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