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Heavy Petting, part one...

Dog Days: stray thoughts
by Diannek

Can't wait to go bye-bye!
Let's go for a ride!

Most of us probably already know that "Dog Days" refers to the hottest part of the summer, usually around August, when the heat really gets to us and we just want to hang around panting. It's difficult to do anything more than reach for the lemonade or a sweaty beer and click the remote control. We dream of eating ice cream cones and crisp salads on cool patios but it's too damned hot...

It's difficult to raise a finger to do any kind of labor in the heat of the day. So I went to the encyclopedia for you and copied out the information on D-Days, because I know that most of you are simply too miserable to hoist that heavy book off the shelf and look for yourselves. So if you're wondering what the scholarly word is on D-Days, read on:

From Phantom's postcard collection
Clever wants to know:
Aren't cats really smarter than dogs?

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (15th Edition): Dog Days refers to periods of exceptionally hot and humid weather that often occur in July, August and early September in the north temperate latitudes. The name originated with the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians; they believed that Sirius, the dog star, which rises simultaneously with the Sun during this time of the year, added its heat to the Sun's and thereby caused the hot weather. Their belief that dogs were subject to spells of madness at this time also may have contributed to the name. Because people tended to become listless during the dog days, Sirius was held to have a detrimental effect on human activities.

Dogs are so much a part of our lives that we take them for granted. Our language is full of trite little doggie homilies. Here are a few examples:

Dog, of course, is man's best friend.
Beware of the dog!
Every dog will have his day.
Die like a dog
A dog's breakfast
Fetch the poor dog a bone.
You're dog meat.
Hair of the dog that bit you.
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
The little dog laughed to see such sport...
Let sleeping dogs lie...
It's raining cats and dogs.
Dog tired!
Dog-gone it.

Good Doggie!

Football dog!

Here's Sadie at Camp Nancy, Bucks Lake, California.  One of her favorite vacation spots.
A Tribute to Sadie

Here's a photo of our family dog, Sadie. She's gone now but she's still very much alive in our hearts. I remember the day we got her. My husband brought her home from work one Friday night. A co-worker took her in every day for a week, just hoping somebody might want her. The dog desperately needed a new home. Dale felt sorry for the little animal so he said he'd take her just for the weekend, on a tryout. Our daughters were just little girls at the time and we'd never had a family dog. I wasn't terribly interested in dogs. In fact, we'd never even talked about getting a dog. So when Dale came home with a little shivering stray poodle called Sadie, I was in shock. I didn't even like poodles very much, in general.

Our daughters loved her from the minute they set eyes on her, but we told them we were just baby-sitting Sadie for the weekend. The first thing she did was jump up on the couch. Poodles are great little jumpers, you know. I said, "dogs off the couch." She jumped down and looked up at me with big frightened black eyes. She only weighed ten pounds, not much of a dog. Our cats weighed more than she did. She was persistent though, so the next thing she did was jump directly onto my lap and lick my face. I relented. It would be okay to have a dog on a lap on the couch. I think Sadie knew from the moment she entered our house that I was the one she'd have to win over. She'd already done her work on Dale, and the little girls were pushovers.

The rest is history. After about half an hour I was convinced that this was a very special animal. She was loving, sweet, smart, and she adored me, and the rest of the family, right off the bat. She even liked the cats, who did not return her interest, but tolerated her, for the next sixteen and a half years.

She never thought of herself as a small dog. She was a real dog and she did everything that real dogs do. She ran and played with the kids, she barked at strangers and guarded the hell out of us. She demanded that we take her for a walk and she learned all kinds of doggie tricks. Everything we did was exciting and fun to her. She loved to ride in the car and eat junk food. She got fleas and had puppies, and accidents in the house. She ate chocolates from a box left on the coffee table and barfed all over the house.

She slept with us, entertained us, loved us unconditionally, which is the only thing a dog can do, and generally made our family life complete for sixteen years. We mourned her when she died and we still miss her and thank those lucky stars that she came home with Dale that fateful Friday afternoon.

Sadie and Shadow at Bucks Lake

Here's Sadie with one of her larger friends, Shadow, another wonderful dog. We miss them both very much.

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