“The dog days of summer” is a phrase that, like so many in the English language, gets thrown around with confidence even though few speakers know what they mean. Most gather it has something to do with dogs, and with it being hot out. Images of dogs panting in the heat spring to mind, or of days so warm dogs go a little crazy. (Although here at UNP, our dogs are a little crazy regardless of temperature.)
Rather than affecting actual dogs, the “dog” in “dog days of summer” refers to Sirius, the dog star. In Classical Greece and Rome, the “dog days” referred to the time, roughly mid July through August, when Sirius appeared before sunrise. This was a time of intense heat, and in literature, war, and sickness.
Whatever the original meaning, one thing is clear: it’s hot out. What better reason to stay in the shade with a nice book?
Spend Your Summer with Good Dogs and Great Stories
B. J. Hollars, From the Mouths of Dogs
You can always teach an old dog new tricks, and every dog can teach us what it means to be human.
Grant Hayter-Menzies, From Stray Dog to WWI Hero
A sturdy soldier and solid friend, Rags’ story will melt your heart.
Michael Lemish, War Dogs
Since Rags in World War I, there have been many other canine compatriots in various wars. Lemish’s retelling of their stories, along with rarely-seen photographs, show the bond between man and dog.
Paul A. Johnsguard, Prairie Dog Empire
Although these “dogs” are not actual canines, this book tells the complex biological and environmental story of the western Great Plains under the prairie dog’s reign and under a brief but devastating century of human dominion.
John E. Carter, Solomon D. Butcher
See if you can spot the two-headed dog in this photo collection—an illusion stemming from an old-fashioned camera.