Sasee Magazine - September 2023

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“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
September 2023
-Anatole France
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Volume 22, Issue 9

Maxey...Our One-Eared Pirate by Marsha Tennant


by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

4 :: :: September 2023
Sasee Gets Personal with Sherry Weatherly: Coastal Luxe Interiors Manager The Chicken or the Egg? The Dog or the Cat?
Erika Hoffman A Dog to Remember by Jeffery Cohen Creating Fur-Ever Companions by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson All Dogs Go To Heaven by David Warren
8 10 12 14 18 24 28
Helping Hands of Georgetown: Youth Empowerment Program
“Wonder-fur World”
September 2023
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from the Editor

Before my parents had me, their first (fur)child was a Boykin Spaniel, Rhett. Besides eating all our socks and the occasional shoe, he was an extremely smart pup and a dependable companion. I was allowed to get my very own pet once I reached second grade which is when we got a second Boykin named Scarlett. (Yes, my parents love Gone with the Wind.) Scarlett and I spent many beach sunrises together, had a mutual love for cheese, and both carried the sassy gene – or maybe she learned that from me. Unlike Rhett, the never-ending retrieving dog, Scarlett could not fetch to save her life. She also didn’t swim like him when we went to the beach – she would just bite the waves. Although our little brown dogs were very different from each other, they did share one special thing in common. When it was time for them to cross the rainbow (at separate times), they both took a stroll in the neighborhood under the full moonlight and wandered into a nearby garden to lay to rest peacefully.

Although I grew up a dog person, I have come to appreciate cats throughout the years as well. As an adult, I have not personally acquired any more pets (yet), but I do live with two rescued cats. Even though they belong to my roommate, I love and care for them as my own.

Thomas (AKA Mr. Tom/Mister Mans) is handsome, smart, and extremely talkative. He enjoys drinking from the sink, playing with toys (but only in secret), and is the best cuddle bug ever. Rosie (AKA Sweet Rose/Miss Girl) is seriously the prettiest, quirkiest, hungriest little fluff of cuteness. Although she has a neurological disorder, her big brother is very helpful. Peculiar, yet adorable, this dynamic duo is so amusing to always have around while at home. I encourage you to try out yoga with your pets –it’s an entertaining time. I could not imagine life without the love and comfort of fur babies.


Delores Blount

Sales & Marketing Director

Susan Bryant Editor

Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

Account Executives

Erica Schneider

Gay Stackhouse

Art Director Patrick Sullivan

Contributing Photographer Chasing the Light Photography

Web Developer

Scott Konradt

Accounting Gail Knowles

Executive Publishers

Jim Creel

Bill Hennecy PO Box 1389, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 fax 843-626-6452 • phone 843-626-8911 • Sasee

6 :: :: September 2023
is published monthly and distributed free along the Grand Strand. Submissions of articles and art are welcome. Visit our website for details on submission.
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Sasee is a Strand Media Group, Inc. publication. Copyright

Maxey...Our One-Eared Pirate

“I once was a Pirate what sailed the ‘igh seas---- “  T.S Eliot’s Cat Morgan

This pitiful matey literally washed up on our porch during a coastal downpour. He was drenched and looked like a skeleton with barely enough fur to cover his bones. He rubbed up against us while snarling and crying at the same time. This wrenched stray wasn’t sure how to act. It was obvious he had been on his own for weeks, if not months.

We offered him food and he ate like he didn’t remember his last meal. We dried him off with a towel and loved him while he continued to cry. He eventually curled up beside my grandson and quietly began to purr. It was then that we got a good look at his head and noticed that he only had one good ear. The other one was folded over. He reminded us of a pirate with his gnarled and ragged appearance. My grandson talked to him in a low voice and assured him he was ok. We left food and blankets out on our porch. We weren’t sure he would be there in the morning.

But he was….ready for breakfast and more love! He stayed all day and by night it was clear that he had no intention of setting sail again. That meant we needed to come up with a name. Maxey was the winner. For the first week or so he stayed mostly on the porch and in our side yard. Every time we went outside he would run up to us ready for food and love! He even tried to take a walk with us.

The next step was a trip to the vet. We learned that he had FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus}. No cure but good nutrition and lots of love would help him live a good life. The vet also estimated he was about five years old. We could only imagine the dangerous adventures he had experienced.

