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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

August Editor’s Notes / Dogs and Dog Days


Above / Back in 2012, Karl-the-Girl-Dog was among six dogs that joined McGruff-the-Crime-Dog to introduce the dog patio at Meson Sabika. (See group photo at the bottom of this post.)

Dog Days and every day, we love dogs — our son’s dog, my brothers’ dogs, our neighbors’ dogs and our friends’ dogs.

My brother Jim’s dog.

Ever since I was three years old, canine companions have provided plenty of tail-wagging reasons to find comfort and joy. Our first family dog was a Collie my folks allowed me to name Bow, shortened from “bow wow.” During my early teen years our family had a Beagle named Cinder, followed by my brother’s Basset Hound named Lucky.

For nearly 30 years, a framed photo of our neighbor, his German Shepherd and our 3-year-old son has been sitting atop a bookshelf, reminding us of our three kids’ first relationship with a dog and our family’s first house in Chatham, NJ.

Then came life as a single adult working in New York City where I lacked the benefits of a dog’s companionship. Later married and having two young children in Manhattan, Jim and I moved to Chatham, NJ, next door to a wonderful family with a gentle German Shepherd named Zion that welcomed our love unconditionally.

The Penick’s first pup was a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix named Prairie.

Our Penick family’s first dog didn’t happen until we moved to Naperville. In 1994 we adopted a Labrador/Golden Retriever blend from a farm family in DeKalb. When our three kids noticed the playful puppy was the color of the prairie along I-88, they named her “Prairie.” Prairie was a wonderful pal for seven years.

Though she never attended any of Naperville’s annual parades, since 2011 Karl-the-Girl-Dog has been pictured on the Century Walk mural, “Naperville Loves a Parade,” in the alleyway just off Main Street in downtown. Karl’s likeness was created by Century Walk artist Dodie Mondero.

Then along came Karl-the-Girl-Dog, a priceless Papillon presented to our youngest child while he was a junior at Purdue. We pretty much adopted Karl the instant she jumped over the threshold at our front door when our son brought her home for spring break. Karl lived and barked with us until she was almost 16.

Our son’s dog.

These days, instead of another family dog, we opt to sit for our son’s shelter dog, a loveable Shih Tzu blend named Maki. And we’re looking forward to Maki’s stays the last two weekends of this month.

Now that you know the names of our dogs, perhaps you’d like to be reminded why “Dog Days” were so named in ancient Egypt. According to my trusted Ben Franklin’s Almanac, and simply put, July 3 through August 11, aka “Dog Days,” coincided with the rising at dawn of the Dog Star, Sirius. Sirius is the brightest part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog.

My mother was an avid star gazer, keen at spotting constellations and other celestial objects visible in the night sky. Yet, for some reason, other than the brightest star and the Dippers, constellations always allude me.

For years I’ve looked at images of Canis Major, featured in bright stars on dark pages in atlases and have tried to locate them on a clear night. So far, my efforts to locate the brilliant Greater Dog have been unsuccessful.

Quite frankly, it’s easier to associate Dog Days with hot and humid weather. And so it goes.

Dog days are every day in Naperville

Not long ago, a new neighbor remarked, “I’ve never seen so many people walking their dogs with so many different breeds as I’ve seen in Naperville!”

Our friend’s therapy dog.

And it’s true, we are a dog-friendly city. Dogs keep us happy. More and more, studies show that pets, especially dogs, help us keep our blood pressure down and our heart rate steady. Almost certainly, individuals who have or have had dogs are likely to live longer.

Volunteer Therapy Dog Team at Edward Hospital. (PN File Photo 2014)

Dog owners are less likely to get sick, and if they do become ill, dogs assist in their recovery. Just ask anyone with a therapy dog who volunteers to visit patients at Edward Hospital.

Further, dogs help keep you active during walks. Dogs assist in engaging our conversations with neighbors. Studies show dogs can help reduce risk of heart attack and heart disease. Dogs can help fight loneliness. Service dogs can save lives and help individuals live more independently.

Finally, focusing on the bright side either with dog stars or canine companions can be beneficial, to both our bodies and our minds.

And in the words of that famous unknown author, ” To err is human—to forgive, canine.”

Stephanie Penick, PN Publisher

As featured in this month’s Naper Nostalgia, back in 2012, the cover photo for the August publication was taken on the then-new dog patio at Meson Sabika. In 2022, Meson Sabika continues to offer dog dining during the week outdoors on the patio with reservations and 24-hours notice in advance. The City of Naperville boasts more than 50 dog-friendly patios, including trend-setting Quigley’s Irish Pub in downtown Naperville. (PN File Photo)

One last thing…PN’s annual “Dog Days” cover serves as an historical reminder that dogs are important companions every day in Naperville and to muster up news that the end of summer is celebrated with Jaycees mascot, Frank E. Fling, during the Jaycees Last Fling over Labor Day weekend, Sept 2-5.

Vacationing dog photos courtesy Photos by Jo. And remember, Centennial Beach closes for the season on Mon., Sept. 5.

Updated with Aug. 18, 2022, post about Last Fling.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.