Momo: Meet William and Mary’s famous furry friend

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KATIE KOONTZ / THE FLAT HAT

As it says on his Facebook page, Momo the Samoyed is truly a “dog about the town.” Momo, whose given name is Daystar’s Moomintroll Maurice Moss, can often be spotted playing on the Sunken Garden, hanging out with his parents around Washington Hall or Morton Hall or trying to snag a treat at the Williamsburg Farmers Market. 

“He’s a total chowhound, so he just pulls me from one place that he can get snacks to another place that he knows he can get snacks,” Momo’s owner and Vice Provost for E-Learning Michael Blum said. “People like to stop and pet him there, and that’s one place that he really loves because he gets to meet dogs.”

Easily recognizable by his immensely fluffy white fur and gentle smile, Momo is a local celebrity. People love to stop and pet him, and he loves the attention. On campus, students recognize Momo from events like Wesley Campus Ministry’s Paws for Stress night or his social media accounts. 

“His fame precedes him, and it always comes as a shock to me,” owner and professor of Russian studies Bella Ginzbursky-Blum said.

Momo has both a Facebook and an Instagram account, which allows Blum to share all of his pictures of Momo in one place. Given his popularity on campus, there is definitely a demand for Momo pictures. 

“We like to share him because people want to see him,” Blum said.

Momo turns three years old in March and has come a long way since his puppy days. According to his parents, Momo was a bit of a menace when he was little, but with training he has learned tricks and commands and now enjoys showing off for treats. He even has an agility set in the backyard. 

Naturally curious, Momo loves to explore outside, whether he is going for hikes in Acadia National Park in Maine or at home on the Capitol Trail. He is just as popular with his human friends as he is with other animals he meets. Momo has many dog pals on campus and especially loves going to see the horses and sheep in Colonial Williamsburg. 

Often, animals are equally as curious about him as he is of them. Ginzbursky-Blum remembers one time when they came across a deer in the woods. Both Momo and the deer stopped and studied each other. Blum says that in addition to deer, sometimes birds will follow Momo around. 

Halloween is an especially fun holiday for Momo. This year he was Appa from “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which is also the show where the nickname Momo comes from. For his first Halloween, Momo’s costume was a piece of paper taped to his side with the word “cloud” looping through the center. In fact, Momo has so much white, fluffy fur that Blum was able to use it to knit.

“We actually spun his fur into yarn, and I knit with it,” Blum said. “I’m knitting a blanket right now … I’m knitting mainly with wool, but then there are a couple of places where I sewed his fur into the pattern.”

His distinctly long hair is equally matched by his long tongue, which often pokes out while playing. Blum loves to joke about it. 

“His best feature is that his tongue is too long for his mouth,” Blum said.

Keep an eye out for Momo and his fluffy white coat strolling around campus.