I’m a little obsessed with my four-legged friends, Oliver and Gladys, who have been my source of companionship and unconditional love for many years. We had dogs most of my life, some of whom came to us in the most interesting of ways. There was a Labrador mix (Inky) my dad bought for $5 from a guy selling puppies out of a box at a Kmart, a Bassett-beagle mix (Brownie) someone dropped off at my dad’s office, and Puddles, the German Shepherd mix puppy found by my dad and brother while they were hiking.After Puddles died, I didn’t have a dog until the kids flew the coop and we adopted Percy, our sweet cockapoo. As he aged, I acquired Oliver, a Maltese-Yorkie mix, to keep him company, and when Percy crossed the Rainbow Bridge, the Shih Tzu-Poodle mix I christened Gladys Kravitz came into my home.

That’s why I was so enthusiastic about this issue’s Coastal Illustrated feature. In honor of National Pet Day (April 11), we dropped in on a number of local businesses, the owners of which all bring their canine, feline and avian companions to work with them. There’s Gus, the theater cat at SoGlo Gallery/Brunswick Actors’ Theatre, whose job it is to greet those he chooses to, or, just lounge in the front window of the gallery. You may also found him reclined on top of the piano, or making a cameo appearance in one of the theater troupe’s productions. While Gus lives a relaxing life, Cooper, a British Labrador Retriever who reports to work at On the Fly Outfitters, has received extensive training and practices falconry. I encourage you to drop in on all of these businesses and meet their ambassadors.

The Coastal Home feature takes us in a different, but equally fun, direction. The folks at Pantone have chosen the 2021 Colors of the Year – Illuminating (a radiant shade of sunshine yellow) and Ultimate Grey (a soft gray that plays well with a whole rainbow of other colors, yellow in particular), and we’ve got advice on how to successfully use these colors in your home. Interior designers Gina Lever, of The Home Fabric Studio, and Austin Williams, of Austin Williams Designs, both have plenty of tips and pointers for bringing this look to life. In fact, we’re so in love with the colors of the year that Cheri Leavy is featuring them in “Shore Things.” Spend some time in our featured retailers’ shops and look for clothing, home decor, sneakers and more, all in gray and yellow!

Also in Coastal Home, you’ll find reporter Gordon Jackson’s article about how the local real estate market is ablaze – particularly for sellers.

Our columnists, as always, are fun and informative. Literary columnist Cary Knapp reviews “The Paris Library” by Janet Skeslien Charles (Atria Books), a novel based on the real-life international team of librarians who defied the Nazis in order to hand-deliver books to banned Jewish readers during World War II. Horticulture columnist Anne Ditmer goes back to basics in this issue, and has encouraging words for those learning as she recalls her evolution into gardening.

The Q&As also feature some interesting folks. Brad Davis, the focus of our Local Q&A, is an experiential event producer for Five Star AudioVisual. He talks about his love of his work, family and his favorite things to do in his spare time. In the Realtor Affiliate Q&A, we meet Mike Cudd, owner of Duke’s Coastal Flooring. Mike and his family like to spend their free time, and the community involvement in which his company engages. Phoebe Hoaster, of Signature Properties Group, is featured in the Realtor Q&A. A long-time member of the St. Simons Island community, Hoaster talks about her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with whom she loves spending time, as well as her love of real estate and local landmarks.

Remember to check out the Captured pages, which are full of people you know, and remind us that good times are just around the corner. As always, don’t forget to wash your hands. Enjoy the issue!