My floppy ears perked up the first time I heard the expression “The Dog Days of Summer.” I wondered if this was a time when we dogs were to enjoy special treatment, perhaps a discount at a local pet shop? A little digging, however, revealed that this was not the case. The term refers to a period of time from July to August when Sirius, the Dog Star and the brightest star in the constellation Canus Major (Large Dog), rises with the sun. These are considered the hottest days of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the dog days brought many evils: catastrophe, war, plague, disease, lethargy and stagnation. The seas would boil and dogs would go mad. Good grief! Can someone please turn an air conditioner on!
Frankly, there are times when it is difficult for me to take humans seriously! (Or should I say “Siriusly”?) This type of propaganda makes this dog go a little mad. I urge you to disregard the ancient Greeks and Romans on this matter, and follow the advice of a modern working dog.
Celebrate the Dog Days of Summer! It is true that the intense heat can adversely affect all of us and it is important to protect your pets and all living creatures from the dangers of overheating. (See Harley’s Summer Safety Tips for Pets, below.) Yet this can also be the season to rest and refresh. Many humans take time away from the workplace for a vacation. I strongly recommend you find a shady spot with a cool breeze to take a little nap, sip a refreshing liquid, and spend some quality time with your family, friends and a trusty canine companion.
If you are a leader, let your team enjoy their much needed rest. Do not plague them with calls and emails for matters that can wait until their return to work. Whichever way you go on this, you will send a powerful message regarding your respect for their quality of life.
Coincidentally this is the middle of the calendar year. It is a good time to reflect on how you are doing with the personal and professional goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. A mid-year assessment is a positive way to measure your progress and consider whether adjustments and new goals are needed. When you return from your vacation, have this discussion with your team so you can focus on the successful completion of your goals in the remaining months of the year.
There may be catastrophes and boiling seas waiting for you when you return to the workplace. With a little rest, however, you will be recharged and ready for these challenges.
Your Best Friend,
Harley’s Summer Safety Tips for Pets
There are many hazards for pets during the hot summer months. Here are a few important safety tips. Check out the ASPCA for more information on how to protect your pet.
- Never leave a child, a disabled adult or a pet in a parked vehicle. Never! This can be fatal, even in moderate temperatures. The interior temperature of a vehicle can rise to unsafe levels in a few minutes. Is your little errand really worth the risk? For more information on this serious subject check out The National Weather Service Heat Safety site.
- Give your pooch plenty of fresh water in hot weather. A healthy dog needs about one ounce of water daily for each pound of body weight.
- Stay off the asphalt. On an 87 degree day, asphalt can reach 143 degrees, enough to cause a serious burn.
- Watch your pet for signs of distress, such as excessive panting, lethargy and disoriented behavior. Move him to a cool and well-ventilated area as soon as possible.
Don’t forget that National Dog Day is August 26. I will remind you!
 Sirius is a star in the sky, not one of the more common dog stars like Lassie, Marmaduke and Yours Truly.