Rix Quinn’s Minute Story: Dog days

sleeping dog

I’ve always wondered why they call this month “the Dog Days of August.” Frankly, that puzzle hounded me.

Finally, after barking up several wrong trees, I sniffed out an answer.

Long, long ago (before “reality” television), ancient astronomers named a star “Sirius.” They called it the Dog Star because it was part of the constellation Canis Major (the greater dog).

Sirius usually rose during July, and burned brightest during steamy late August days, when everyone sweats more than an ice cube on a radiator.

Since Sirius is the brightest star one sees with the naked eye (or even the eye wearing clothes), folks assumed two glaring suns made things twice as hot. So “dog days” referred to the most miserable summer hours.

Do canines celebrate during this period? My dog mostly sleeps.

But when it comes to party animals,  I hear that few mammals can match the deer. These guys show up with lots of bucks, bring their own horns, and stage some wild stag parties.

Yes, you can give me a home where the buffalo roam. But don’t let the deer and antelope play there.

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Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.

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