There was no way to predict what was ahead for us a few weeks later. Covid-19 and sheltering in place literally happened overnight. Maxey loved having our grandson do his virtual school on the porch with him. He even became part of the classroom ZOOM meetings. All of the students were intrigued by his one ear and agreed Maxey was a pirate. They wrote stories about him and had a picture of him up on the computer screen to keep them company. Maxey was the class mascot.

This was balm for my soul, too, with the day-to-day uncertainty of the news. I had previously written two rescue dog pirate adventures for children.. Maxey stirred

my imagination and passion for writing. This scallywag was working in an unexpected way. We all became part of his crew. His tale grows as I visit libraries and children’s venues in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. His travels expand with each “appearance.” The marshes and inlets are full of pirate stories and the many miscreants who are always waiting for the next ship to plunder. I love to share Maxey’s story and then let the children create adventures and possibilities for his band of feline pirates.

The joy and love that Maxey brought into my family’s life was totally unexpected. He came to us when we needed him most. My grandson said that there are no coincidences and I agree! Every time we look at that one ear, we all say “Arrrrrr!”

Marsha Tennant creates pirate dog/cat adventures for children while sitting on her back porch in Myrtle Beach. She still dreams of being a real pirate one day!

8 :: :: September 2023
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Gets Personal with Sherry Weatherly: Coastal Luxe Interiors Manager

Q: What makes Coastal Luxe special?

“Since opening in 2014, our mission has always been to make the customer’s project their personal dream come true as effortlessly as possible. Our team’s goal is to equip and empower you to make design decisions that function and flow with the style that you truly love - Design that will stand the test of time.

Coastal Luxe also supports many community organizations such as the Horry Georgetown Culinary School, the Coastal Carolina University Athletic Foundation, and the Humane Society. As big animal lovers, our store is also pet friendly.”

Q: Do you have any pets?

“I have rescued many dogs and cats in my years. This is actually the smallest number of animals that I have had in quite a while. I currently have 3 cats (Elvis, Marilyn, and Gypsie) and 2 dogs (Buffy and Cricket). Buffy is too prissy to play with toys as she has a little bit of a princess attitude, however, Cricket is the toychasing and chewing one. Her favorite toy is a small flat squirrel. I am partial to Pekingese dogs and am always looking for one that needs my attention and help.”

Q: Can you share a funny pet story?

“The funniest and oddest incident so far was last year when we had a stray cat start coming up to our door. Of course, we started feeding her outside, but once she learned where the doggy door was located, she began to come in on her own, even though we made her go back out immediately. Well, while we were on a short vacation, my daughter-in-law was taking care of feeding all my pets and noticed that the “new cat” was suddenly very skinny! She was frantic and looked everywhere, and low and behold, in the corner of our family room, she found seven newborn kittens. Like the good mother she is herself, she immediately went into momma mode. She got a big pet bed and all the necessary equipment needed for the new momma cat and her babies. So, the stray new cat had found herself a safe new home for her babies. We kept the kittens until they all could be adopted into good homes. We also had the momma cat spayed and she is now a part of our pet family.”

Q: Do you think our pets match our personalities?

“Yes, I think our pets will react to others the way they are treated. My vet and groomer always comment on how good my girls are. I attribute that to purely being loved and treated well. I also always talk to my pets, with all the sweet baby talk you can imagine.”

Q: Do you believe there are health benefits of pet companionship?

“Absolutely. I personally feel like my pets bring a sense of completion to my life. They know how to warm your heart and soul when no one else can. They are truly angels with four legs!”

10 :: :: September 2023
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The Chicken or the Egg? The Dog or the Cat?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Often, I debate whether a dog makes a person kinder or whether it’s kind folks who care for dogs? Or cats? Or horses? Or, well, any animal that needs tending to and love. When I was a young gal, I always thought I’d be a mom someday and when that maternal feeling set in, I wanted a baby. When you have a child, your life is no longer yours alone. You share not only your body with a baby but your wants, hopes, fears, food, house, car, friends, and kin. Even your pets. To me, having a child made me into a more caring person than I had been before.

