Gazette Sea Foam: Beaufort Dog loses its top dog, namesake

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comOctober 17, 2011 

Thanks to Beaufort Dog for sharing the story of the real Beaufort dog as the business says goodbye to its canine founder and mascot.

"The story of 'the Beaufort Dog' is a true heart-warming human interest tale of a regular family adopting a not-so-regular dog that changed their lives and Beaufort County," writes Kelley Blackston.

Here's the story:

The Blackstons adopted Abbey, a 3-month-old golden retriever, 12 years ago. She quickly taught the family that if they did not train her, she would train them.

The mother, Kelley Blackston, was a school teacher at Lady's Island Middle School and the father, Jason Blackston, was a coach at Beaufort Academy. Knowing a little about teaching and training, they sought out the help of Best Behaviors Dog Training.

After becoming addicted to the training field and learning a lot about canine behavior, Kelley and Abbey became assistant teachers, then started their own classes.

The duo trained out of their home on Lady's Island for years while Kelley and Jason still taught full time. Slowly, Kelley expanded services in dog behaviors and cut back on school teaching.

Abbey became the mascot to several local businesses and performed agility and obedience demonstrations at conventions and schools. She taught a summer course on pet care at Whale Branch Elementary School and visited Lady's Island Elementary Career Days. She took part in all of the parades and was on local television shows more than once representing our pet community.

After several years, the Blackstons saw the need to expand their love of pets and knowledge of training to a full-service facility now on Boundary Street. Later they opened another boutique for pets in Habersham. Abbey continued to meet new customers, both two- and four-legged, as well as the occasional three-legged, at the door. She served to calm owners and pets, provide an example of what can be done, and teach canine behaviors that only dogs can teach other dogs.

Abbey passed away Sept. 30 at the age of 12.

She worked right up until the end, participating in Beaufort's Tricentennial Parade. It was so proper that she should represent our town in this historic event. She, the Beaufort Dog, represents an important part of our town's spirit.

As Beaufort Dog continues to flourish, we will not forget Abbey, and celebrate what she has meant to all of us.

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