The Dog Days of Summer

dog days of summer, golden retriever, dog loveFor years I’ve wondered why the best part of the year is called the “Dog Days of Summer.” Most dogs I know (and I’m close to many) aren’t enamored with summer. Too hot for their heavy fur.

My granddog Charlie loves being outside, but on a “dog day of summer,” he buries himself in the dirt (usually in my daughter’s well-loved rose garden) and hangs out there until he’s discovered and chastised.

sirius, dog days of summerSo today, I researched the expression “Dog Days of Summer” to learn that the ancient Romans called the hottest, most humid days  “diēs caniculārēs” or “dog days” (July 3- August 11). These Romans associated the hottest days of summer with the concurrent rising of the star Sirius, known as the “Dog Star,” the brightest star in the constellation – Canis Major (Large Dog).

So then I wondered, does a cat get a star?

Not really. Three constellations represent dogs, but no cats (although there are two lions and a lynx).

Until now.

illustrated children's book. book about cat

A Star Is Born!
Illustration © Shelley A Steinle.

 

I have created a Cat Star. Her name is Molly. She will appear to the world in September, in a book entitled MOLLY FINDS HER PURR, with other creatures who perhaps aren’t part of a constellation, but they do belong to….. well, I’ll explain that later.

In the meantime, be a cool cat and cool off, like Charlie my granddog does here.

105 thoughts on “The Dog Days of Summer

  1. Oooh, this is exciting, Pam. What a great way to introduce a new book. I can’t wait to see and read it. Congratulations. Fascinating stuff about the dog days of summer too. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charlie has a ‘thing’ for water (while my golden, Henry, used to run the other way if he saw a pool/ocean/lake). The problem with Charlie’s water-love is that a muddy puddle looks just as enticing to him as a cool blue pool. ;-0

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  2. Pam, I’m so excited to learn more about Molly and a wonderful unique introduction to your latest book! Thank you for the explanation about dog days of summer … a phrase that’s confused me! It’s all in the stars! Happy Weekend and bet you’re bubbling with joy about your upcoming release! Hugs 😀❤️🦋 🐈

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    • MANY thanks for your enthusiasm regarding my Molly, Annika. She IS a star – I’m so excited about bringing her out to the universe. Mid-September pub date. I can’t believe all this time I never knew what “dog days of summer” meant. Glad I had a reason to look it up – as you said, it’s all in the stars. ❤

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    • Well, I hope your wish comes true, Brigid. We’ve enjoyed being with our granddog but still wonder if it’s time to bring another dog into our household. Might be difficult now with MOLLY the cat vying to get all the attention (at least in paper). 🙂

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  3. I’m all about Molly and I don’t even know her story yet. Cool idea.

    Also, in reference to your header, those roses are amazing. Thanks for commenting on my blog yesterday so that I can now know the rest of the story about your rosy header.

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    • Thanks, Ally. My daughter has become obsessed with her roses, probably because she found just the right spot for them (I think she has at least 25 rose bushes now) and the color combinations are a WOW factor.
      I’ll be sharing more about Molly the Cat in the future. I’m rather shy about the promo part, so will do it gently. 🙂

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  4. I thought I was going to have to explain “dog days” and the dog star to you, so I’m glad you looked it up. 😉

    Congratulations on your new book! How wonderful and exciting for you, Pam! Your granddog seems to enjoy the summer pool life!

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    • Yes, it’s a bit embarrassing that I’ve waited this long to find out what “dog days of summer” means. I made up my own reasons (all wrong) and stuck with them for years. I’m glad I had the good sense (and a fun video) to research the expression, and it led me to a great way to introduce Molly the Cat. (Promotion is not my forte.) But I think you will LOVE her. 🙂

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  5. How did you sneak this in? Another book! Maybe I had my head buried in the sands of my memoir. I certainly wasn’t looking up at Sirius or another other constellation in the starry heavens.

    Next time I train my gaze heavenward, I’ll pay attention to Molly, the Cat Star. This is a definitely a book for my daughter’s family, who dote on kitty cats with names like Daisy and Duke. Your book title is PURR-fect! Brava, dear Pam!