Having a pet as a five-year-old changed me, too. I loved Mittens, my cat, I had to beg Mom for. I cared for her, and I loved and kept her litters of kittens. She changed me early on.

Then again, not everyone wants a puppy, a kitten, a responsibility. Are these folks less self-sacrificing? Not sure. Maybe, we who are selfish need to adopt a fur baby to get in touch with our more responsible side. Maybe, some folks are born naturally kind and altruistic. Perhaps others must learn to be so by taking care of pets, later children, and ultimately their elderly parents.

Once when going on vacation, the kennel owner where I lodge our dachshunds shared a story with me. She said a young, tough police rookie stopped by her kennel after work to sit and pet the animals. She asked him why. He said it relaxed him. After dealing with some difficult folks, tiresome duties, and horrible situations, cuddling a dog gave him relief and hope. “Besides,” he said, “the folks bringing their pets here are nice people, and after the day I’ve spent with folks who don’t care about others, it’s good to be around this sort of human being. It restores my faith in the world.” This anecdote reminded me of my original premise: the chicken or the egg? Is it that nice folks have pets or is it that having pets makes folks nicer?

I read an article today written by a young woman who suffers from eating disorders. She’s been in and out of treatments which she feels are part of an industry that perhaps doesn’t want to cure the problem. So, she has decided to change her routine. She now spends time at the Atlanta Humane

Society. “To be able to walk the dogs I must stay healthy. I know they need me, and I can’t let them down.”

Sometimes, you rescue the animal; sometimes it rescues you. Some children have dander allergies; some don’t have parents who can afford the expense of pets; some live in places non-conducive to animal care because of busy streets or cramped apartments. I realize that a wonder-fur ball is not a possibility for every youth. Yet, for those without these restraints, I think there’s nothing better for a child than to love and nurture an animal. A living creature. (Not a character in a video game!) Besides learning responsibility, you discover how to love unconditionally. And that is something hard to acquire in school alone or from watching TV. Furthermore, when you become old and no longer are chasing after the next best thing, that loving animal cozied up beside you on the couch keeps loneliness at bay. You are his world.

Not only do your pets become your family, but also, they become your teachers, your healers, your counselors, your entertainment, your best friends; life without these dear blessings misses something. When you’re very young, you need their companionship, and when you are very old, the same holds true.

Some of my favorite people have been pets. Here’s to my long line of beloved animals. Most were dogs or cats, but a few were hamsters and parakeets. I don’t know which came first – the chicken or the egg, but I firmly believe that these animals taught me how to love at an early age. They helped form me. I remember them all. I miss them, too. And somewhere over the rainbow, I pray we’ll reunite again.

12 :: :: September 2023
Erika Hoffman writes daily with two dachshunds at her feet. 5900 N Kings Hwy Myrtle Beach 843-839-3571

A Dog to Remember by

I finished loading the last of the suitcases into the station wagon and cleaned all of the windows. I just wanted to be certain there would be a clear view of the miles of cornfields, the herds of cows out to pasture, and especially the mountain ranges. I didn’t want anyone to miss a thing during our threehour journey.

My wife was putting the finishing touches on her worldclass potato salad, made from a recipe passed down from her mother, and her mother before that. While she carefully packed bowls of the precious concoction into a Styrofoam cooler, I entertained our granddaughter, Bria, who would be going along with us to her first family reunion.

Bria and I were engaged in our usual game of hide and seek. I would close my eyes, count to one hundred, then, with very little trouble, I’d find Bria peeking out from around one slim tree or another.

“There you are,” I’d say with a smile, pointing in her direction. Her response was always the same.

“You’re cheating. You’re cheating!”

I had just finished counting and began my exaggerated search to find her. This time I crept around the back of the house and came up behind Bria, who was hiding like a bunny in a patch of tall grass.

“There you are.” I laughed. Bria didn’t bother to turn around. She just stood there staring down at the ground.

“That’s where Boston ate food,” she said solemnly, pointing a tiny finger at the base of a row of bushes.

The words caught me off guard. Boston was a sweet little black terrier that we owned for twelve years. I couldn’t have loved my own flesh and blood any more than I loved that dog. The little Scotty used to perch atop the back of the living room sofa, gazing out of the front window. As soon as my car appeared, so did Boston, bouncing off a sofa cushion as if it were a diving board. He would wind up at the front door, dancing in circles as he balanced on his hind legs to welcome me.

