Is it hot enough for you? This period, from July 3 to August 11, is traditionally the hottest time of the year (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and is commonly known as the “Dog Days of Summer.” According to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813, this was thought to be an evil time “when the sea boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid . . .” If you can imagine life without air conditioning, some of these conditions would still prevail today!

How did this term originate? Well, in ancient times the star Sirius (also known as the Dog Star) was thought to be the cause of the hot, humid weather because in the summertime the star rose around the same time that the sun did. Their solution was to sacrifice a brown dog, hoping it would “appease the rage of Sirius” (from Chase’s Calendar of Events, 2008).

Fortunately, we longer sacrifice dogs or blame them for the hot weather. In fact, lots of folks really do love their dogs. If you’re looking for a good dog book this summer try one of these:

Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm by John Katz

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan

James Herriot’s Dog Stories by James Herriot

Cesar’s Way: the Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier