DC’s most famous dog, Romo, is moving on
WASHINGTON (AP) – On a recent Saturday afternoon, Adams Morgan residents Tiffany Bacon and Peter Scourby open the living-room window of their first-floor Calvert Street condo.
Passers-by point at the window on the cream-colored row house. Several take out their phones and snap pictures; others yell.
“What’s up, Romo?”
Romo doesn’t even lift his head in response to the greetings; he’s accustomed to the fame. His wrinkled white face, droopy eyes and slight frown seem to say, “Over it.”
The District of Columbia has been home to a number of celebrities – Justin Theroux, Goldie Hawn and Samuel L. Jackson, to name a few – but none are adored quite like Romo, a 150- pound bull mastiff/pit bull mix.
“When the window’s open, all you see are flashes,” said Bacon, Romo’s owner and mom.
Bacon isn’t exactly sure how Romo became so famous. She said she was cleaning the apartment one morning when the 7-year-old pup was younger. She opened the window, and Romo wasted no time.
“And then all of a sudden, I looked over and he was hanging out the window,” Bacon said.
She quickly ran over to shut it, thinking he would jump out. Then she noticed every time she walked into the house, Romo would be perched right by the glass – waiting for someone to open it. Cracking the window was not good enough, either. When Bacon would raise the window slightly, Romo would get his nose under the ledge and nudge it until it opened all the way.
“He demanded the window to be open,” Bacon said.
Bacon and Scourby don’t fight the demand anymore.
“At 5:30 (a.m.), we’ll open (the window) up, and he’ll be out there, ready, just waiting for the buses. When we’re home, it’s open,” said Scourby, who admits their heating and air conditioning bills are “out of control.”
“But he’s so sad when it’s closed.”
Come October, the window will be closed for good. Romo and his owners are moving.
Madeline Billhimer, a local dog walker, passes Romo frequently.
“He’s always in the window, looking. He doesn’t bark; he doesn’t do anything – even if my dogs react,” said Billhimer, who admits she’s always wanted to walk him.
But Romo doesn’t just sit at the window – he hangs out of the window. Most days, his chest rests on the windowsill and his two front paws dangle over the ledge. It’s this position that has made Romo, often called “The King of Adams Morgan,” the star of many Instagram photos and tweets.
“It happens more often than not that I’ll be walking around with him and someone’s like, ‘Oh, my gosh; that’s Romo. I have all of these pictures of him on my phone,'” said Bacon, who said that a couple even took their engagement pictures in front of Romo and his window.
“He knows all the dogs in the neighborhood. Some he cries for because they have a really good relationship. Rosie is one of his girlfriends,” Bacon said. “He just waits for people to come by. The same people get on the bus and off the bus, and they’ll just be like, ‘Hey, Romo.’ “
Romo gets love from car commuters too.
“People yell from their cars when they’re stopped at this light here. It’s hysterical,” Scourby said.
Last summer, Romo’s fame spread from the streets of Adams Morgan to the District blogosphere when Scourby made Romo a plaque with his name on it and hung it under the window.
“If you go outside, everyone just asks, ‘What’s his name? Can I take a picture?’ I mean, he’s out there all the time, so I just put it up,” Scourby said.
And while the plaque finally let Romo-watchers know his name, it sent rumors flying. A post on Popville asked if the plaque was a memorial to a deceased Romo. This emboldened another blogger to calm the Internet’s suspicions.
“Someone came up the stairs – and we were at work – and took a picture of (Romo) inside the house to confirm that he was still alive,” Bacon said, laughing. “And now, of course I think it’s adorable, but it’s also kind of creepy that people are taking photos of the inside of my home, of my dog.”
Romo’s response to the reports of his death?
“Sigh. Celebrity death hoaxes. It’s something one has to deal with,” said his Facebook wall.
Yes, Romo has his own Facebook page. He uses it to share his thoughts on the dynamic neighborhood and on his celebrity status.
Romo is mentioned as a “must see” in a photographer’s guide to Washington. And Bacon said his fame has spread beyond the District. A good friend of hers was shopping at a boutique in Occoquan, Virginia, when she spotted the familiar face.
“There were all these posters and prints you could buy. And for $75 you could buy a print of Romo,” Bacon said.
But pretty soon, Romo will have a whole new view on life – quite literally. This fall, Bacon and Scourby will move out of their Adams Morgan apartment to a bigger space in “the burbs” – Arlington, Virginia.
“I’m a little sad because he doesn’t know anything else; all he knows is this house,” Bacon said. “He loves the city; he loves going to the park; his dog walker is his best friend in the entire world. He’s going to be devastated.”
And while Romo will gain a much-deserved backyard and more room to run, the District will lose one of its most beloved monuments.
“We need to have a sign outside, or something, before we leave,” Scourby said.
Preparing the neighborhood for the vacancy is no joke.
“Those poor people that move in here will probably have nothing; they’ll probably have a cat,” he said with a laugh.