Scout as a tyke, probably circa 1996. Image: Sherry Lucas

by Sherry Lucas

I’m currently pet-free, but that doesn’t make me immune to their charms. The excited greetings and nudges, the soulful looks of pure adoration and the balm that patting a furry head can work on your spirit — that’s something mighty special indeed.

The most recent heart thieves on the canine front were black dogs with other people for primary owners, but who I’d known since their puppy days. My relationship to them was akin to that of godmother or grandmother or favorite aunt, I guess — happy to see them, thrilled to play with them, not responsible for feeding, watering, scooping or more except by special request and arrangement.

Scout was a black Labrador retriever owned by an (ultimately) ex-boyfriend. He was a sweetheart of a dog, and in my best memories, I can still see him going nuts the first time he saw sand on a walk near the Pearl River, and that time he gamely tried playing basketball with us on the patio. He chewed up one-half of a fabulous pair of peek-a-boo spectator pumps, too, but one look into those mostly innocent brown eyes and my heart melted. Again.

The other was Chief, a Belgian sheepdog owned by a close friend — a mischievous leader type who could charm me by pushing his long nose against my neck in every hug, and herd me whenever I wasn’t paying attention. He taught me so much, like, don’t squeal, run or break eye contact because then he’d really treat me like sheep. I hear I was the only other human who could look into his handsome face and speak lovingly to him, inches from his nose (and teeth). To give you an idea of how rare that was, little kids would point him out and cry “Werewolf!”

Both are now gone. I still miss them fiercely and hope that one day I’ll see their like again.

In the meantime, I’ll keep you abreast of pet-centric partying, and party-centric outings.

It’s the dog days of summer, so what could be more appropriate than the Paws on the Patio Fundraiser, 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Library Lounge at the Fairview Inn in Belhaven. The fundraiser is free to attend and will raise money to support ARF MS (Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi) through raffle tickets ($3 each, buy lots) for prizes donated from local veterinarians, pets stores, groomers and more, food and donations. Live music will perk up the patio, and feel free to have a date night out with your furry and four-legged bestie (leash required). Raffle tickets and donations can go on your Library tab, while you lap up handcrafted cocktails, beer and wine and tasty small plates or specialty hot dog creations. Pets in attendance will get a special treat, too. Need more info? Call 601-948-3429.

Take a breather and soak up the sight of fine art at Thursday’s artist reception for Liz Nichols and “Growth,” an exhibition of her introspective, nature-inspired paintings, 5-7 p.m. at Brown’s Fine Art & Framing.

An opening reception for “Growth,” paintings by Liz Nichols, is Thursday at Brown’s Fine Art & Framing. Cross section of image: Brown’s Fine Art & Framing.

Team Jxn’s State Street Open House5-10 p.m Thursday, showcases businesses, hotels and restaurants in State Street’s downtown section. It’s a chance to take in new offices, creative businesses, cuisines, museums and entertainment. It’s free, at 308 E. Pearl St., Suite 101.

Relax with Celtic music from Spirits of the House, 10 p.m Thursday at Fenian’s Pub, and imagine yourself in cooler climes. Find Scott Albert Johnson on tap there Friday night, at 11 p.m.

Horn in on the fun Friday night at Hal & Mal’s, when the Epic Funk Brass Band infuses funk, pop, jazz and Go-Go into a custom mix of second-line brass, Friday at Hal & Mal’s and free in the dining room. Saturday night, kick back and give a listen to Mobile singer/songwriter Josh Ward, also free in the dining room.

Cool off with more hot music from the stage at Martin’s through the weekend. Americana/alt-country/Southern folk/and more band Susto brings catchy hooks and honest storytelling to the fore, with Young Valley, 9 p.m. Thursday. Friday, Big Freedia with DJ Venom are in the spotlight, 10 p.m. Space Kadet is on the Saturday night horizon, at 10 p.m.

Big Freedia returns to Jackson Friday night. Image: bigfreedia.com

BuildingBridgesTour6-11 p.m. Friday at Land Vs. Ocean, 3011 N. State St., includes music from Cesar Comanche Ghost Dog, Marcel P. Black and Truth Universal, plus art by Daniel Johnson. Admission is free.

Marcel P. Black plays the BuildingBridgesTour Friday at Land v Ocean. Image: Marcel P. Black

Need a project with a purpose? Here’s one: a Family Heirloom Restoration Seminar, 11 a.m. Saturday at Interiors Market, 659 Duling Ave., with Ronnie Rushton and Jim Alford of Upholstery by Design and Furniture Restoration and Interiors Market’s Barry Plunkett. It’s free and repeats at 2 p.m.

Shop till you drop, but don’t rack up more sales tax than you have to. Thanks to the 2017 Mississippi Sales Tax Holiday Friday and Saturday, sales tax isn’t due on clothing or footwear sales if the price of a single item is less than $100. Check out Saturday’s Tent Sale by Buffalo Peak Outfitters, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The best deals of the season happen at Saturday’s tent sale at Buffalo Peak Outfitters. Image: Buffalo Peak

The 10th annual Street Festival and Back to School Bash is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Greater Mt. Sinai M.B. Church, 1900 Bailey Ave. in Jackson, with music, games and refreshments.

Brain Day10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Children’s Museum opens kids’ minds to brain exploration during “Question It? Discover It.” The event’s included with general admission and sponsored by Children’s of Mississippi.

Get your roar on and your stripes straight Saturday as the Jackson Zoo marks Global Tiger Day Saturday with a range of pawfect fun, including tiger crafts, tiger coloring pages, tiger conservation facts, special tiger keeper chats and bubbles, starting at 10 a.m. Plus, you’ll learn more about saving this magnificent animal. While you’re there, learn more, too, about the alligator (American mississippiensis in Latin lingo) at 1 p.m. at the Backyard Creatures and Castle, and red-ruffed lemurs (with baby lemurs as the special guests!) at 1:45 p.m. at the lemur exhibit.

Fondrenite Sherry Lucas, a feature writer in Jackson for the last 33 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting creativity and culture from Fondren and beyond. Reach her at sherry@finditinfondren.com.