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Chapter 09

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I am sure this piece of news comes as no surprise to anyone. It’s HOT! Record-breaking temperatures are occurring all over the world. Airport runways in London are literally melting and the heat is causing water pipes to burst in Texas. It’s safe to say the Dog Days of Summer are officially upon us and they aren’t some cute t-cup Chihuahua. The Dog Days of 2022 are more akin to the Hound of the Baskervilles.

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According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of Summer are from July 3rd to August 11th because they are typically the hottest days of the year. My Chesapeake Bay Retriever Gabe, does not like the heat. He has a thick, curly double coat designed for swimming comfortably in the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland. In the muggy stickiness of the foothills of North Carolina, Gabe would be miserable if he did not have ways to cool off.
Since Gabe is a duck retrieving dog, he is naturally the most comfortable in the water. He loves to spend time in his kiddie pool to beat the heat. When he was younger, Gabe used to jump in the ducks’ pool, so we eventually got him one of his own.
Another way Gabe likes to cool off is to come inside the house and enjoy the air conditioning. He is an outside dog and he loves the freedom that comes with having 52 areas to roam, but he still enjoys coming inside at least once a day to visit. Gabe runs straight to my bedroom, jumps on my bed and chooses one of his favorite toys to chew on from the shelf, usually a stuffed Lambchop or Eeyore. Over the last few weeks, Gabe has chewed Eeyore’s ear off. Whether in the Winnie the Pooh books, movies or in real life, that poor donkey cannot catch a break.
When Gabe is on my bed, he has little regard for my personal space. He insists on laying down as close to me as possible and a double bed has barely enough room for me and a half-grown 70 pound puppy. Most of the time, Gabe winds up laying on top of me. He’s cool, but I’m hot. The things we do for our pets.
Like the rest of us, Gabe also enjoys a cool treat on a hot day. While Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats will always be his favorite, he also enjoys eating cherry and grape popsicles while sitting under the shade trees in our yard. He knows when we fire up the grill for the Summertime tradition of hotdogs and hamburgers, but sometimes Gabe’s nose gets him in trouble. He has stolen and eaten an entire pack of buns and nearly a hamburger right off the plate when we were not paying attention. He did not get any Good Girl dog treats for a while after that for two reasons: He was full and he had been a BAD boy. Hey, Gabe can’t be perfect all the time.
As much as I am ready for the weather to cool off, I have come to realize that cooler temperatures will not bring an end to the Dog Days. Every day with Gabe is a “Dog Day”. Owning a dog is a long-term commitment and raising a Chesapeake Bay presents its own sets of challenges and rewards. Most Chessie owners say that the “puppy stage” for the breed lasts about three years, but if you can get through that, you will have the best dog in the world. I agree. Being Gabe’s human is sometimes a challenge, but we get through each one with love, positive reinforcement and plenty of Arin’s Good Girl Dog treats. I would not trade these “Dog Days” with Gabe for anything.