October 23, 2013 —
Okay, I give up. My never-ending effort to stand on my own two feet and crawl out of the shadow of my dog’s popularity has failed. I’m waving the white flag, admitting defeat and giving in. Some of you would argue that I created this monster, but the simple truth is that no one is to blame. It is what it is, and I’m now sanguine about the whole affair. I live with a celebrity and am hanging on for dear life. If she had opposable thumbs, I’d be out of a job and still, the popular consensus is that Dharma writes this column, while I just drive her around. So be it.
While making plans to attend country crooner Ryan Broshear’s show in Bethel, NY (www.dancingcatsaloon.com ), I glanced at my twitter feed (@jonathanfoxIMHO) and cringed. Broshear was tweeting (@ryanbroshear) about his visit to Sullivan County and had this to say: “Looking forward to coming to Bethel, NY next Friday to perform @The Cat Saloon. Hope to catch up with Dharma the Wonder Dog!” Nice. Apparently, she responded, since what followed was a conversation between Broshear and the dog, which included (but was not limited to) chat about what she should wear, who would be in attendance and whether there would be dog chow waiting for her from the chef. Charming. After some chatter, they settled on her red cowgirl hat and off we went. I originally met Ryan while escorting the pooch to the Texaco Country Showdown last summer and was beyond impressed by his musical prowess and incredible charisma and said so at the time. Sifting through the archives of The River Reporter, I came across a quote which stated that Broshear (www.ryanbroshear.com ) had such style that he “makes women swoon and grown men cry.” Nothin’ about animals at all, but clearly what he walked away with from our initial meeting was all about the dog. That’s great.
To those who say “why not just leave her at home?” I must respond. Being my service dog, she has to be with me at all times and (clearly) she has taken advantage of that. Broshear was (IMHO) fantastic and had über-fans in the house, decked out in eponymous T-shirts, recording his every move on their smart phones and yes, swooning a bit over his growling, snarling, hip-thrusting (channeling Elvis on occasion) interpretations of country-cool. Original songs, mixed with great covers served to give Broshear the opportunity to showcase his great band and his own brand of swagger that will undoubtedly catapult him into the mainstream soon. Very soon. While he did acknowledge my presence, (and agreed to a photo-op), it was (for something completely different) really an excuse to snuggle up with you-know-who, and when I checked her Facebook page the next day, I discovered this note from him—to her. “Dharma, I just wanted to thank you for being such a great fan. I was so happy to have you in the audience and loved your cowdog hat. P.S. I dedicated my song ‘Where Have All the Good Girls Gone’ to you.” Charmed, I’m sure.
Imagine my chagrin when I noted that the next event on her (I mean my) calendar was judging a canine costume contest in Youngsville, NY (www.facebook.co/townegift ), celebrating the Towne Gift Shoppe’s third anniversary. Fellow judges Kat Wingert (www.littlestarsfdc.org ) and Brenda Seldin (www.petscancommunicate.com ) joined us in the festivities, which included a visit from Dharma’s four-legged pals Mimi and Fantasia, courtesy of Denise and Ed Burkhart’s farm, “Imagine! Alpacas,” just up the road. The gorgeous creatures (www.imaginealpacas.com ) seemed to remember meeting the wonder dog, (but not me) as she slinked into their enclosure and gave them a kiss, wagging her adorable tail. All of the dogs were a hit, while prizes for “Cutest,” “Most Original” and “Best in Show” were awarded before cake was served. Proprietor Kristen Fischer followed up by saying, “Thank you to everyone for an amazing celebration at the Shoppe. The support was overwhelming and we couldn’t do it without our friends and customers.” Several of the kids asked for Dharma’s “pawtograph” before our exit and next destination, Callicoon, NY.
Having read that there would be a daffodil bulb planting event along Main Street, I decided a snapshot was in order and decided to swing by to chat with organizer Paul Matwiow, who told me (after insisting on meeting the dog) that this year marks “more than 6,000 bulbs” donated in honor of a loved one, and that he hopes it will catch on. Matwiow is asking residents to join in and “plant bulbs roadside in front of your house; we’ll provide the bulbs.” To participate in this beautification endeavor, call 845/887-5421. Dharma made no promises about not digging in the garden, for at the end of the day, she ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, right?