Adventures in Rescue Fostering with Charleston Animal Society

I think only succeeding once out of three tries justifies failure, so should I just give up? I should have given up when some guy pulled his car up next to me, rolled down the window and yelled, “Get in!” Oh my God, he thought I was a hooker! It was an innocent mistake. I was dressed in old moccasins, a cotton beach skirt, and loose tank top yelling, “Bambi come here, Bambi”. The sun was fading and apparently the nightlife was getting frisky, in my Hanahan hood. I’m pretty sure my look of absolute horror made him pull away without another word. I remember being so embarrassed to be yelling Bambi as my neighbors drank Forties malt liquor (it was a scene straight out of Friday), laughing at the little white girl stalking about abandoned houses as they sat comfortably on their front porches, enjoying the cool down of the evening. Yes, embarrassed, and maybe second-thinking my move from a safe tourist town to what I tell my boyfriend is an “up and coming” area, that in reality has a very high crime rate. Was I risking my life for a skinny dog named freaking Bambi?

Dog 1My first foster dog from Charleston Animal Society had bailed over a low part of my fence and my loyal black lab Hagan ran into my bedroom to tattle on her with a rare, high-pitch whine. I figured out the cause of his distress when I saw through my window my new dog dash down the street. I threw on some shoes, grabbed a leash and started running after her.

I wanted to help. I wanted to provide for a poor abused animal, rehab the precious thing and then find an amazing forever home for her. One dog at a time, every little effort helps in animal rescue. I didn’t foresee an escapee in my rescue fantasy!

I cornered Bambi in an empty back yard of a house for sale and felt triumphant walking her back down my street, neighbors cheering. Then my cheap, old moccasin slippers caught on a crack in the pavement, and I literally went head over tea kettle to the ground. It could have been a scene out of a wile e coyote cartoon- except if I was a cartoon it would have been less road burn- but I swear I heard a “meep, meep” from my road running away dog. The leash had come out of my hand, and I saw that thick pink line to success go flying down the road. The neighbors went silent. We never found Bambi. I like to think she ran all the way back to her real home in the country and is curled up in a big dog bed, having nightmares of the wannabe Pocahontas chasing after her. Failure dog #1

Dog 2I gave it a month or so and decided to try again. Home came one of the skinniest dogs I had ever seen in rescue. I would walk by her cell and, even though she could barely get around, she would try to get up to say hi to me. I grabbed her up in my arms and rushed her home. Animal bleeding heart to the rescue! She was fearful of everything but my handsome Hagan was the dog that all the gals get a crush on. So we used that to get her in and out of the house until she started to trust us. She wasn’t house trained or crate trained and went through a longer foster home adjustment time than usual, but all of us grew very fond of our Olive Oyle. She gained weight, house manners and confidence and was adopted in a few months. Success dog #2

Dog number three would dance around her dinner bowl, whole butt wiggling and feet tapping and that was the inspiration for her name Treme. She had a little bit of music in her step, just like the music coming from that neighborhood of New Orleans gives you. Treme had no accidents in the house and thought we were awesome. Hagan was so excited to share a yard with someone new that he ran figure eights around her with a huge grin on his face as she loped around, stretching her long legs. She was great at cuddles, and a super star at the dog park. I was going to get this one adopted quickly.

Dog 3Jackson, WY is one of the most dog friendly towns in the country. No leash laws, bring them to work, take them hiking and watch them bound ahead of you with fellow happy Jackson dogs. This is what my dog grew up with, and I love to sneak out to the bigger parks and let my athletic boy bounce like a deer through the bush on occasion. I didn’t think twice when I got to Santee Park and let the two of them out of the back of the truck. I had every intention of hooking a leash on Treme and doing a couple of miles, working on leash manners as Hagan ran free. With the same damn pink leash in hand, I locked the truck and called Treme to me. My best friend owns a hound, and I knew that look: good things never came from that look. She paused, even turned to me, but wait, eyes lit up, nose catching the wind as she wrinkled her sparkling brown eyes, and I saw her ponder the decision. Go to the great human with leash or she was out of there! I had hardy sneakers on this time, and I booked after her. Even Hagan belted behind her, but the smells in the wind and a hound’s endurance won out and she disappeared. Hagan would catch a whiff of the elusive girl and take off. I pictured my loyal Lab dragging that little dog back, teeth wrapped gently around the collar, and we would all laugh at her silly hound ways! Instead, the park was closing in five minutes, and I was one dog short. I had no witnesses this time in my search and rescue attempt as I broke God knows what laws and snuck through the gaps in the fence, back into the park as the sun started to set. I ended up going home when I couldn’t see anymore and had nightmares of gators chomping Treme for dinner when she paused from her gone-with-the-wind run for a drink of fresh water. Well, thankfully, she was picked up the next day and taken back to CAS. Failure dog #3.

