“It’s August, and you know what that means. The temperature is into triple digits and shows no sign of dropping until well after Labor Day, if then. The relative humidity is beginning to do things to your hair that would challenge the most jaded Beverly Hills stylist. An airborne armada of bloodsucking insects, members of a giant species long thought extinct, has selected you as Flavor of the Month. The old homestead is becoming claustrophobic, your loved ones are looking curiously like Martians, “Seinfeld” reruns are seriously getting on your nerves, and the normally passive family pet is starting to act like a pit bull with an attitude.”  Such are the words former Bon Appetit editor William Garry used to describe DOG DAYS .

Dog Days (not for the faint of heart), are defined as the hot, sultry period between mid-July and September, a time of stagnation or lessened activity which arises because the Dog star (Sirius) rises and sets with the sun. As summer progresses my mother will usually ask, “Is it Dog Days yet?” If you have to ask, then “NO!”  Believe me, you KNOW when it’s DOG DAZE!

As an HR professional my greatest joy is in watching people use their talents, skills and abilities to pursue and ‘marinate’ in their life’s purpose. Like Dog Days, when your greatest gifts meet the world’s greatest needs, you just KNOW it.  The joy is affirmed for me daily when watching Scarlett, my black and white Springer Spaniel.  Aside from being with her family, this dog’s greatest joy is springing through the woods, exploring and hunting for the Earth’s daily offering. Springer Spaniels are bred to do that,  just as each of us has specific gifts and talents and a purpose for using them.

On  walks with Scarlett I often wonder what it would be like if everyone would connect with the world and the things they love, doing what they were born to do just as Scarlett does. We are meant to, you know.  Granted, dogs don’t have a lot of responsibility. Scarlett “sort of” protects our family, provides us with great delight and fodder for stories and is an incredibly comforting companion.  Her deepest desire is to be loved and her stresses only surface when she’s hungry, when we sternly call her name, when she’s challenged by a rival or when something is invading her turf. But aren’t we like that too?

So perhaps Dog Days is a good time to reflect on the lessons we can learn from our beloved canines. Or, as Edward Hoagland once said, “In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.”

~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~

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