Dog Politics!

| October 1, 2011 | 0 Comments
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My wife Lorraine’s parents gathered their family together in Edisto Beach, South Carolina in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. It was a special event and fun time for Lorraine and me. I find myself typing away on my laptop while overlooking the nighttime Atlantic Ocean while a summer thunderstorm rages in the distance. It is an awesome spectacle of light that helps me appreciate the beautiful beach that surrounds us.

As we waited for Mayor Burley L. Lyons to arrive at City Hall, Lorraine and my niece, Charlotte, looked around the Edisto Beach Fire Station and Charlotte managed to get a tour of one of the fire engines from one of the nice firemen. The people of Edisto Beach are a friendly bunch which makes me want to come back here in the future. Mayor Lyons and his eight year old Yellow Labrador, Tide, popped out of their SUV and started up the City Hall stairway with Tide searching for anything that might look like a squirrel that he could chase off the grounds. I asked Mayor Lyons if he might want to chat about Labradors and life in Edisto Beach for Retriever Life and he said “sure”, remembering us from our first brief encounter the other day where we had introduced ourselves to Tide and told the Mayor that we bred Labrador Retrievers back in Washington.

To get things kicked off we snapped a few pictures of Mayor Lyons and Tide. The Mayor joked with some folks that worked at City Hall that he and Tide were “going Hollywood”. Everyone got a laugh out of that and it was obvious that we were going to have some fun with this interview. Mayor Lyons started by telling me about his life with Labradors; he said it started over fifty years ago hunting with his father. He hunted everything from upland to waterfowl to turkey to deer. The Mayor said he always preferred hunting with his Labradors so the turkey and deer hunting were not his favorites.

I asked the Mayor what kind of birds they hunted around here. He said their favorite duck is the “Summer Duck” which I know as the Wood Duck. He said they also shoot Ringnecks, Mallards, and Teal as far as waterfowl and they pen-raised quail. He and a couple of partners have some land on Edisto Island that they are able to hunt. They use boats, blinds, and plain old walking to do their hunting. From his description it sounds like some great hunting.

When the Mayor talks about Tide, his eyes light up. He describes Tide as the best pure hunting dog he has ever owned. Tide is fearless when it comes to heavy cover and will not let anything stand between him and the bird. The Mayor says Tide is the most athletic Lab he has ever owned and looking at his chiseled body I can see why. Mayor Lyons says Tide is is friendly, but not overly so. He is most interested in finding the next bird. When Tide was younger he had a habit of “breaking” so the Mayor decided to get some help from the famed bird dog trainer, George Hickox. Mayor Lyons and Tide went to a week long seminar where they were in the field up to ten hours a day getting trained. Mayor Lyons described George as a dog whisperer. He said that George could take your dog and suddenly it would be doing everything like a pro. As a result of the seminar with George, Tide became the dog that Mayor Lyons always wanted. He handles beautifully in any hunting situation and is an excellent hunting partner. I asked Mayor Lyons how to get the most out of a pro seminar and he said “you need to come prepared to get involved. Take chances and be hands on. It will make the trip better for you and your dog!”.

The Fire Chief, Larry Waddle joins our conversation and begins singing the praises of Tide. Chief Waddle says that Tide is the best dog hes has ever seen and he wants to have one of his pups some day. Chief Waddle says Tide is the Mayor’s constant companion. The Mayor adds that Tide is also known as the town’s “First Dog” or “Mayor Pro Tem”.

As our conversation came to a close, I asked Mayor Lyons what books he read to help him train and he reached back to an old-school classic that is still relevant today, Water Dog by Richard Wolters.

Mayor Lyons is a native of Colleton County South Carolina but he has called Edisto Beach his home for many of those years. He served as the Mayor for the last 16 years and was the Mayor Pro Tem for 8 years prior to that. Mayor Lyons is a dedicated conservationist and he is concerned about keeping an eye on the larger Edisto Island. “I’m so proud of the land trust that so many people gripe about because they’ve put so much land into conservation. They got 50-plus percent of the prime property like Botany Bay in trust, so that worry of mine has eased some,” he says, “but you’ve still got to keep your eyes open.” If you get a chance to see the beauty contained within the trust you will understand why Mayor Lyons wants this area preserved.

I encourage you to go visit Edisto Beach and be sure to bring your retriever as the beaches are dog friendly. Also make sure to stop by the Town Hall and visit Mayor Lyons and his wonderful Labrador, Tide.

Category : Destinations, People Profiles

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

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