The Dog Days of Summer

This past weekend my husband and I babysat for our fur grandbabies – Otto and Pearl. They belong to our daughter, Shelby and her husband Chris and we were fortunate enough to have them for just enough time to love them and then send them home! We, and by we I mean my husband, took them outside every few hours for them to stretch their legs and do their business. On a crisp, cool autumn afternoon they may want to stay outside and take a nice long walk, but not this time as the weather was steamy and scorching. So in they would come, exhausted and so hot that a total collapse on the floor, tongues hanging out and chests heaving with labored breaths was all they could manage for a few minutes. They would wait for me to put a few ice cubes in their water bowls before lapping up the cool liquid and then all was back to normal. Well for everyone except our poor cat, Myla, who had to hide the entire time they were here to preserve her sanity! And her safety! as I genuinely think Pearl might view her as an appetizer, or if not that, then a VERY interesting chew toy. We did not test this theory and we helped her in finding her hiding places.

This got me to thinking about the term “dog days” of summer. And, yes folks, we are in the dog days. This particular phrase refers to the long, hot, sultry days typically between July and August in our hemisphere when the weather is at her hottest. The phrase comes from the Romans and the Greeks who associated the hot weather with the star, Sirius. Sirius was also known as the Dog Star because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, or Large Dog. During this time, the Dog Days were thought to be an evil time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies”, this according to Brady’s “Clavis Calendaria, 1813”. I think I, personally, have suffered from the phrensies many times in my lifeJ

The Ancient Greeks thought that Sirius could affect dogs adversely during these hottest days of summer, causing them to behave abnormally and pant excessively which placed them at risk of “desiccation and disease” and possibly causing them to become rabid.

“Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky

On summer nights, star of stars,

Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest

Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat

And fevers to suffering humanity.”

Apt description of these hot, languid days, I think, from Homer, in the Iliad.

So a reminder: do not leave your pets outside for long periods of time. Leave water out for our wild feathered and furred friends. Do not leave your pets in the car for ANY time as the temperature, even with windows cracked, soars in seconds. When walking your dogs, remember that the pavement is as hot to their pads as to our feet so keep them walking in the grass. Be sure to hydrate yourself and all your human babies too and follow the same rules for them!

During these Dog Days, it might be nice to find some indoor, air conditioned activities to include in your Summer fun. Maybe a trip to your local pool or a movie in a nice, cold movie theater! Or you can always go to one of the many new restaurants in town for a cool drink and a great dinner. Take a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame to see the Dylan, Cash and Nashville Cats or the Luke Bryan exhibits. Maybe a trip the The Frist to see Italian Style: Fashion since 1945. Oz Arts has an interesting sounding exhibit called Em-bod-i-ment: Poetry Through the Five Senses by Stephanie Pruitt. You can also always find great activities and big and little kids at The Nashville Public Library.

Some more events to check out:

July 21 Daily and Vincent at the Grand Ole Opry

July 23 America at Schermerhorn Symphony Center

July 24 Carrie Underwood at the Grand Ole Opry

July 25 Blake Shelton at Country Thunder

July 27 James Bay at Marathon Music Works

July 31 Shania Twain at Bridgestone Arena

Aug 1 Nashville Rollergirls Doubleheader at the Municipal Auditorium

Aug 1 Dolly Parton Benefitting the Opry Trust Fund at the Ryman

Aug 1 Hot Shots Hot Chicken, Whiskey and Bourbon Festival at Bridgestone Arena

Aug 2 Deep Purple at The Ryman

Aug 5 Mindfulness Meditation at The Nashville Public Library (HOW COOL IS THAT!!!)

A great site to find all the fun out of the sun (and in the sun if you prefer) is Something for everyone at this site.

As always, stay cool!

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