Marcophiles: Happy dogs and nervous owners get together at new park

CHRIS CURLE
Photo with no caption
Photo with no caption

A recent visit to introduce our dog to Marco’s Canine Cove had the feel of a cocktail party. By that, we mean one group was a bunch of runabout tail-waggers that mostly had a ball meeting and greeting “new blood” among their canine peers.

The other group milled about with smiles and a few nervous looks as they watched their pets dashing, rolling, sniffing, exploring and other stuff that dogs do. Our dog hasn’t spent a lot of time around other dogs in off-leash situations, so we were among the clutch of nervous humans, fearing some form of intraspecies social conflicts. Seasoned human veterans of Canine Cove were more relaxed.

At one point, two big, strong dogs were madly chasing each other, often colliding, rolling around, pawing, panting, and then jumping up to continue the chase. Some of us wondered whether they’d pursue our wallflower of a pet, too.

“Don’t worry,” said the owner of the two cavorting, frolicking dogs to us wary onlookers, “they do this at home all the time.”

“Ohhhh-Kaaay,” we said with a grim grin, but it turned out fine.

Our dog growled at a couple of other dogs that sauntered over, but she didn’t hurt them. I think she thought they were about to get fresh or something.

Canine Cove features separate, fenced areas for big dogs and little ones and it seems to work well. One observation – a lot of the small doggies strutted and ran around like they owned the place, tails and ears up, chests out, radiating such unspoken attitudes as, “How are YOU doin’?” or, “Hey, you talkin’ ta me?”

By contrast, many of the large dogs were more subdued, walking around with big doggie smiles, seemingly saying, “Golly everybody, isn’t this fun?”

Little dogs – The Fonz. Big dogs – Barney Fife. All great, all happy to be there, but not unhappy to go home where their ruling authority over their environment, including their humans, is secure.

Bear facts you can use to entertain your winter visitors

It’s time for your phone to start ringing and your cell phone to start signaling e-mails or texts from friends and relatives, so you can learn how many winter visitors you’ll have this year. It’s fun, of course, but entertaining the grandchildren and their adult supervisors can be a challenge.

Now the Naples Zoo is coming to the rescue with a great new exhibit, the Black Bear Hammock that has opened since the snowbirds and others went back north last spring. It is unusual and exciting for a couple of reasons:

It is the largest accredited black bear exhibit east of the Mississippi River. It has both a native habitat for black bears and a backyard habitat. It teaches safety if one encounters a black bear in the wild and shows them in a wild environment and in a human backyard picnic environment. The point is that we have black bears in the wild here, as many as 1,000 in Southwest Florida.

Get your tickets now for the busy season ahead and give a loved one a day with Anna and Toby, the new black bears in town, at the Zoo. The easiest way to get tickets is on line at napleszoo.org.

Dam’s scam – keep your S.S. On the hush-hush

Marco Islander Keith Dameron has become the island’s “Scaminator,” the vice president and manager of Iberia Bank, who spends a lot of time informing the public about how to avoid the scads of scams out there. This edition of Dam’s Scams is about how to keep bad buys from getting your Social Security number and using it.

“When and where were you born?” Keith asks. “With those two ‘innocent’ pieces of information, scammers may guess your Social Security number. For skilled scammers, birth dates and home towns are available on the Internet. They know that the first three digits of a SSN are an ‘area number,’ issued according to zip codes on the SSN application form.

“The fourth and fifth digits are location-based group numbers, so just knowing a birth date and home town makes the first five digits the easiest to guess. The last five are the toughest, because they’re issued in sequence, based on how long it takes to process the SSN application.

“Most at risk of having their SSN guessed are people born since 1988, when SS Administration began requiring many families to order SSNs at birth. It’s harder to guess the SSNs for those age 50 and older because they received their SSNs later in life at various times.”

So, how do you keep your SSN confidential?

“Remove all personal information from social Web sites, such as Facebook. Never use a birth date or any part of your SSN as passwords for online accounts.

“Never respond with personal information request for online security questions. And don’t include home towns or other personal information in obituaries, a favorite target of identity thieves.” If you have a scam to share with Marcophiles readers, e-mail us.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com. Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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