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Lowcountry people are dog people

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: For the special pets issue, LOCAL Life asked Hilton Head Island dog Dolly the Beach Berner to share her thoughts on what it means to be a local. Dolly is an active member of the Berner Sunrise Beach Walkers and is a social media influencer. LOCAL Life welcomes letters to the editor and comments to our website. Write to [email protected]

LOCAL SINCE 2016 • Dolly The Beach Berner arrived on Hilton Head as a 4-month-old puppy in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. She is a regular at Evergreen Pet Lodge. She also visits most beaches, has bowls of water on many patios and even ventures to Grayco, where she always gets a friendly pat on the head while admiring the dog toys.

For a dog, there is no better place to live than the Lowcountry. It’s not because of the endless beaches. It’s not because there are so many dog-friendly restaurants. Or because there are winding trails with complimentary “disposal bags.” It’s the best place to live because of the people.

Yes, it is the humans that make it so great to be a dog in the Lowcountry. Most people I have met are not originally from here, but that’s hard to tell because they speak about the Lowcountry with such passion and respect, and they are quick to call it home. The expression “home is where the heart is” couldn’t be more true.

People just seem happier here, which makes me happier. They don’t look away to avoid eye contact when passing each other on the streets; instead, they take the time to stop to say hi and to pat each other’s dogs. People don’t seem frustrated or restless if they have to wait a few minutes for their coffee or adult beverage; instead they chat with the stranger behind them in line or next to them at the bar.

People don’t seem uptight and uncomfortable in stuffy suits and uncomfortable shoes; instead, they mostly wear shorts and flip flops and it’s hard to be in a bad mood when you are comfortable. Regardless of where they are from or what they did in their former lives, I see the people in the Lowcountry treat each other with respect and kindness. And they all look the same to me anyway!

Maybe it’s the natural beauty that surrounds us, or maybe it’s the weather, or it just might be that life is easier in the Lowcountry. Sure, I do hear some complaints about the traffic, but those are usually followed with “but it sure beats the traffic back in (fill in any former city or town.)” I do hear some grumbles about all the tourists, but those grumbles are quickly followed with “but that is why we have so many great restaurants and amenities.”

One thing is for sure, the people here are friendly, generous and have deep love for dogs. Hundreds of volunteers support important causes like Palmetto Animal League, Hos-Pets and Hilton Head Humane Association. Many communities have dog clubs, hunts and parks. The beaches and patios welcome dogs and the cyclists and pedestrians share the paths with us. Come to think of it, besides the lighthouse at Harbourtown, The Salty Dog may be the Lowcountry’s most recognizable icon.

Since I arrived in the Lowcountry, I have always loved today more than yesterday and will love tomorrow more than today.