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    • Not your fault that you didn’t know I had a new illustrated children’s book in the works, Marian. You know how I told you that I walk my new book babies “slowly out of the barn”? Case in point here. I am too shy about it all. That’s why your fabulous ‘get your memoir out there’ marketing impresses me beyond …. the stars!
      But yes, I’m super excited about Molly and how she finds her purr. Let’s just say the book shows the importance of friendship. ❤

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    • Truthfully, your reason for the “dog days of summer” expression is the one I always believed, until I finally researched and found the Dog Star. But you’re so right, smart dogs love to nap on these hot hot Dog Star days. Snoringly yours, Pam

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    • Haha. That IS funny. Our last golden, Henry, steered far away from water and hot days. But like your granddog, he made angels in the snow and then plopped down on a big snow pile for as long as we’d let him.

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  6. How wonderful that you have a new book coming out, staring a cat!! Congratulations! I love the video of Charlie swimming. Dot is not keen on the water but sleeps under the fan in our bedroom on hot days.

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    • Interesting how some dogs love to swim, and some loath the idea. Charlie dives first and asks “may I?” later. 🙂 He’s 12-years-old and his hips hurt; I think the water exercise is good for him. Dot, by the way, has a “fan” in me! ❤

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  7. I am not much of a cat lover Pam, till I met my daughter’s pet who would be the prince of the house till he’d see Lucas, the other contender and would prefer to hide in the closet to avoid any confrontation. 🙂
    Congratulations for writing another illustrated book and wishing you great success with it.

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    • I remember how you’ve written about your daughter’s pets, and how they’ve rather melted your heart into animal-love. I’ve always been a “dog-person,” myself, but Molly jumped right into my heart with her searching eyes, asking me to help her find her purr. ❤ More info to follow before the September pub date. xo

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  8. Hi Pam, I wonder about some of the phrases out there. Thanks for clarification. It makes sense how stars and the sky would be involved. I have always wondered about “it takes more than one way to skin a cat.” I should research, and possibly not appropriate right now with the release of a beautiful book. I love the title! I love the illustration!

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    • ACK! I refuse to even google the “skin a cat” expression. I’m afraid what I’d find. RE unknown origins of phrases, I’d wondered about “dog days of summer” for years. Glad I finally looked THAT one up. Nowadays, we humans rarely look up at the sky, but in ancient days, before light pollution, people lived their lives based on the rhythms and designs of the stars. Definitely a simpler time, but in some ways, so much more beautiful.
      Thanks for the comments about my upcoming book. Molly just ‘came to me’ with her woes of losing her purr last summer, and we wrote this book together (with incredible help from the amazing illustrator). September pub date. xo

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      • I am with you Pam, on not googling “the above” expression. We head off camping a few times in the Summer and I will now think about what you said and look up at the night sky more often. Excited about your September:)

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  9. Congrats on the upcoming book:) I didn’t know where the dog days expression came from and I’m glad Molly will change that! Cute video of Charles swimming. My dogs avoid any water no matter how hot it is

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  10. Yes, I like how you managed to plug your upcoming book. My 12-lb poodle loves to explore the outside yard, sun on the porch, but if he get hot he lets me know when he wants to come in and lay on the cool tile. Tried to get him to play with ice cubes on the patio and he just stares at them.

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    • Aww, your poodle must be adorable. Funny how some dogs LOVE ice cubes (Charlie acts as if we’re offering him luscious bars of chocolate when we get out the ice cubes). But my friend’s dog literally puts his nose up if you show him an ice cube.
      I did hope that this would be a different (less invasive) way of starting a little promo for my upcoming children’s book. 🙂

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    • Gosh, I know. “Cool cat” is an old-fashioned expression but just seemed perfect for this intro to Molly. :–) And you’re absolutely right – Charlie is a ripe old age of 12 but likes to act like he’s 3. Until his legs give out. 😦 Swimming is better for him at this age, I think.

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  11. Isn’t it funny how when we look up one thing it ends up leading us to many other topics we didn’t even start with?

    My dog moved with us from Florida to the north. Funny thing, I can’t get him to stay outside in the summer. He doesn’t like the heat. But when it snows, I have to pull him by the collar to get him inside. He does not like the (star) dog days of summer. He’s a black Australian Shepherd, so the sun heats him up fast.

    Congratulations on your little star, Molly Finds Her Fur. 👏🥂

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    • I do wonder why the ancients decided it was a DOG star, and not a CAT star. Cats seem to think they’re the stars of the universe that they live in at times, don’t they? 🙂 Molly, though, is a sweetie, lonely, just desperately wanting a friend. Because, no one can purr if they don’t have a friend! ❤

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  12. Your post was right on time for me. I’ve been wondering about the “dog days of summer” — mainly because I’ve been listening to “The Dog Days Are Over,” by Florence and the Machine. So I had to look that up. According to SongFacts, it’s a “paean to the inevitability of happiness”. I like the song, but the lyrics are sometimes puzzling.

    Congratulations on A Star Is Born!

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  13. Oooh! Wonderful!
    And Zeke wants so badly to jump into my pool but there are no steps and he’s getting old and I can’t coax him so I’m buying him a kiddie pool tomorrow 😉

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    • I agree – it’s fun to find out where an expression or phrase originated. Particularly now when it’s at the tip of our fingers with Google. ;-0
      May you always be able to find your purr. xo

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    • Of course, if we were curious about all the expressions we hear that make no sense, we’d be constantly checking our computers with Google. But Dog Days — now that’s been around quite a while.
      Molly Finds Her Purr is G-rated for kids. But I think adults will understand the importance of finding their purr also. ❤

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    • I watched a segment on the TV news a few months ago that said despite all the rotten stuff they talk about during the first 28 minute of news, if they end up with a dog story, they get great reviews on the segment. Haha. We all love our pets. xo

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  14. I like the thought that the story of Molly came to you while recovering last summer from that terrible concussion. From this difficult time, a new book is about to be launched! So exciting!! … and what an interesting way to announce it 🙂

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    • Many thanks, Joanne. I knew I wanted to introduce Molly, but I’m very shy (too shy) on the promotion thing. So I wasn’t going to say anything about her. But once I began to write about Charlie and the Dog Star, well, Molly pawed her way in. 🙂 At some point I’ll write about how the concussion days of needing to heal my brain brought Molly and her rangy crew of friends to my writing pad. ❤

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  15. That is a beautiful way of cooling off Pam, and your grandchildren and granddog look to me having fun.
    You may have heard we had the hottest day on record here in the UK last Thursday at over 38C, I sure couldn’t cope with many days of heat like that though.
    As for your Purrr-fect kitty, Molly finding her purrr and star.. I bet that is a wonderful read.. I hope you are now fully healed Pam from your concussion.. And hope also you are taking time out, ( between scripts lol ) to enjoy the Dog days of Summer..
    Much love your way Pam..
    Always delightful posts you bring us.. ❤
    Sue ❤

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    • Loving the Dog Days of Summer, Sue (though I agree, your recent spate of too-hot days were just …. TOO HOT). I realized after I finished writing MOLLY FINDS HER PURR that really, don’t we all want to find what makes us purr? In Molly’s case (and I think most of us), friendship is the answer. ❤

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  16. Exciting news about your upcoming book, Pam! I’m sure it will be a star. And, I agree with you – even though I never realized it before we had Maya – dogs usually aren’t a fan of summer. We actually shaved her coat a few weeks ago and discovered she looks even more like a tiger now than ever before! Black stripes all along her body. 🙂 I’m happy it finally cooled off a bit today…

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  17. Love the title of your new book. Congratulations! I can see a blog post coming up devoted to Molly. (She is a pretty one !)
    Very true re dogs and summer. Our beloved Aussie “Mango” loved rolling and sleeping in the snow, but the summer heat with all his fur….he was not a huge fan. Dog days of summer indeed! Charlie looks very happy in the pool.

    Peta

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  18. Love it! Cats should totally have a star! Especially since they were worshipped by the ancient people of Egypt. But I understand the “dog days” for sure except they start around June 1st and last until Sept 15th here in Tejas. It hasn’t been horrible this year though and we have gotten A LOT of rain!
    Can’t wait till your new book comes out! ❤

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  19. Exciting! I love the title of the book–a cat is not a cat without her purr!!

    My dog loves summertime. She doesn’t have too heavy of a coat (English setter), but I think because she’s a hunting dog it’s natural for her to want to be outside a lot!

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