We had a overweight, poorly trained springer spaniel when I was growing up. Ironically, she was named “Lady” although there was nothing lady-like about her. She was nice enough, but she lived in a kennel my Dad had built against the back wall of our brick house. The condition of the kennel is for another post. Suffice to say if you saw it, you would not be surprised to hear that my Dad grew up on a farm. The kennel, affixed to a 1958 split-level in suburban Chicago, looked like some kind of pig sty apropos to southern Indiana. But, as I said, that is for a later day.

Today’s topic is the dog show in which I entered Lady. I really, really wanted Lady to be Lassie, but other than the first two letters of their respective names, there were no similarities. None at all.

And I wasn’t dumb. Even at age 10, I was astute enough to realize that Lady had no chance in the obedience contest, nor in the looks contest (reference “untrained” and “overweight” in the first paragraph). The dog show, however, had a costume competition. Perfect. Lady was compliant enough so if I fashioned a costume, I knew she’d go along. The question remained . . . what would an award-winning costume look like?

Now I must digress to tell you that no one in my family, save perhaps one sister who did not live at home, had any sewing ability whatsoever. In fact, one had a hard time finding scissors in our house and when found, they were always dull to the point of uselessness.

I let the whole costume issue go to ’til the last minute, when I knew desperation would bring a good idea, which it did.

On the morning of the dog show I removed my 16 year-old sister’s blue and white,¬†two-piece bathing suit from our room while she slept. Then, with my Dad’s assistance, I worked Lady into the suit. The bottoms were particularly troublesome, but we managed. My Dad then dropped us at the dog show.

I don’t remember him sticking around for the show. Apparently he had some pride. Sadly we only received a “participant” ribbon, but it was the only ribbon I’d ever gotten for anything so I was pleased. That is until I got home and faced my sister.