First thing each morning, like a furry alarm clock, Boston would wrestle the covers off our bed and begin yelping until he was sure we were up. In the evening, when my wife dozed off on the couch, all I had to do was to whisper Boston’s name. In an instant, the dog’s fuzzy little beard would be resting in my lap. The night was our time. Who knows how many secrets and dreams I shared with him? This was more than a man and his dog. We were best friends.

When Boston died, almost two years earlier, a week before Bria’s second birthday, I was devastated – inconsolable. The

pain that tightened around my heart left a great emptiness inside of me. It was a void that my tiny granddaughter eventually helped to fill. And though there was not a day that passed without me thinking of the little dog, I was sure that over time, Bria had completely forgotten about him.

I recalled her as a toddler peering around corners of the house asking the same question over and over again. “Where Boston?” she would repeat until she uncovered his wagging tail and bristly ears. As the little guy skipped around her and tried to lick her face, she would answer with a giggle, her tiny fingers patting him on the head. But a day came when her regular search didn’t uncover him.

“Where Boston?” she asked, as usual. Despite the hurt that I felt that day, I slipped on my best grandfatherly mask and explained the dog’s sudden absence by telling Bria that Boston had to go away – he had been called to heaven. She looked at me with confusion, not exactly understanding what it all meant. But from that day on, whenever the subject of Boston came up, Bria would get an angelic look on her face, bat her eyes innocently, and whisper, “Boston heaven.” Then she’d nod with certainty. In time, all discussion of the little black dog seemed to fade into the past. Now, almost two years later, a memory of Boston had returned to her.

“Bria, you remember Boston?”

She thoughtfully nodded yes.

“And where is Boston?” I asked, expecting the usual answer. “Boston died,” she answered softly.

“And he’s in heaven now,” I quickly interjected, desperate to temper her sadness with a sweet thought. “He’s a little doggy angel,” I explained, still wondering when this little granddaughter of mine had become aware of death. As I wrapped my arms around Bria and hugged her, I could not ignore the signs of the child’s precious innocence beginning to slip away.

* * *

The reunion was as it had always been. It tied me to the carefree days of my childhood. I was back in my mother’s hometown again, surrounded by relatives, but this time there was Bria sharing it all. The “Belle of the Ball,” she spent time charming everyone with the simple grace and impish grin of a four-yearold. After two fun-filled days of food and family, the three of us made our return trip.

Back home, I was unpacking the car when I heard hysterical wailing from the bedroom upstairs. It became so pitiful that I dropped everything and dashed into the house. As I raced up the stairway, I met my wife coming down, our granddaughter in her arms.

14 :: :: September 2023

“You won’t believe what she’s crying about,” my wife whispered as she flew past me. “She’s crying because Boston died.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I knew I still wasn’t over my dog’s death. There were days when I could see his hairy little black face, nose to nose with me. There were mornings when I pictured Boston staring up at me from the spot where his basket used to sit in the kitchen. There were nights when I would wake up and, in the darkness, I was sure I could feel the little dog resting under the covers near my feet. But these were feelings I kept to myself, never realizing that Bria had her own memories of the little black dog.

I picked my weeping granddaughter up in my arms and held her tight, trying my best to offer comfort.

“Don’t cry, Bria,” I urged. “It’s okay. Boston’s in heaven. Boston has wings and the cutest little halo.” I tried to explain as I felt the shudder of every sob. “Don’t you want Boston to be an angel in heaven?” I asked.

“Noooo,” she cried as she fought to catch her breath. “I just want him to be a dog again.”

We clung together as tears ran down both of our faces. How could I ever explain to my little granddaughter that, all I wanted was for Boston to be a dog again too?

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Nora Fleming is a line of serveware, kitchen accessories, and home décor that can be customized with “mini” ornaments for any and all occasions!