Dog 4When I quit CAS, I pacified myself of leaving animal rescue, my PASSION, by trying to foster, but maybe my talents could be used in a different outlet? Or maybe the fourth try will be the best?

If you are up for a satisfying challenge, Charleston Animal Society can always use Foster Ambassadors. They will find a dog (or cat) that will fit into your lifestyle and send you home with food, supplies and an adoption vest. You can take that dog out to events around town, dog parks etc and get them adopted. It is a great motivator to get out and be involved in our city’s endless events and literally save a dog’s life.

Written by Contributing Writer Tatiana Fisher. Want more laughs? Read her other ghost walk, dating, and outdoor adventures!

King Street Chronicles: Jlinsnider

IMG_1946 copy copy JLINSNIDER is a vintage wearables store, pairing storeowner and designer Jamie Lin Snider’s one of a kind designs with vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories. Snider grew up in Anderson, SC and attended college in Las Vegas, Nevada. While still attending school, she began to sell her designs locally and, after graduation, returned to South Carolina where she founded her King Street store in 2011. Snider’s objective is “to provide ready-to-wear for the avant garde souls”. She describes this movement as “brash, liberated, and dramatic”, and these themes are apparent in her bright prints, innovative pattern making, and the appropriation of vintage styles with modern tenor.

Charleston is a sort of melting pot of culture, not only in the diversity of its residents, but also in the small business owners and artists who have worked together to both simultaneously preserve and advance areas of town. Snider sees this concept mirrored in both her diverse store selection and the store’s location saying, “I see Upper King developing into a landscape of talent. While the mom and pop shops freckle this end, new artists and designers are flocking in…I see nothing but great things on this end of King!”

Snider’s storefront has seen swift change in this area of upper King Street, while still maintaining long-established businesses, such as Honest John’s TV Repair Shop and George’s Pawn. JLINSNIDER has grown in its success, not only from a business standpoint, but also in the store’s ability to open doors to something more than just mass manufactured garments. Charlestonians have embraced the concept of one of a kind finds and the progressive fashion world by supporting this business for the last 3 years and, since its founding, the 500 block of King Street has adopted it as part of the whole. Snider plans to expand west with her concept to cities such as Austin, TX and Portland, OR, but Charleston will always be a pioneer in the manifestation of her creative freedom and business model.

Visit Jlinsnider at her Facebook page to keep up to date with all the happenings.

Article and photography submitted by contributing raconteur Kelsey Schultz.

Learning History through Hauntings with “Walks in History” Tours

tour_img-233199-21I could see it, those little kids just plain bored only allowed to sit in the courtyard, innocent enough, boys being boys- fire is cool. I could see it, those pig-tailed girls pattering around us, their snow white feet dancing around right under our paranormally blind eyes. A bolder one tapping her cherub fingers teasingly on my boyfriend’s arm. She was right there, according to Hope our Seer. I could hear the voices of the seven little girls, playing Ring Around the Rosie, singing “ashes, ashes” in that courtyard. College freshman went running by us, giggling and excited about Friday night freedom, alive and loud, breaking the moment, but not chasing away my goose bumps.

I had a very cool apartment in the Faubourg Marigny, before I knew it was cool to be in the Marigny in New Orleans. I shared a balcony with a black cape, top hat wearing tour guide. On sunny afternoons, we would enjoy each other’s company out on our little veranda with some cold Abita brews. Laughing off stress as we tried to one-up each other on Quarter Touron experiences. My twinkly-eyed, drama major neighbor would always push me to come to his haunted tour.

