Typically, the hottest days of summer in my part of Louisiana are the months of August and September. I never thought about the expression the dog days of summer, until I watched our rescue dog, Tully, during these months. Lots of dog expressions crept into my language such as whoa doggy, doggy bag, It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and His bark is worse than his bite.
But now, as I face another hot month, the dog days of summer have affected my actions too. It’s not Tully’s fault. His lethargic attitude reflects mine. I understand the expression now that I visualize it every day. Tully and I are both longing for a breeze, a reprieve.
My dog day characteristics that mimic my Tully are: laziness, resting mode, low energy, drained, dead tired. I see canine, fur baby and want to spread out on the couch and twitch as I cream under the fan. But I pry my eyes open, stretch, and carry-on in my working persona. Yet, oh to be a dog! (I say the same thing about my cats who sleep sixteen hours a day!)
Although the expression makes total sense describing the hottest, most oppressive summer months in the south, the history of the expressions adds a bit of relevant explanation.
The dog days of summer this year were July 3-August 11. They take place during the time when the sun occupies the same region in the sky as Sirius, the bright star visible from any part of Earth and is part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.
Make sense? Whatever the history of the expression, I now have a visual in my Tully as he sleeps during the heat of the day. He and I share the same dreams of catching a cool breeze and chasing a butterfly. He just gets to do it more often than I do.
As the dog days of summer linger, what do you do in anticipation of the fall? I plan, read, organize, and rest in the hammock under the shade tree with my dog. I don’t want him having all the fun.