Edmonds: A Town and its dogs | Moment's Notice

By Maria A. Montalvo | Sep 11, 2019
Courtesy of: Matthew Kennelly Anne Kutay and Romeo share a moment on Main Street. Romeo died a few weeks ago.

A town and its dogs

The phrase “a boy and his dog” has been adapted and expanded in a number of ways over the decades.

In all its forms, though, such a simple phrase embodies so much. It indicates the mutual benefit of the relationship, the reliance a person has on a dog, and the use of a possessive modifier that somehow feels more about care than ownership.

In certain places (special places, I would proffer), this symbiotic relationship extends beyond its population and represents the community itself. Edmonds is such a city.

In Edmonds, shared human-dog experiences are more than a walk before and after work or throwing a ball in the park. Here, you see people running, driving, and even biking with their dogs.

Every time I see the man who puts his aging German shepherd in a cart on the front of his bike to go for a ride – the dog’s long hair billowing in the breeze – I smile and want to give him a hug (well, both of them).

I have written about the fervent popularity of the Off-Leash Area Edmonds dog beach park, one of our Lulu’s favorite spots. And Lulu’s recent placement on the cover of this newspaper a couple of weeks ago brought us hundreds of comments from locals who know her.

Dogs are invited to patronize local businesses, as indicated by the presence of dog treats, and the dogs remember where they are treated best.

About a year ago, the Savvy Traveler posted on social media several of the photos they received from customers unable to tear their dogs away from the front door outside of business hours.

One of the dogs in that post is Romeo, a Tibetan mastiff who was never overlooked, and the dear companion to Kurt and Anne Kutay of Edmonds. The Kutays lost Romeo a couple of weeks ago, and the hole in their hearts is in the heart of Edmonds.

Romeo was a fixture here – he was photographed on the street, invited to participate in local merchant fashion shows, was a regular on the waterfront walk, and sought after by most who saw him with the wonderful Anne and Kurt.

One time, Anne, Kurt, and Romeo were outside of Salt and Iron on a sunny afternoon, and a group of pedestrians (Tibetans-in-exile here in Edmonds) stopped on the street and said, “There’s a Tibetan Mastiff!”

After a conversation among the two groups who never would have met if not for Romeo, the Kutays were invited to observe as a master of Tibetan Buddhist art, created an image of a Green Tara (a representation of the healing energy of release from fear and ignorance) over several days, along with tens-of-thousands of others who follow the artist via a Facebook Live feed.

Another time, Anne was sitting at a sidewalk table at Mar-Ket, and a local photographer asked if he could take their picture, and after speaking with them for a while, that photographer captured them “doing what we all like to do in Edmonds – hanging out with our dogs,” as Kurt said.

Romeo was, in a word, beloved. A soft, playful, loving, curious gentle giant, who exemplified the people “on the other side of the leash,” as my friend Ruth says. Romeo brought us together as neighbors.

If you walk in Edmonds with your dog, you will speak to every person also walking with a dog, but Romeo stopped anyone in their tracks to start a conversation.

Dogs give us a safe opportunity to engage with and learn about each other in times when that is happening less and less. We recently met new neighbors after beelining it to meet their overtly happy and adorable miniature dachshund, Oscar (yup, Oscar).

Edmonds is not the only city that loves its dogs. Seattle is considered the second most dog-friendly city in the U.S., after Portland.

Edmonds is the only town, though, that was lucky enough to have Romeo, and for that, this town and its dogs are forever grateful.



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