Freelance writer and newspaper columnist, Jeffery Cohen, has written for Sasee, Lifetime and Read, Learn, Write. He’s won awards in Women-On-Writing Contest, Vocabula’s Well Written Contest, National League of American Pen Women’s’ Keats Competition, Southern California Genealogy Competition, and Writer’s Weekly writing contest. :: September 2023 :: 15 DON’T MISS IT! Annual Walk Sponsored by the North Myrtle Beach Woman’s Club Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence and the Resources Available to Help Victims of Intimate Partner Violence Elder Abuse Teen Dating Violence Child Abuse WALK A MILE MAKE A DIFFERENCE Saturday, October 21, 2023 - 10AM – 2PM North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex Tickets Available At Event Tickets $20 Kids Under 12 Free DOGS WELCOME DON’T MISS IT! Your participation will help raise funds for victim’s needs, and to increase awareness. If you would like to be a sponsor, a vendor, or donate to this event, please contact the NMB Woman’s club on our Facebook page: or Website:
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Located inside Lee’s Inlet Apothecary 843.651.7979 3579 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 @gooddeedgoods
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Creating Fur-Ever Companions

Taking care of pets offers countless benefits - just as humans care for their animals, animals care for their humans too. Committing to a consistent caretaking routine teaches responsibility and gives a person purpose. From walking and playing, the physical activity aspects improve lifestyle changes. The mental health advantages are life-altering. While reducing loneliness and lowering blood pressure, a pet’s company also increases feelings of comfort and support. Spending time with animals can naturally boost happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine which provide calming and relaxing properties. This miraculous experience is why many dogs are brought into hospitals and nursing homes to help with patients’ stress and anxiety. Dogs have the unique ability to give someone their full attention through their positive non-verbal communication and unconditional love. Regardless of age or challenges many individuals face day-to-day, well-trained docile animals can soothe and contribute positive benefits to anyone’s well-being.

Continue reading to discover a couple of local trainers who take dog companionship to a whole new level.

Founded thirty years ago by retired canine officer, Mark Thompson, Dog Training in Your Home was created to build a bridge between humans and dogs. The business started with basic obedience and has added therapy and service-level training. Unlike many board and train programs that are just for canines, these programs are specifically designed for both the dog and the owner. The pair must create trust together for their relationship to transpire into true companionship.

Along the Grand Strand area, Steve Dailey is the franchise’s local dog liaison. As a military veteran of six and a half years and retired police officer of fifteen years, he understands first-hand how important this mission is. His extensive service experience paired with his childhood development and psychology background made this position a sensible and fulfilling career path.

The lesson plans are individual and cater to specific needs.

18 :: :: September 2023

Regardless of how specialized the learning will go in the future, all dogs must start with basic obedience training. To improve rapport between the owner and the canine, this five-week program is one-on-one, meaning just the pair and Steve. He explained, “Just like people, animals learn and communicate in different ways and at varying rates. Some are easy and just want a treat or some praise, but some require more to form that bond.”

Most clients already have a pet or are looking to get one soon. While they do not exclude any dogs, the breed, size, and age do matter when it comes to matching certain needs. A puppy (8 weeks or so) will always be best to mold because they don’t have any bad habits yet to break. To push more of the advanced stuff and off-leash training, the twelve-week class is recommended. Group classes are offered for dog program graduates who are already socialized but need a tune-up. They operate like service dogs around each other because they are with their owners. Their ability to transition from a playful pet to a service animal is important.

Steve brought one of his own service dogs in training to our interview, Goose. By giving a little direction, the smart pup’s demeanor changes as he gets into the zone. “I usually only have to say a couple of keywords for him to get in the working mindset. When the vest or leash is on, he knows he’s working and has a job to do.” Steve continued, “Out in public if I feel stressed or hypervigilant, he’s there as my battle buddy to watch my back. He knows how to break my concentration or help me realize what/whom to pay attention to. In places and situations that would normally trigger my PTSD, his presence decreases my anxiety and allows me to be more comfortable and confident in my everyday life.”

Many of Steve’s canines have served a purpose. His black lab who retired from the police force, Harley, developed a sense where she could tell when Steve was having bad nightmares. She would wake him up or at least keep him from falling onto the floor by laying between him and the edge of the bed. Her cuddles supplied comfort and he would pet her until he fell peacefully back to sleep. Mason was a therapeutic animal

who provided support for his wife who blew out her knee. Oakley bonded with one of his daughters early on during her teenage years and she was planning to take her sweet Doberman mix to college with her. Due to a recent house fire, some of these four-legged companions didn’t make it.

