Man’s best friends, renowned for their devotion, are thought to have played a role in developing modern humans by helping to eradicate caveman rivals, the Neanderthal, some 40,000 years ago. Anthropologists, now hypothesize when modern man migrated from Africa to Europe, they brought with them superior tools and a loyal ally, domesticated wolves.
Since then dogs have assisted mankind in a plethora of ways – including wartime. Left in a foxhole on a dirt road in New Guinea during World War II is how Smokey, the 4-pound Yorkshire terrier, began the adventure that would lead her to become WWII’s “littlest soldier,” earning eight battle stars through 18 months of combat and 12 missions during five theaters of operation.
In January 1945, Smokey became a true war dog hero when she was able to assist in reducing a three day dangerous job down to 10 minutes.
With the need to accommodate communication wires under the runway and safety concerns for 200 soldiers and 40 U.S. planes, the seven inch high Smokey, pulled a string, attached to her collar, through a 70-foot long, 8-inches wide sand packed pipe. Not only did the Americans avoid detection by the Japanese, Smokey felt the love from all who saw this “littlest soldier’s” loyalty in action.
One of Naples most beloved four legged stories, involving another kind of service, entails a customer of Mamie Tooke, Naples first woman bank president. Jane Tibbett, wife of famed Metropolitan Opera star, Lawrence Tibbett, often ran errands accompanied by her basset hound, Jedge, who would wait patiently for his cookie from Mrs. Tooke. One day Jedge decided not to go home and assumed his position next to Mrs. Tooke, wherein for hours, he would go about his new job of sleuthing or sleeping.
Mrs. Tooke, who assumed the manager’s position after her husband’s death, also inherited a seat on the Loan Committee. As the stories go, she soon noticed that during some of the loan interviews, Jedge would leave the bank, while during others; he would remain next to her desk. If he stayed, there was a good chance a loan approval was on the horizon.
This furry customer service philosophy continues today in many of Naples local businesses. Phil Fisher’s Gallery in Crayton Cove is one place where you can see fabulous art and sit a spell with Seraphina, Phil Fisher and Natalie Guess’ 13 year-old Fox Terrier mix. On any given day at McQuaid Company & Real Estate Services at Bayfront, on the Old Naples Waterfront, you can find the “Waterfront Wonder Dog,” Bo, the “low-riding” Dachshund and McQuaid’s favorite confident – other than Barbara Corcoran, from SHARK TANK. No doubt Bo is looking forward to the 34th Annual Taste of Collier on April 25, 2015, now owned and produced by his mom’s company, McQuaid Marketing.
On Fifth Avenue South, you will find water bowls at many shops but for that Fifth Avenue cache, look for Tinker Bell, the purr-fect Persian cat, often shaved like a lion, at The Wind in the Willows. While Tinker Bell is not a pup, she receives two paws up for her random appearances in their window displays, having people to ask: How much is that kitty in the window?
Don’t have your furry pal with you? Then stop by Waterfront Grill at Venetian Village every Saturday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. for “Yappy Hour.” For VIPs, (Very Important Pups), Sea Salt, located on Historic Third Street South, was highly recommended by Moose, the Museum Maltese.
If canine companions accommodations are required, look no further than the Hilton Naples or the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. And for socializing, the City of Naples Dog Park is a pooch’s paradise. On this 1.35-acre sectioned area (for small and large dogs), you’ll find two and four-legged water fountains, custom painted fire hydrants and a shade tree planted in honor of Moose Bolin, the Museum Maltese so named by Springfield’s Own magazine in 2011.
Pooches Picks for service to dogs goes to PAWS Assistance & Therapy Dogs, Golden Retriever Rescue of SWFL and a double high paw to Philip Douglas and Doug Olsen, recent recipients of the HSN’s “Animaltarian Award.” Philip Douglas Salon’s Diva, Ava, would be so proud.
To renew your spirit, stop by Celebration Community Beach Church, held in Cambier Park every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Here you can meet friends of all sizes and shapes, who have all decided to PAWS for love in April.