When my family came to visit the single, childless, black sheep, living in the original city of sin, I tried to play the “look me and my city are not so bad” card. I signed us all up for the French Quarter horror tour. Those stories of a lover freezing on a rooftop and the poor slave girl chained to a stove, burning to death will stick in my memory forever. I was impressed with his theatrics and storytelling. I was thrilled to take my family on a safe, non-sordid adventure. My neighbor, with his flash and charm, did a great job with a script.

tour_img-233198-21I thought I knew what I was getting into when we went to take a downtown tour in Charleston. My boyfriend and his brother have a little bit of a hard on for Walks in History. It’s their go-to for visitors or date night fun. One reason they like the tour is because they recognize a local kid from James Island. The boys can appreciate and support the hard work and rigorous time-consuming research it must have taken to glean out the history that would give you shivers.

Geordie isn’t full of theatrics and his tour was “just the facts, ma’am”. Sometimes, the truth itself is scary. I loved how adding the spirit medium, Hope, brought it to a new level. From a guy telling you this place has ghosts, to Hope telling you where they are standing and how those ghosts are feeling.

My tour with Walks in History was very different than the one I drug my family to. Geordie is a treasure trove of facts about Charleston. He has written six books (going on seven) about his beloved city and it’s impossible to rattle him with a question he can’t answer related to his specialty. This is Geordie sharing his hard work, not an actor hired by a company. Instead of teaching a college course about his history buff-ness, he self-started his own business to share his passion with you.

Jay Leno used to have an on-the-street quiz about what people knew about US history. These people always failed miserably. Don’t fail your city, get a little smarts about our amazing ghost-filled downtown. How cool would it be to walk by the Embassy Suites and blurt about its sordid past, like the local you want to be? So get out, support local and enjoy your fascinating city with Walking Tours.

walksinhistoryHope and Geordie will be doing another tour together on March 2nd. Limited spots available and fill quickly. Reservations required.

Written by Tatiana Fisher, contributing writer

Creating Lasting Memories with On Purpose Adventure

library Do you remember when you registered for your first library card? The nice lady with the blue veined hands and a tissue stuffed in her sleeve placed that ticket to independence into your eager tiny little palm. Your world was blown open! You discovered ALL the Berenstain Bears books and played hours of Oregon Trail! Later in life, using that card to fill your obsession with Dean Koontz horror, stalking the stacks to find a new novel to scare the wits out of you. I have a warm and fuzzy for public libraries. So much that I transformed from a spunky Bourbon Street bartender, playing a tambourine on top of a bar to having my feet planted firmly on the carpet in a more civilized environment checking out books to those bright eyed children, with less emergency tissue. It’s an extreme change, but now I find peace wandering through my stacks of old friends. Our libraries provide great books, from crazy Christopher Moore to the “how to salvage your life- for idiots”, the latest DVD’s, and even internet access when your laptop crashes.

I was happy to see that one of my customized indoor/bad weather choices from On Purpose Dating was to go hang out at the library and play hide and seek. I love that On Purpose supports local and really what better place to witness the slice of life that is your city than at the library.

Since joining the family at Charleston Daily, I have had the opportunity to meet some remarkable characters of our city. One of those is Ben from On Purpose Adventures. One conversation with Ben will have you thinking, “Why am I not doing more with my life like this guy?” This fella is busy doing amazing things in our little city including a zombie run, a radio show, adventure outings and his latest endeavor- helping you have a fabulous date.

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His company’s core belief is that “the body craves adventure and the soul needs purpose”- hence On Purpose Adventure! As someone that believes you need to follow your dreams and fill your soul, not a bank account, I was immediately on board. I was excited to have the opportunity to take part of On Purpose dating.

Whether you are planning for a first date or a several year anniversary, dating is a great option to get out of your element and take advantage of original Charleston ventures. Is anyone really impressed with dinner and a movie anymore? You fill out an easy questionnaire and, in short order, Ben and his team email you customized date options. This service is for everyone from the low-cash-flow couch potato to the has-money-to-impress adventure junkie.

My man and I are the poor… or maybe…“budget savvy” active couple, and we were set up with some great ideas, catered specifically to our creative outdoor selves. This cold weather is crippling me. I have been absolutely miserable, but for the sake of writing inspiration my go-go-go boyfriend drug me from hibernation, underneath the warmth of goose down, to try our indoor date option, and we headed downtown to the Charleston County library on Calhoun. I decided to take the suggested hide and seek idea one step further.

