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December 05, 2016
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No jacket required

Photo by Carol Montana attracting media attention, Carol Montana, from the Catskill Chronicle asked Dharma to pose with Miss & Mrs. Sullivan County at the seventh annual Thunderbash

Rodeo clown that I am, my Thunderbash ensemble had been carefully planned, with Dharma the Wonder Dog in mind, since she was to be a star attraction alongside the Eldred High School Key Elements and country staples Amber Hayes, Darren Warren, Sherry Lynn, David Allen Byrnes and Tommy Steele, with special appearances from Monticello’s Dan Braunstein (singing the Star Spangled Banner) and “Mr. Nashville” Billy Block.

Okay... back to the jacket. Hand-stiched brown suede, perfectly matching my cowboy hat and requisite snap-button sleeveless, embroidered country rockin’ shirt (attention to detail is everything!), the jacket was a given. Aside from the fashion statement, the dog fits snugly into it, allowing me hands-free access to the camera, hand shaking and baby kissing, as we make the rounds.

Imagine (if you will) my dismay, then...when I reached for it in the closet (hold the comments, please!) and came up empty handed. Mild consternation quickly gave way to rising panic as I rifled through the rack, hooks in the hallway, chair backs and the truck. Empty handed and frighteningly close to full blown hissy-fit, I desperately tried to retrace my steps from the prior dog-in-jacket events, including her star turn at Rollin’ Down the River (www.delawareyouthcenter.org) just a week earlier. Frantic calls to the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop (www.scdw.net), Callicoon’s Patty Devine (www.cafedevine.com), Stacy Cohen (www.dancingcatsaloon.com), who had given me a ride somewhere along the way, all turned up nothing, nada, goose egg.

“Oh, just wear denim,” Cohen advised. “It’s back in style, and lighter in weight” she chirped, before hanging up, undoubtedly shaking her head while chalking up my dismay to “spring fever.” Unwilling to even consider the denim thing, I paused briefly to acknowledge the folly of my hysteria over a wardrobe selection and went back to making more calls, including a pathetic message left on the “Thunderline” at 102.1—causing DJ Jason Dole to respond, unable to disguise the pity in his voice. With time running out, I considered my options, cursing my fate and blaming the dog.