Congratulations to the Brick (NJ) Township Council. Last week they unanimously voted to ban any new retail businesses that sell puppies or dogs. Stay put for a new post on that decision, an interview with Sunny Benedict of the fabulous Baja Animal Sanctuary and a word from Pet Photographer, Joe Frazz, who will be assisting with the exciting Paws to Pose Project to celebrate National Dog Week this September…https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974
Today the East Coast is experiencing a welcome cool-down after enduring four heatwaves since the beginning of the summer season. Personal circumstances have kept me from writing and blogging, so I thought I would present this extra guest-post that did not appear on my recent Virtual Blog Tour for SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND, still a bestseller in the Kindle Store in “Dogs.” (See ABOUT for Amazon Link).
The east coast has been experiencing the Dog Days and right on time I am told, as they generally begin in early July. Although the Greeks used the term, “Dog Days,” the Romans referred to them as diēs caniculārēs, (days of the dog) occurring during the hottest weather of the season andassociated with the star called Sirius also known as the “Dog Star,” the brightest star in the night sky.
While every dog is said to have its day, this wasn’t true for all dogs of ancient Rome. While we might think the Romans honored their dogs during this time, such was not the case. To appease the rage of Sirius, it has been noted that the Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days as they mistakenly believed the star caused the hot spell of weather.
And it only gets worse as the Dog Days were also considered a period of evil. According to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813, these days marked a time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.”
As a writer living along the coast of New Jersey, the Dog Days mean many things to me. While I may be languid at times, I am not hysterical and my sea does not boil (unless the cast of Jersey Shore is going for a swim), and my wine is fine. For me, this is a time when I enjoy scribbling notes on a hammock or typing away in my air-cooled studio during those extra-long carefree days.
As is often the case, at those times I am writing about what I call the Dog Daze, for we Americans are crazy for our canines and all the books and stories that are published about them. What strikes me, however, is no matter how many movies or tv shows are produced or books and magazine articles written about them, many of them still live what is often called a Dog’s Life (which was not a good thing).
In what is comparable to my observation of the human condition, I often note some dogs that have better clothes and accessories or see a doctor or visit a salon more often than most people. But, conversely, I also see dogs that are sad, lonely, neglected and abused, much like their struggling human counterparts. Because a dog’s quality of life is so connected to the life situation of its human guardian, the two cannot be separated.
In writing the short story collection, SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND, I tried to express this. Of all the stories, the one I enjoyed writing the most is the longest, The House of the Happy Dog. This selection was inspired by two rather ordinary “events” in my life. First, someone told me that on average, a dog lives in four different homes in its lifetime. This was something I wanted to write about, but it wasn’t until I saw a photo of an inn located in Mexico called, “La Casa del Feliz Perro,” that it all came together. I loved the words, “House of the Happy Dog,” and the image they evoked.
In my story, Poor Simon the dog, is shuttled from house to house through no fault of his own, his fate (for better or worse) tied to that of his most current owner. Many humans can relate to an animal that is adored then ignored, lovingly regarded then discarded, or in homes where good intentions and love just aren’t enough to keep everyone together. The reader follows the life path of this big sweet dog, just doing what dogs do best, being there for their humans through good times and bad.
It’s no wonder we love our dogs, we can see so much of our own lives through the reflection of their eyes…and their souls.
As I work on my book that brought me to the dogs (The biography of the man who founded National Dog Week due out next year) I grow weary of seeing the faces of dogs and cats who face a sad fate that no one want to think about. But I keep writing, sharing the stories of those who have FOUND purpose and meaning through trying to help them; a personal commitment that won’t be LOST despite the continued ignorance of those who do not see.