C’mon, have a heart and get a dog

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is pictured on the cover of the Winter 2015 edition of Carolina Tails magazine.

Tim Scott’s usually right.

OK, so you’re more likely to think that if you’re on the ideological right.

But even folks on the left should share our junior U.S. senator’s view about the bipartisan benefits of having a pet.

And while flowers, candy and cards again will be widely distributed on this Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving, review an article Scott wrote for the current edition of “Carolina Tails,” the Charleston Animal Society’s magazine.

The former Charleston County Council chairman, whose mutually rewarding relationship with the CAS goes way back to the last century, recalls how his grandmother’s 2001 death put his then-81-year-old grandfather in a tough place for the next few years.

Scott writes: “So as he turned 84, we brought a wonderful, kind, cuddly Rottweiler home to my grandfather. Within two years, this nice, cuddly pup grew into a 135-pound dog. And just like that, my grandfather came back to life.”

Scott’s lesson in that sweet story about a grieving granddad and a dog named Sam:

“The Charleston Animal Society doesn’t simply impact the lives of the people receiving a pet, it impacts the lives of the family members who know the power that an animal’s unconditional love can provide.”

The CAS also can provide grand pets for modest cost.

For instance, a spunky terrier mutt named Maggie graced our home for 17 years after we adopted her from the old CAS shelter by the old Charleston County Jail in 1992.

Two and a half years after Maggie died, we got another great dog at the new CAS on Remount Road — irrepressible squirrel chaser Coco, who when running routinely moves strangers to shout, “Wienie dog!”

The CAS isn’t the only local shelter where you can get fine pets who help rescue human outlooks — but only if you rescue them.

You can also check them out of James Island’s Pet Helpers, Summerville’s Francis R. Willis SPCA and Moncks Corner’s Doc Williams SPCA, which this week took in 66 Shar-Pei dogs in need of caring homes.

And Kia Country of Charleston on Savannah Highway is celebrating My Furry Valentine today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donate pet food or cash for the CAS Pet Food Bank and get a free portrait of you and your pet by a professional photographer.

The Southeastern Wildlife Expo features canine attractions, too — Dock Dog competitions and retriever demos today and Sunday at Brittlebank Park — and a “Living With Wolves” presentation at 2 p.m. today at the Charleston Museum.

Meanwhile, lest you dispute that dogs are “Man’s Best Friend,” review this maxim from the title character in Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson”:

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”

Plus, dogs aren’t picky about what you get them — including nothing — for Valentine’s Day.

On a far less uplifting note, this date still triggers traumatic memories of St. Andrews Elementary teachers requiring me to give Valentine’s cards to ... girls.

Then again, Feb. 14 isn’t all bad. After all, today is the 86th anniversary of a fascinating milestone in Prohibition-era gangland lore — the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. That hit in a Chicago garage by Al Capone associates disguised as cops killed six members of Bugs Moran’s organization and a mechanic.

Yet a frantically barking German Shepherd named Highball was spared.

Today also is the 40th anniversary of the death of P.G. Wodehouse. So ponder the positive example the gifted English author inspires in a typically enlightening exchange between Bertram Wooster and Reginald Jeeves.

Early in Wodehouse’s “Much Obliged, Jeeves,” gentleman’s gentleman Jeeves helps idle-rich bumbler Wooster find the right word for his giddy breakfast feeling — “euphoria.” However, Wooster then tells Jeeves that “too often it is when one feels fizziest that the storm clouds begin doing their stuff.”

Jeeves sagely replies: “Very true, sir. Full many a glorious morning have I seen flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye, kissing with golden face the meadows green, gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy, Anon permit the basest clouds to ride with ugly rack on his celestial face and from the forlorn world his visage hide, stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.”

Wooster: “Exactly. I couldn’t have put it better myself. One always has to budget for a change in the weather. Still, the thing to do is to keep on being happy while you can.”

Wooster: “Precisely, sir. Carpe diem, the Roman poet Horace advised. The English poet Herrick expressed the same sentiment when he suggested that we should gather rosebuds while we may. Your elbow is in the butter, sir.”

So keep on being happy while you can on this Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Carpe diem (seize the day) and get a pet, preferably a dog — but only if you can take care of it.

And get your elbow out of the butter.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is wooten@postandcourier.com.