It's August. The dog days of summer. Heat indexes are rising across the northern hemisphere.
Anyone with sense is at the beach or the pool or lying on their couch in the air conditioning.
It is simply too hot to be working hard.
I've managed to give myself heat exhaustion twice this week. Both times I decided Sandy and I could get in a good walk before it got too hot outside. And both times, I was wrong
We need the exercise. We both get cranky when we don’t get a walk.
So out we go, extra early to beat the heat index.
I put on a backpack with extra water and Sandy’s collapsible bowl even though we aren't leaving our neighborhood.
I know we need to be careful in this heat.
This should all work. But it doesn't.
My dog is smarter than me.
She gets hot. She stops to rest in the shade.
My human thought process is: if we power on, we'll get home sooner and into the air conditioning. But Sandy isn’t having it.
She rests. I am left with the choice of forcibly dragging her which I don't want to do or sitting my butt down next to her and resting in the shade.
So we rest.
We share the water I brought. If she can, Sandy will lick the opening of the bottle as I pour it into her bowl. I suspect this is a bit of revenge for my not letting her sample all the bad choices she finds on our walk.
We sit in the shade, but not as long as Sandy thinks we should.
We get moving again, but not before she gives me a look. The one that says, “Okay, human we’ll do it your way. You’re wrong, but okay.”
It's not the first time I've been judged by a dog.
Sadly, the dogs are usually right.
Sandy is right of course. We power on through the heat and by the time we get home, I want to throw up.
Sandy flops down on the cool tile floor – after collecting her well-earned treat.
It takes me the rest of the morning to recuperate.
Yes, I was dumb enough to go out a second day and repeat the process. I can’t help it – I’m only human.
Finally, the lesson sank in. We have settled for short walks which satisfy neither of us. We wait for the end of these dog days. Cooler weather will come.
The wisdom of dog days is they do not last forever. Humans just need to learn this.
Dogs already know when to rest in the shade.
© Copyright Suzanne Grosser