Goose and his brother, Maverick were rescued from a local puppy mill. The two were currently being trained on a service level to begin one of Steve’s future goals of linking dogs with veterans. His idea to find the right pairing is to partner with local shelters (which he already visits frequently to donate training that helps the animal’s chances of getting adopted). Although Goose and Maverick were going to be the first pups for this plan, they were so nurturing when they lost the other dogs that the brothers officially became part of the family.

Since he’s been with the company, Steve has trained at least 250 dogs so you can imagine he’s come across all sorts of personalities and disabilities. “Most recently, I met with a woman and her very skittish hound who didn’t like loud noises or even leaving the house. Oftentimes, harsh noises can be painful for dogs (and humans) suffering from tinnitus or other hearing injuries. This was a new encounter and I kind of went off script.” He clarified, “I decided to try out music therapy because ambient sounds can produce soothing effects. At first, the dog didn’t want to be around me, but after some time with the tranquil melodies, the pup was settled in my lap. It was an eye-opener for the owner and I’m excited to see their continued growth.”

From assisting humans in wheelchairs, predicting seizures, or detecting low blood sugar, service dogs can help with many other specialties for those in need. And even if a dog doesn’t go through full-service training, they provide amazing benefits for people. Pets reflect your feelings, so if you give the time and energy to build your relationship, the dogs will step up for you. As Steve says, “Your attitude runs down the leash. The more socialized and mannered the dog is, and the better you connect and communicate with them, the more fun you can have with your companion.”

For more information visit: :: September 2023 :: 19

Born into a dog-loving, military family, Rick Kaplan won his first blue ribbon for show dog training at five years old. When he was on the way to enlist at eighteen, a truck hit his taxi. “Looking back, that saved my life.” Rick continued, “I lost most of my friends in Vietnam.” He went on to live a successful life in New York City running a retail business and training canines on the side. Once he retired and moved to the Grand Strand, he decided to create a service for those who have served.

In 2010, Canine Angels was originally founded to match service animals with disabled veterans. Within five years, the nonprofit expanded its clientele to others who dedicate their lives to helping and serving the community like police, fireman, EMS, hospital employees, and teachers. Later, he noticed this mission would be appropriate for children as well. Thanks to this work, over a dozen dogs (in South Carolina) go to school every day with their kids who previously could not attend school due to their disabilities.

Rick rescues about a hundred local canines per year and takes them home to personally train through his intensive boot camp. After this month-long program, he can tell which dogs have the capabilities for additional training and which ones were simply meant to be great pets (either way, the animals are saved and placed in a good home). Those with special talents will stay with Rick for a year of service-level training.

Although Rick does all the teaching, his dedicated volunteers help with the imprinting work. This stage of desensitization is when the dogs visit public places such as trains, planes, and movie theatres. Rick also takes them when he plays golf to help remove their prey drive which would normally trigger them to hunt instead of obey. Not only are there many balls to chase, but there are also turkeys and deer on the course. He explained, “Being obedient at home is one thing, but for

a dog to experience distractions of all kinds and stay focused – that’s the goal.”

After becoming service-level, the next step is matching the canine to the human. This depends on if they have an instant connection and if the dog’s skillset benefits the person’s specific needs. No classes are offered - each person gets individual time and energy. The two types of training he focuses on are physical (dogs that retrieve and carry things as well as provide mobility and stability) and psychiatric (dogs that help with mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, and PTSD). Regardless, the idea is to get the person back into their normal routine of life.

Every canine that trains on his beautiful, big lot of land lives with him inside his home and is always part of his family. The owners and their dogs will often visit the pool as the pups have swim time every day. When an owner is away for whatever reason, the dog comes to stay for however long is needed. If an owner passes away, the dog returns to Rick’s care until it’s time to serve again (depending on age) or until it’s their time to pass as well. So far, five dogs have permanently returned to the canine quarters and have become amazing teachers.

