Dog Days of Summer

The ancient Egyptians and Romans both referred to specific time periods in the months of July and August as “Dog Days” so that reference has been around for quite some time.  The hot, humid weather was thought to be caused by Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.  A quick search of Wikipedia turned up this interesting reference, “Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time ‘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.’ according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.”  The reason I find this so interesting is that we have had more than our share of “Dog Days” this summer.  We avoided the diseases and burning fevers, but we certainly had plenty of hysterics and phrensies!

The first incident involved Champ, my 15-year-old nearly blind and deaf Yorkie.  I put him outside one evening around 10:00 p.m., and headed to the kitchen to get a glass of water.  When I got back to the door just a few minutes later, I was amazed that he was nowhere in sight because he moves very slowly at his advanced age.  I stepped outside and immediately heard him whining.  It only took a few seconds to realize he had wandered to the edge of the pond bank and fallen in the immense whole created when the April tornado toppled the giant cottonwood tree by the house.

I ran to the bedroom to get John so he could find one of his coon hunting lights, and we both headed outside.  I slid down the bank, but the hole was so deep I couldn’t reach Champ.  I took the light from John, and he approached the hole from another angle.  Even with his longer arms and better vantage point, he struggled to reach the bottom of the hole.  He was finally able to grab Champ by the back of his neck and haul him to safety.  Miraculously, he was unharmed and didn’t appear to be stiff or sore the next day.  We celebrated our good fortune not realizing that the worst of the Dog Days of Summer was yet to come.


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