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Dog Days of Summer

Kate Berube

When you think of the Dog Days of Summer, you most typically envision stifling weeks so punishingly hot that even the dogs cry mercy… but as it would happen, that’s not what the phrase refers to at all. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans once believed that the sudden appearance of Sirius, a binary star in the Canis Majoris constellation, alongside the Sun in the daytime sky during late July, was behind the long scorching days. It was thought the additional heat from the heliacal rising of the Dog Star (Sirius) resulted in the endless daylight and oppressive weather of summer.

They called this time of year diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days” and it was considered a forbearing of ominous fortunes and disaster. Though we now know it’s the tilt of the earth that accounts for our temporary beach bum lifestyle, the wording has stuck in our collective conscience. The dog days of summer stretch 20 days before and after the alignment of Sirius with the Sun and end with the mid-August return of the Dog Star to the night sky, but in the meantime, we say… let the Dog Days reign!

Thank you to all our readers who shared pictures of their pups living their best Dog Days of Summer! 


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