‘Town dog’ memorialized on Winchester Christmas Tree

Published 3:48 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

Winchester’s most famous four-legged resident is no longer trotting city streets this holiday season, but he is watching its main street in spirit.

Romey the “town dog,” sadly passed away in July. Still, one of his most ardent supporters and long-time caretaker, Heather Rose, ensured his memory is alive and well by putting the dog’s visage appeared on an ornament hanging from the town Christmas tree.

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“I was sitting and thinking about the town tree, and I said to my husband, ‘Romey needs to be on that tree,’” Rose said. “It’s only appropriate that we have the town dog on the town tree.”

After getting permission from Allan Curtis of the Clark County Solid Waste and Road Department to put an ornament on the tree, Rose got to work on the holiday tribute to her canine pal.

The process was easier than Rose thought it would, and the ornament only took one hour to make.

“I was going to make it from scratch, but I found an ornament that was the exact same size as the picture. So we took it and waterproofed it, glued the picture on it, and then waterproofed it some more,” she said.

The ornament’s presence at winter’s dawn is appropriate since the cold season was Romey’s favorite time of the year.

“He loved the snow,” Rose said. “Every time Maria [Cupp] and I found him in the snow, and he would be rolling and playing in it. He didn’t try to hide from the snow like he did from the summertime.”

And as the intrepid dog braved the winter conditions, he had some guardian angels beside Rose and his other caretaker, Maria Cupp.

“The road crews were so supportive of Romey. They used to go and find him for us whenever it was icy outside and we couldn’t get to him,” Rose said.

While the crews plowed the roads, they would also drop off food for him.

The lovable old scamp brought out the best in people.

Numerous charitable activities for animals were performed in his name over the years, including two animal food and supply pantries.

Even in death, Romey is still the patron saint of critter causes in Winchester.

“He represents all the shelter animals and all the homeless animals and pets,” Rose said. “He is an icon that we want people to remember.”

And people definitely will. The private Facebook that was once dedicated to tracking Romey’s location is now a lost and found page seeking to reunite pets with their humans.

The group has become an extended family of sorts.

“Romey brought a bunch of people together,” Rose said. “I’m still meeting people I’d never encountered before. They will yell at me in public, ‘Are you Heather from Romey’s group?’”

This weekend the group is sponsoring yet another philanthropic endeavor: Santa photos for people and pets.

The event will be on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Winchester Rural King. A $5 donation to the Clark County Animal Shelter is encouraged instead of payment.

Participants must bring their own camera.

Whether it is an event, an ornament, or a story, one thing is clear: the legend of Winchester’s “town dog” continues to live on.