Outdoors

Stokes: A good companion can go a long way

rodcrafter@islc.netMay 5, 2013 

Some situations in life have a definite impact on the personality of an individual. As well, there is something in the graciousness of others that may reflect this change. Perhaps among the most dramatic is the simplicity and devotion gained by being introduced to a companion.

I am often referred to as an animal lover. There is some truth to this statement, as I favor their company on more than one occasion. I prefer the company of others who share the value of time, not focused on personal gain but companionship. I am an outdoorsman, centered around a fondness of the pure and natural versus the whims of the plastic society.

Animals, particularly dogs, do not have an agenda. They are devoted to cause and ruled by circumstance. In as much, a simple gesture, a reassuring glance or posture will indicate a change in attitude -- forthright, simple and immediate. The mere focus of commitment devoted to the time at hand. This one small totem, this sense of now offers rewards not gained by other means.

Recently, I adopted Big Ben, a wonderful mix of Lab and Bassett hound gained through the selfless devotion and sense of community offered by the Hilton Head Humane Association. Their commitment is nothing short of amazing and, like many others of similar cause, are a valuable asset of quiet devotion. Laura Tipton, the Adoption Facilitator and Kennel Manager, and the association staff share a compassion desperately needed in our present disposable society.

For many, our search for happiness will come with the addition of a partner. Only then will we realize that the enrichment of life has been discovered through the addition of what was provided in our search.

So here's to other four-legged partners of my past -- Bullet, Tiger, Rags, Tinker, Peppy, Sarge, Major, Lady, Useless, Blackie and now Ben -- for making available life's memories that will forever be a part of the times I cherish.

"Perhaps one central reason for loving dogs is that they take us away from this obsession with ourselves. When our thoughts start to go in circles, and we seem unable to break away, wondering what horrible event the future holds for us, the dog opens a window into the delight of the moment." -- Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

SEASON CLOSURES

South Carolina's oyster season will close May 15, and clam season closes May 31. Shellfish harvesting is expected to reopen Oct. 1. Coastal waters will remain closed to recreational and commercial shellfish harvesting for clams and oysters until fall water temperatures and weather conditions warrant shellfish suitable for harvesting.

SHELL RECYCLING

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources continues its efforts to encourage the public to recycle oyster shells. Oyster shell recycling drop-off locations are located throughout coastal counties. DNR refurbishes and sustains shellfish grounds with recycled oyster shells during the summer. Replanting shells is part of the cycle for maintaining the resource by providing a substrate for larval oysters to attach. When the quantity needed to refurbish these areas falls short of those that are recycled in statewide collection bins, DNR must purchase shells from other vendors. Funding for DNR's shellfish restoration and enhancement efforts is provided by a portion of Saltwater Recreational Fishing License funds.

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