Dog Days of Summer

Where does the term “Dog days of summer” come from? Ages ago when the constellations were named by Europeans, the ‘dog star’ Sirius rose and set with the sun in the summertime. It’s the brightest star of the Canis Major constellation and was believed by ancient Romans to help turn up the heat here on earth when Sirius rose in conjunction with the sun.


The official dog days period (20 days before and 20 days after Sirius’s conjunction with the sun) is July 3rd through August 11th. To read more about the origination of the term ‘dog days of summer,’ click here.

On Friday, July 22, the mercury in Newark, NJ reached a record-breaking 108 degrees. I just heard on the Weather Channel that Abilene, TX is on their 47th day of triple-digit temperatures, and the forecast predicts temps of over 100 the rest of the week. Yikes!

Are you one of those rare people who love the heat? Or are you like me? I turn into a zombie. My brain feels so fried, I can barely put a thought together, let alone compose a sentence.


How’s a writer supposed to write during the dog days of summer?
I think I’ll grab an ice tea and write a poem. Maybe something about popsicles and ponytails. . .

What are you doing to beat the heat?

“Heat, ma’am! It was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”  Sydney Smith
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27 Responses to Dog Days of Summer

  1. journalpulp says:

    Poems about popsicles and ponytails! My dear Ms. LynNerd, that's an epic idea.I'm drinking scalding coffee by the quart and lapping honey from the sharpened blade. I admit, it doesn't really cool me off during these canicular afternoons, but it keeps me preoccupied.

  2. LynNerd says:

    journalpulp – Scalding coffee, yikes! Actually, I heard that drinking hot drinks in the summer is supposed to help us cool off, but I'm just not buying that. Now, the honey sounds yummy. "Canicular afternoons," I like that!

  3. Amy says:

    Hey Mom,I love how you put a picture of Marty and then another one of Shadow, Maverick and Dude. This has been a hot summer. Just be glad its more of a dry heat where you live compared to mine, which is more of a humid heat.Love Amy

  4. Amy says:

    P.S. Love the Zombie picture!! ahahha you look hot Mom ahahahah j/k.

  5. L.G.Smith says:

    We've been lucky to avoid the triple digits here in Colorado. It's been in the high nineties, though, and that's too hot for me. We have the luxury of heading to the mountains when it gets unbearable. It can be twenty degrees cooler up there. There's even snow to cool off by if you go high enough. 🙂

  6. The temperature was up into the 100s a couple days ago . . . thankfully it's passed, and it was even raining earlier. I don't like heat–in some ways I like winter better than summer. 😛

  7. I always wondered why it was called "the dog days of summer." Now I know! :-)I'm like you – can't STAND the heat. I wonder if I have the seasonal affective disorder, only for the summertime. Sure feels like it sometimes!

  8. Talei says:

    Oh, I could do with a little more heat here. 😉 It would be hard without air-con but think I could cope… lots of margaritas in the garden whilst writing?

  9. LynNerd says:

    Amy – I appreciate the dry heat, believe me. Glad you think I'm hot. I look like I'm about to melt, eh?L.G. – Colorado is beautiful. Glad you're enjoying nice weather.Golden Eagle – Glad your heat wave passed. Rain is always good, just not too much at once. My favorite season is spring. Melissa – I didn't know why it was called the dog days of summer either until I Googled it. Learn something new everyday, huh? Seasonal affective disorder for summer! Haha, why not?Talei – Get those margaritas ready. I'm going to send you a jar of Calif. desert heat to warm things up. It will only last for a couple hours, so enjoy!

  10. Jess says:

    I'm just glad I live in Colorado instead of Texas. I lasted 6 months in Texas before moving back to somewhere non-humid. I definitely get melty-brain in excessive heat.