I challenged us each to make a romantic confession, finding each word out of a different book. With a little PDA between the stacks- because really, who hasn’t wanted to play out that fantasy? We eventually found our love line, swapped clues and set off to piece together our original declaration of love to each other.

My first clue for my man: “This Nobel peace prize winner took over as my #1 author after I read his American masterpiece about a family trying to survive in California during the great depression. He also took a classic tale for a new spin. I wonder if Mallory would like it. Page 56 line 4.” This was probably too easy, but I had to give the non-reading fella a break, right?

OPA PNG I got a little tear in my eye when I pieced together my line, found from greats spanning from Shakespeare to Chuck Palunchuck. It was a wonderful way to spend a cold afternoon in a warm, funky building. Thanks to On Purpose Dating, we were inspired to make a unique and memorable day that we will never forget, in our local library.

If you’re looking for something fresh to do with your loved one, a group excursion or team building for your office staff, On Purpose Adventure can put it together for you. So get out, support local and enjoy your fascinating city folks.

To get your customized date just email Ben- info@onpurposeadventures.com subject DATE PLANNING

By: Tatiana Fisher, contributing writer

The Price Is Right Makes a Charleston Dream Come True

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Contributing Writer – Mark A. Leon

If you have ever been to Isle of Palms, you may be familiar with the playful dog in front of Luke ‘n Ollie’s Pizzaria owned by native New Yorker and now full fledged Charlestonian Jonathan Swartz. Bringing a unique New York style casual dining experience to the Low Country has proven to be a blessing to families and friends in the Charleston area.

How he got to this point is the story behind the story.

Jonathan Swartz is a humble business owner from Schenectady, New York, who owns Luke ‘n Ollie’s Pizzeria on Isle of Palms. He brings an authentic style of Italian cooking to the Low Country. From breakfast pizza, to subs, to calzones, to martinis, strombolis and ice cream sundaes, this is a true gem just a few hundred feet from the beach.

Here are some amazing things you should know about Luke ‘n Ollies Pizzeria before we continue:

  • The Steak Bomb Challenge – 18″ sub with 10 oz of Philly Cheese steak, 8 oz of hamburger, 4 oz of Italian sausage, sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms, topped with 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese and served with a quadruple order of fries for $25.00. If you can finish in 60 minutes or less it is free. If you do not, your picture will be shared with the toilet in the bathroom. Many have tried and few have succeeded.
  • There is a Luke ‘n Ollies smart car that is red and covered in pizza.
  • The mascot for Luke ‘n Ollies has been dressed in everything from a Santa outfit to a string bikini.
  • They do deliver and my how they meet the needs of the community, even if they are too lazy to leave the house.
  • Jonathan believes he saw Taylor Swift in front of his restaurant once.
  • In 2013, they served over 100,000 people.

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Ok, now that we have had our fun facts exchange, it is time to share how this gem of a restaurant became a part of Charleston folklore.

Jonathan trekked to California with a dream. Not just to hug Drew Carey but to get on and win The Price Is Right. With an obnoxious shirt, a more obnoxious friend and a little luck on his side, Jonathan not only made it to the showcase showdown, but he completed his mission victoriously. Now, the opportunity had beckoned to follow his dream of opening up an Italian Restaurant. With the help of many supportive friends and family, Jonathan worked tirelessly to open Luke ‘n Ollies and make it a permanent fixture on the beaches of Isle of Palms.

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Today, Luke ‘n Ollies stands as a role model of hard work, perseverance and the belief in the power of the game show. Sometimes opportunity and fun can go hand in hand. At the end of the day, it wasn’t the prizes and cash that fulfilled Jonathan, it was the ability to use this as a stepping stone to a dream. Today, Jonathan and his staff fill the stomachs of children and adults everyday with delicious food served with a smile.

Whether you are coming in for a large pizza, pasta, a root beer float or the Steak Bomb Challenge, come in with a smile and walk away with a full stomach. Make sure you say hello to Jonathan. He may even give you a hug.

Luke ‘n Ollies is located at 1101-C Ocean Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451

Follow Luke ‘n Ollies on Facebook