the statue. Kinsman together with Board Members Jospeh Magnani, Jr. and Claudia Bennett nixed the proposal to place a statue on Community Center land. Board Members Yolanda Greaves and Robert Scherer voted in favor.
Select Board Members who voted "yes," said they had no issues placing the statue on town land because the town wouldn’t have to pay for it. On the plus side, the statue of the famous golden retriever would attract the press and fans to Ashland.
“It’s appropriate to memorialize Spencer and the runners he inspired in the years following the Marathon bombing. Ashland has a strong history with the Marathon, and I feel that Spencer is an important chapter in that story,” said Scherer.
Since the Select Board’s vote, several property owners offered Spencer’s owner a spot for the statue - one is even close to the Community Center. “Spencer will still get a statue in Ashland,” said Rick Powers.
More than 400 people have collectively donated over $27,000 via GoFundMe to support Spencer's memorial statue which is estimated to cost around $50,000. Any remaining funds will go to Spencer's Memorial Cancer Research fund.
Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!
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