From The Publisher

Beverly DenverDog Days of Summer

No longer am I keeping track of the number of days I have suffered through temperatures above 100 degrees. Instead, I am ignoring all the forecasts for more weeks of the same. I don’t need a Barbie- or Ken-like weatherperson to tell me precisely how hot it is in Houston. By taking just one step outside, I’m fully aware of the intensity of the heat (and humidity). 

The Dog Days of Summer are here and, like many others, I’ve just about had it. Staying in the house when it’s hot outside is okay for a while, but too much of it, and I’m like a Pit Bull in a crate. I feel cooped up, am easily irritated, and I snap at people. Not good! 

The other night I got to thinking about this and the term, Dog Days of Summer, and wondered exactly how they got their name. A quick search on Google taught me a lot.

“The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the Dog Star because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (large dog)…Originally, during the Dog Days, Sirius rose about the same time as the sun, so the Romans believed the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather…Dog Days were considered an evil time, when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad and all creatures became languid.” 

Knowing other “creatures” have been discomforted by the Dog Days of Summer for centuries is comforting. So too is the fact that nowadays there are a myriad of ways to ease the hardship and pain of triple-digit temps — many more than were available for all those Romans. So, I’ve decided to focus on them, venture out and count my blessings. 

  • Blessing One: I can leave my house in my air-conditioned car. 
  • Blessing Two: I can spend hours in air-conditioned shops and/or restaurants. 
  • Blessing Three: I can find an icy cold Mocha Frappuccino or frozen Margarita (with salt) on every street corner in Houston. 
  • Blessing Four: I can go see a film or play in a number of beautiful, air-conditioned theaters.
  • Blessing Five: I can jump in my girlfriend’s swimming pool “as often as I want.” Oh my goodness, the blessings go on and on.  

I look over at my favorite four-legged pal, Winston, to ask if he’d like to “go for a ride in my air-conditioned car.” But, knowing it’s always best to let sleeping dogs lie, I merely smile, and leave him alone. Suddenly, I realize: The heat is keeping Winston inside more than usual too, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by that at all. He doesn’t act out or fuss. He doesn’t bark or growl. During these challenging Dog Days of Summer, this darling little Schnoodle merely crawls in his bed and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. When he does wake up, it seems he’s more energetic and sweeter than ever.  

Once again, I smile, but this time with new awareness. 

Seems I can learn a lot from Winston — especially when it comes to dealing with the Dog Days of Summer. Clearly, he has learned (and mastered) the trick!

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