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Costumed dog walker strolls through Westlake each day

Westlake man walks his dog in costume each evening to bring joy to his neighborhood.

WESTLAKE, Ohio — While everyone is dealing with staying home in their own way, one person decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary to not just break up the routine, but break a smile on the faces of his neighbors.

“We’ve been here since 98’, so 22 years,” says Tom Roach.

You’d think after 22 years, you’d know who your neighbors are. However, since the shelter in place order, Tom decided to keep his neighbors guessing.

“Everyday since we’re home, we’ll walk our dog around and wave at the neighbors. Everybody knows us,” says Tom.

Those walks got a whole lot more interesting after Tom saw a video online of someone walking their dog in costume and decided to give it a go. He thought it would not only give him something to do, but I might also provide a little joy to others at a time that many could use it.

Tom says, “My wife thought I was crazy and I’m like, you know it will make somebody laugh. They’re all shut in and the kids thought it was funny. I thought, I have another costume and all of these Halloween costumes, so I just started doing it.”

The costumed strolls through the neighborhood turned out to be such a hit, that many neighbors aren’t just waiting to see what he’ll be dress up as but have started contributing to the cause.

“The neighbor said, ‘Oh, we have extra princess costumes,’ and I’m like send it over. I’ll wear it. Now, it’s blossomed, and neighbors are dropping off costumes for me to wear and it’s kind of fun,” says Tom.

Sometimes, he’s a superhero. Other times, he’s a celebrity. Once, he was just plain uncomfortable.

“Like the 20s or 30s flapper dress and I wore heels with it. I’m not a heel wearing kind of guy, so my calves were burning by the end of the walk,” recalls Tom.

Nevertheless, Tom plans to keep dressing up each night during this stay at home order, which most likely will lead to his neighbors knowing him as the costume guy.

“If it breaks up the monotony of the day, then it’s definitely worth it,” says Tom.

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