Commentary
5:00 am
Fri July 8, 2011

Richard Crowson: The Cat Days Of Summer

When I got out of bed this morning, our dog Lucy did her usual dance of jubilation. Her front paws shot up in the air repeatedly, making a mockery of gravity, and she wiggled all over, enthusiastic at the sight of my awakening—sighing and huffing, then pouncing about and just making a general spectacle of herself.

I was reaching for my shoes, and she dearly loves the sight of a human putting on shoes. She knows it’s often a prelude to going for a walk—the most ecstatic event of her day. “Happy dog days of summer,” I said to her, as she stood panting and quivering in anticipation.

Suddenly, she froze. Through half-closed, drop-dead eyes, she shot me a cold look and said, “Yeah, right. ‘Dog days’ indeed. You humans kill me. We dogs worship the ground you walk on, and what do you do? You name the dullest, most sluggish time of the year after us. And furthermore, you kick it all off with the Fourth of July: two or three days’ worth of incessant fireworks. Scare us to death with all those bangs and pops and blasts until we cower under the bed in fright. Then you try, in your pathetically transparent human way, to make it up to us by naming this hot, wilting time of the year after us??? Get real. If you want to indulge in adolescent behavior, make the loudest noises possible, suck up gunpowder smoke, and overcompensate for your inadequacies by exploding bottle rockets and roman candles and just generally puffing yourselves up in a wide-eyed frenzy of hissing and spitting and screeching delirium, then call is what it is—the cat days of summer—and leave us dogs out of it.”

Then she turned her nose up, walked out of the room, and curled up on the cool tilework of the hall floor.

I put on my Cardinals ball cap and, suddenly, all was forgiven. That was a definite signal to her that we were about to take a walk, and she sprang to her feet, ran back to me, and nose-butted my leg. Dogs don’t hold grudges. She bounded outside with me and leapt into another day’s walk.

Happy cat days of summer to you.