Those walking in Moscow recently may have noticed sidewalk chalk notes about a mystery character named Cooper.
Cooper — spoiler, he’s a dog — can be found accompanying his human counterpart and best friend, Rob Meyer, on multiple walks through town every day.
For most of the summer, the dynamic duo has been leaving fun notes on sidewalks to brighten the days of passersby. Some of the notes are greetings addressed to friends of Cooper, such as other dogs that live in his neighborhood and his favorite UPS driver, Otto.
Cooper is an 80-pound treeing walker coonhound with a black and brown coat.
Meyer took up his “Cooper tag” pastime back in March because he was inspired by chalk art murals he saw in the Fort Russell District of town. He said he wanted to help spread joy in the community during these uncertain times.
“It’s just supposed to be silly and fun — something that gives people a smile during the stress of the past six months.” he said. “People have really enjoyed it. Strangers will say things like, ‘We love walking around the neighborhood looking for Cooper’s latest tag!’ ”
One recent message, written near a street gutter on the corner of Third and Polk street, says “Cooper saves water … and makes it.”
“Cooper gots game,” is written beneath one of the hoops on the east City Park public basketball court.
Other gems, such as “Cooper: flea and virus free,” “Cooper loves wet concrete but he never steps in it!” and “Cooper shares hydrants,” are written on other sidewalks in the neighborhood.
There’s also “Cooper is not Banksy,” for those who might have been wondering.
The best friends this week had their names in lights downtown.
“Thanks Cooper and Rob,” read the marquee above the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre on Main Street on Thursday.
Meyer moved to Moscow on a whim back in 2011 after he visited friends and fell in love with the community.
A successful career as a journalist and English teacher took him to practically every corner of the country before he retired. The West has always held a special place in his heart.
“I never thought I’d stay in New England for 11 years, but plans change when you fall in love,” he said. “My wife was a born-and-bread suburban-Boston, Irish-Catholic girl, who thought Burlington, Vermont was the West Coast.”
Meyer did make it back out West, however, and he lived in Washington before moving to Moscow.
He adopted Cooper in 2014 from the Clearwater Humane Society in Orofino and the two have been having a ball together ever since. On average, Meyer said he’s been trying to take Cooper on six walks every day this summer because it’s a great way to exercise and enjoy the beautiful weather.
“I have two knees, and they barely operate. He’s my physical trainer,” Meyer said.
The local fame Cooper has garnered in the past few months has made Meyer a proud dog owner, and he hopes to continue spreading joy throughout the community with his best friend.
“He’s a black and tan man — he’s a happening dude with a good attitude.”
Ellen Dennis can be reached at (208) 883-4632 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org