As you can imagine, Rick is never lonely. He’s never met a dog he doesn’t like (he can’t say the same for people). On average, he usually has about twenty dogs at a time (yes, they all sleep in the house with him but only six fit in his bed at a time). When he says “pups” the whole team directs their attention to him waiting for their next command. “Pack dogs need an alpha. They don’t mind if it’s human, but they won’t follow until you prove it.” Rick continued, “Dogs are misunderstood and then mistreated, that’s why there are so many valuable dogs at the shelter. I take pride in this work – it’s a true labor of love.”

For more information visit: www.

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All Dogs Go To Heaven

They say, “All Dogs Go to Heaven” but I’m starting to have my doubts. The reason for this is my 10-monthold puppy that we ironically named Gracie. As empty nesters, we thought it would be a good idea to add a furry family member! We might have been wrong!

Grace is a Border Collie-Aussie Shepherd mix with bits of Tasmanian Devil, Shark, and Billy Goat thrown in. The day we brought Gracie home, she was shy, scared, and docile… it was the most peaceful 24 hours we’ve spent with her. Since that time she has turned into a whirlwind terror.

In the span of a few months, she has broken into a bottle of expensive perfume (Gracie and I smelled like Chanel # 5 for a week), she’s eaten through 15 pairs of underwear, numerous pairs of socks, two of my wife’s nightgowns, and part of my favorite T-shirt. She tore the wires off of our motorized electric lounge chair, dashed through our patio screen door (we had to put a new screen in), and tore the lenses out of our eyeglasses…(my wife insisted we needed updated pairs anyway). She had the audacity to bite into my new Jimmy Buffett CD! (perhaps Gracie thinks she’s a Land Shark…sigh!) Jewelry isn’t safe. TV remotes have to be replaced and are now carefully hidden. She gnaws on throw rugs and carries them around for fun… you get the picture. Her latest tricks are unraveling our toilet paper rolls (we often see a roll halfway down our hallway and dumping her water bowl over).

At least once an evening, our Gracie aka Little Sh*t becomes a four-legged pinball and runs laps at full speed ricocheting off of our chairs, the working recliners, our hallway bench, and more. When she does this, we duck and hold throw pillows up to shield our bodies! She flies at us with no regard for anyone’s safety. If she had a cape, she could give Underdog a run for his money.

Since we replaced our screen door, Gracie has figured out how to slide it open and closed. (Yes, she lets herself out and in.)

We put a new fence in so that Gracie could run off some of her energy and Gracie promptly got her head stuck while trying to squeeze through it. Every lunch and dinner Gracie barks, begs, and howls like she has never been fed. In fact, Gracie barks a lot. She barks at things both visible and mostly invisible. She seems to do this for no reason.

Gracie’s favorite way to wake us up is to lick the back of our necks or bite a small chunk of our hair off (I’m getting older and really need my hair!).

I know what you’re thinking…This is not a worthy tribute to a dog. You are right…so far it isn’t. But I haven’t mentioned the most important thing...Gracie has one trait that overrides all of those destructive ones.

She loves people…all people. She loves anyone who visits, our daughter, our parents, our friends. Gracie loves the neighbors, strangers, and believe it or not, she even loves the Mailman!

Contractors fawn all over Gracie because she loves them so much. They all want to take her home with them…at times we’ve considered it.

Gracie hasn’t met a person that she doesn’t like…she doesn’t judge anyone. Big or Tall, Little or small, our Gracie just loves them all! It’s a trait we should all have! Luckily, Gracie shows the most love to my wife and I. She follows us everywhere, looks at us with adoring and somewhat mischievous eyes, and greets us as if we have been gone a month when we take the trash out.

24 :: :: September 2023

Gracie may not be well-behaved, but she sure knows how to love. Her tail wags constantly when we greet her. She lays next to us, Watches TV with us, sits on our patio chair and the top of the patio table with us and because she’s a Border Aussie, she likes to Herd us! (Ankle pads may be in our future.)

Some days it feels like we’ve had Gracie for 8 years instead of ten months, but then Gracie shows us how much love she has in her heart, and I think to myself, how dull would life have been if she never came along.

When the time comes, I’m still not sure if Gracie will get into heaven (Heck, I’m not so sure I’ll make it) but I am confident that wherever Gracie ends up, she’ll have plenty of love for whoever is there with her!

