Still in the dog days here . . .

August 27, 2014

As a child, I thought the "dog days" of summer referred to the fact that because it was so hot and humid, dogs just wanted to lay in the shade and keep cool. Whenever I hear the term "dog days," I still get a mental picture of a big Golden Retriever laying under the shade of a picnic table, panting.

The Official Blog Cat is standing in for the Golden Retriever
The dog days of summer are the hottest and muggiest part of summer, but "dog" refers to the star 
Sirius, the dog star, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). 

During the hottest time of the year in ancient times, Sirius rose at the same time as the sun, so ancient peoples assumed it was the cause of the oppressive heat. The ancient Romans would sacrifice a red dog in the spring to try and appease Sirius.

And even though the dog days of summer are officially well and truly over, it sure doesn't feel like it here in Michigan. Lots of heat and humidity. Even though students are mostly back to school, and some leaves are already turning, I do not have my customary "fresh start" feeling that comes with the beginning of a new school year.

I love that feeling . . . low humidity, warm, clear days, cool nights perfect for sleeping with the windows open; new school supplies (I never can resist buying fresh new pencils and a pretty notebook or two this time of year); pumpkin spice lattes and homemade gingerbread; and best of all, a renewed energy and zest for creating, learning, and growing.

But alas, I still feel lethargic, kind of oppressed by the humidity. Like those poor hot dogs, laying panting under the shade of a picnic table, I am at a low energy level. In ancient times, the dog days were considered to be an evil time, when dogs went mad and all other creatures became lethargic, disease ran rampant, and even the oceans boiled. I am one of those "all other creatures." Can only hope for a change in the weather soon.

I think it must be dog days all the time for cats.


  1. It really is getting cooler here, Autumn is definitely on its way. The nights are getting darker earlier and it is a cold air rather than a cool air. Hope it cools down for you soon.

  2. I drag myself around on hot and humid days and yesterday was one with the temperature in the upper 80s. Today, back down to 64 so the A/C was only on for one day.
    I'd say your cat and my dog enjoy every day in the lap of luxury.

  3. Cute photos of the official Blog Cat! She's a good stand in!
    I learned something new today--always thought of the "dog days" just like you used to...the poor dogs panting and laying around in the heat. Interesting to hear they were really named after a star...glad the Roman superstitions are not prevalent anymore--the sacrifice of one of man's best friends would not be pleasant (or popular)!

  4. Your cat is taking life easy. Perhaps a cue can be taken from them...

  5. My brother calls this weather "stupid hot." And I concur. It's unbearable! My little niece has her first middle school cheer football game tonight, and I opted out - too hot, too many skeeters, I am staying indoors!

    My eldest daughter called, their year-old AC unit broke, ugh, can you believe it? Now that's just horrible timing for sure. They can't come out and fix till next week - she may be staying with us, we shall see they have a dog and cat.

    Stay cool. Hugs.

  6. I enjoyed learning about the dog days background. Hope it starts to cool off for you soon. I too like fresh pencils and notebooks this time of year. I love poking around in the school supplies when they come out.

    And, I see, Blog Kitty is near y taking advantage of any stray pets or kisses, head on arm for connection. Give her a big purry hug for me.

    And, of course, one for you too...

  7. There is so much I don't know, like where that saying originated (this is why I will never be a contestant on Jeopardy, haha.) Thanks for sharing! It has been hot and humid in Nebraska, too, but the days are definitely getting shorter. I sure hope we will have a pretty Fall with pleasant days and cool nights.

  8. Oh Deborah, your blog cat is so adorable! I learn so much from reading your blog! It is so hot and humid here too and hope it cools down soon for us both!!take care & makeup Monday will be back this Monday. Enjoy the rest of the week and weekend.

  9. Informative post! Hang in there, the heat will subside soon...of course, there is always "Indian Summer" in September. I'm going to celebrate the last days of summer, inside, of course, with an iced tea! (Just kidding...well, sort of...I do have to get out in the garden!)

  10. We are still experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures, but we have little humidity, and because we're on an island, the air cools beautifully every night so that sleeping is never a problem. I am nearly ready for autumn, though. It's my very favourite season.

  11. Keep cool, and carry on. Although we don't have to deal with humidity, we have been in the triple digits for over 3 weeks. Then again, I'd appreciate a little rain, for my flowers, especially, but we don't expect any time soon and haven't had a drop since early May! Kitty is definitely not too hot and bothered!


  12. I realize that it was always just a google away (or at least in this millennium it was) but I never knew the actual reason that they were called the dog days. I use the term all the time, and I at least use it for the proper time period, but I never knew the full reason why. I love to learn so... this was interesting!

    Frankly, I agree with the ancients on one thing: The dog days definitely feel like evil times around here. Imagine if you will, a pot that has been on a low boil for months suddenly turning up the heat and bubbling over. That's Georgia in the dog days.

    I'm a cat person. I love cats although we don't have one here because the husband does not share my affection. Aside from the creepy demon cat stray who wouldn't leave me alone on the deck this week, I generally love them all. I'm loving your sleepy kitty.

  13. Your sweet blog kitty is so darling and looks so comfy there enjoying a nap. We had 4 Goldens and they all enjoyed their summer nap time. I remember those hot and muggy days in August that Michigan seems to be famous for. LOL We are not close to cooler days here in Texas yet, but I can feel the wind changing and the leaves looking a bit dryer. Fall must be on the way.

    Have a great day and pat your sweet kitty for me!

  14. Your adorable cat makes me smile :) My little kitty is sleeping at my feet right now, but it's not humid or hot here, but rather cold and rainy - i wonder what her reason for snoozing is :)

    I hope it cools down for you, dear friend. Have a lovely day!

  15. I don't recall ever knowing why the dog days were called that... I just usually want them to be over! Although I do miss the longer hours of light that start to fade away right about now. Sigh......

    Thanks for educating another one of the "all other creatures!" :)

  16. I hope it cools down soon for you! We have been so hot this summer, too - unusual for Washington State. I'm not a fan of heat and I am looking forward to cooler days and nights. I knew about the 'Dog Star' (one of my favorite songs by Sting), but didn't know about the red dog sacrifices. Poor things! Now they just have to suffer through with the rest of us :) xo Karen

  17. Dearest Deborah,
    Very interesting post and as I type here, I do have one of our cat-boys on my lap, his head nestled into my left arm... Purring his head off!
    Yes, it is very hot and humid here too; wish we got some refreshing and cooling rain soon.
    Sending you hugs and happy weekend wishes.


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