A new era of Dickson spirit had arrived, bright eyed and bushy tailed. It was senior night and in front of a packed Dickson Gymnasium, the town was introduced to its newest mascot – Comet, the Wonder Dog.

DICKSON — With tail wagging from side to side, a blue-eyed beast with white and grey hair took the main stage, strutting to center court with two cheerleaders at his side.

The dog waved then dabbed for the youth before returning to his spot on the baseline to a rousing ovation.

A new era of Dickson spirit had arrived, bright eyed and bushy tailed. It was senior night and in front of a packed Dickson Gymnasium, the town was introduced to its newest mascot – Comet, the Wonder Dog. 

The moment was the culmination of months of work behind the scenes for Dickson student and now mascot Cody Garner. 

Comet was the senior’s vision, and from conception to reality, Garner saw it through.

“I was like ok, let’s go for it,” Garner said. “It’s my senior year, so why not?”

Cody’s youth pastor was a mascot in high school and he’d been in talks about creating a mascot with Wanetta Thompson, the Dickson cheer sponsor. After receiving the encouragement to pursue his goal, Garner embarked on creating Comet.

“He came to me out of the blue and was like, ‘Hey Mr. Krimmer we should do a mascot’ and I was like okay, you should do some work on this,” Dickson High School Principal Matt Krimmer said. “He comes back the next day with all this paperwork. I could tell he was serious.”

Garner went from organization to organization raising funds. 

He wrote a proposal and presented his case for Comet in front of the school board. And after securing the money for the costume and getting approval, Garner embodied the Wonder Dog, making his mascot dreams official.

“When you put on the suit you’re no longer a person,” Garner said. “You’re Comet the Wonder Dog. You’re larger than life. You become someone that people want to relate with. People come up and hug you. You get to be that person that everyone loves all the time. It’s awesome.”

But creating Comet wasn’t just for glory. Considering Dickson didn’t have a mascot for years, Garner saw an opportunity to improve his school’s gameday experience.

“I just thought it was something that would put Dickson over the top,” Garner said. “There are a couple schools that don’t have mascots, and now that we have one, we’re miles ahead of them.”

While the in-person reaction was overwhelmingly positive, some on social media expressed confusion and disapproval as to why the new Comet mascot was a Siberian Husky.

Instead of a ball of fire, the school got a ball of fur.

Comet the Wonder Dog will be far from the first mascot that isn’t a literal depiction of the team's name. And like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s mascot Rumble the Bison, Comet comes with an origin story.

For generations, Dickson students have been visited by dogs on campus. After a while, the dogs collectively assumed the same name, Comet. 

Krimmer recalls chasing one iteration of Comet off the field during a Dickson football game. 

It only made sense for Garner to make the schools’ unofficial mascot official.

“When my mom went to school here, she said there was a dog that would come to campus and visit and we have one now. It seems like everyone who’s come through Dickson has had their own Comet,” Garner said. “I thought it was a pretty cool idea that goes along with that. Other generations can connect with it.”

Krimmer said the Wonder Dog has already left an impression on kids big and small at Dickson.

“Everyone gets stoked to see Cody in the suit,” Krimmer said. “My daughter came home and all she could talk about was how the Wonder Dog came to class. Saying it’s been well received would be an understatement.”

For Garner, he said inspiring the future generations of Dickson students with school pride is the best part of the gig.

“It makes me feel so good on the inside, this is the whole reason I did this,” he said. “Their minds get so wigged out for Comet. They all just love it and it will continue to grow more and more as they get older.”

Beyond Comet pride, Krimmer said seeing one of his students take the initiative to enact change inspires him as an administrator. 

“That’s what we want from our students at Dickson,” he said. “If they want to change something, they want to change something about the school or do a project, we want to help facilitate it. Cody is a great representative of the type of kiddo we’re trying to produce at Dickson.”

Upon graduation, Garner said he has a succession plan to find the right candidate to replace him as the Wonder Dog. He’s also considering taking his mascot skills to the next level in college.