David Warren has been freelance writing for the past 10 years. During the daytime, he’s a mildmannered VP of Sales for an International manufacturer, and at night, he writes. He has appeared in 12 Chicken Soup for the Soul Editions and in Readers Digest, Guideposts, Country Magazine, Reminisce, and Bark Magazine and has had 2 children’s books published. :: September 2023 :: 25
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Helping Hands of Georgetown: Youth Empowerment Program

For more than 30 years, Helping Hands has been forging brighter futures for Georgetown County. As a vital resource, this nonprofit helps those faced with poverty and crisis by providing assistance and opportunities that make real change. Since 1989, their vision has been to support and serve this rural area through sustainable and compassionate programs.

The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) specifically promotes post-graduation health and stability. Some high school students enter their final years with a strong foundation of outside-the-school support. Not all adolescents are so fortunate during this critical time in their lives and may not be prepared to face all the challenges that life after graduation can bring. For many soon-to-graduate students, a little extra support and guidance can go a long way toward helping them successfully prepare for and identify a bright future career path.

Creating Connections

Open to all high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Georgetown County School District, YEP sees roughly 80 area students participate each year. The program puts a particular focus on connecting at-risk local youth with the guidance and support needed to make wise life decisions, spiritual choices, and relationship selections – and on breaking the cycle of poverty.

Nurturing Career-Critical Skills

Seeking to develop and amplify positive character traits, YEP’s building blocks include career-building essentials such as team building, leadership training, career-path guidance, interviewing skills, and the development of “soft skills” like communication, self-motivation, and responsibility. Plus, getting students out of their comfort zones through monthly experiences such as ziplining outings, escape room adventures, kayaking trips, and an annual, all-expenses-paid Outward Bound team-building experience in the Florida Everglades.

A Stepping Stone to Success

YEP has served nearly 170 local graduates since its founding in 2018 – and the results speak for themselves. The program has a 100% graduation rate, and according to participant surveys, 80% of students in the program report having an improved sense of self-esteem since joining YEP. Further, 90% of YEP participants have gone on to attend college, while 10% have gone directly into the workforce and/or the military after graduation. This program is changing lives!

According to YEP program coach and mentor, Genesis Wright, “Our weekly discussions during our YEP sessions give our students time to discuss their feelings, thoughts, and whatever they might be going through. We ask and listen to our students to show them that their voices are heard. We help them create healthy outlets to deal with the difficulties of life and expose them to a different world.”

Want to learn how you can help the Youth Empowerment Program through sponsorship or volunteer opportunities?

Visit the program’s page on the Helping Hands of Georgetown, Inc. website at

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Presenting Sponsor: HTC Supporting Sponsor: Grand Strand Medical Center

30 :: :: September 2023 Advertiser Index AIM/ Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine ........................... 31 Anderson Brothers Bank ..................... 23 Angelo’s Steak & Pasta ........................ 23 B. Graham Interiors ............................ 30 Bella Pilar Studio 22 BloominGail’s Consignment 25 Brightwater 7 Brookgreen Gardens 32 Carolina Car Care 22 The Clean Up Club ............................ 30 Coastal Luxe Interiors ......................... 11 Define Wealth Financial Group .......... 26 ........................................ 27 .................................... 29 Dr. Sattele’s Rapid Weight Loss & Esthetics Centers 9 ERA Wilder Realty, Inc Michelle Schneider 26 ...................................... 11 Good Deed Goods.............................. 15 .................................. 27 Helping Hands of Georgetown ........... 29 Inlet Prohibition Company................. 29 The Lakes at Litchfield 7 26 The Long Bay Symphony 30 22 Moore, Johnson and Saraniti 2 North Myrtle Beach Woman’s Club 15 Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art....................... 16 Pawleys Island Wine & Food Gala 11 Physicians Weight Loss Centers 17 Pink & Red 13 Portside at Grande Dunes 3 Prodigy Kitchens & Baths 21 Rescued Treasures ............................... 22 Seacoast Artists Gallery ....................... 21 Shades & Draperies ............................ 25 Surf Unlimited Mercantile .................... 5 White Pine Artisan Market ................. 26 2 0 2 3 - 2 0 2 4 A SYMPHONY FOR ALL Featuring ECU Piano Competit on Winner Benjamin Luo RACHMANINOFF’S PIANO
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