  11. HE HE. In the first pic the dog is orange, and in the last pic the woman looks like she's about to be eaten by one as she melts in the sun :o)

  12. Misha says:

    That's so interesting. I'm still in the winter. But generally I spend summer chilling in an air conditioned room, trying to read or write. 😀

  13. Its been surprisingly cool in Southern California as temps are below normal. No complaints here as we know they will spike sometime soon and so will the humidity.

  14. I suppose if you worked on a piece concerning a desert crossing you would have a lot of sweaty details to add to the descriptive portions.Then … spend a winter in an outside job that include nights here in Norway to contrast the heat with the freezing cold.I sort of prefer my old California heat to the winter cold. Watching your drink begin to freeze when the frost qside of your cup is an experience.

  15. Come out here to Seattle. We've officially had 1-1/2 days of summer so far(days when the temp reaches over 80.) I try not complain, especially when I read about 90% of the country sweltering under miserable conditions. Still, a warm sunny day would be nice for a change.

  16. Yikes! That's hot. I head to the ocean for the day. We eat dinner at the lake at night. And sleep with homemade air conditioning – fans and wet washcloths! Hope you get through it.

  17. I love the heat…but once it gets over 100 I start to wilt. But 90-96 is great!

  18. Haley says:

    Lynn, Don't know if I ever told you but I love your website.I enjoyed this post–especially since it was once of the hottest days here. I'm beating the heat by staying inside and writing!

  19. I hate the heat! Okay, it's the heat-humidity combination. I could handle 100 degrees in Albuquerque, but in NC, it's miserable.

  20. That was fascinating to learn about the origin of "dog days". It gets hot here in Sacramento every July and August. We haven't found any magic answers yet for keeping cool. And no, I don't understand people who love the heat. Give me 78degrees F, and I'll be happy.

  21. LynNerd says:

    Jess – Yep, I feel so bad for those people in TX with such a long, miserable heat wave. I love your term, "melty brain"!D.U. – LOL!Misha – Yes, thank God for AC! I don't know how people managed before it was invented!Stephen – Looks like the temps have spiked again in SoCal. You were right!Royce – Brrr! Freezing cold weather can be just as awful. I can't handle either extreme very well. Yep, I'm a wuss.Nancy – I have a relative in Santa Maria, CA, and they don't get many warm days either. She tries not to complain, but just like you, she yearns for some warmer weather, just not too warm. I'll mail you some sunny rays to warm your day!Laura – The ocean is the perfect place to beat the heat. And dinner by the lake, ah, that sounds so nice. Fans and wet washcloths are helpful. I keep a spray bottle on the nightstand!Sharon – That's amazing that you're okay with weather in the 90s! I think it's great that the heat doesn't bother you.Haley – Oh, thanks for the compliment! And that's wonderful that you're taking advantage of the heat to stay indoors and get lots of writing done. Yay, Haley!Diane – I agree that the humid heat makes things so much worse. But 100 even in the dry heat is too much for me. I'm definitely a weather wimp!Elizabeth – Hello! Thanks for visiting and following my blog. I'm with you, 78 degrees is perfect! Yep, yep, yep!

  22. Hey Lynn, it's not that hot here in the AZ mountains. We're in monsoon season so we get a lot of thunderstorms to keep things kinda cool. It is humid, but not bad.I had always wondered what the dog days of summer meant. Thanks

  23. Talli Roland says:

    Yikes! That does sound hot. Luckily I live in London, where it's considered a heat wave if the temperature goves above 25 C!

  24. I've learned something new today thanks to you, Lynn: "dog days of summer"! I hadn't heard it before as there's not such an term in Turkish… It's really very hot here, too. Nearly 36-37 centigrade degrees in the shade. I dislike heat just like you. What can I do? I'm trying to refresh by using an air-condition:)

  25. cleemckenzie says:

    You've outdone your usual nutty, wild, wonderful self this time, Lyn. Thanks for the fun.

  26. LynNerd says:

    Stephanie – Glad you're not sweltering in AZ. Yes, I thought it was interesting when I looked up dog days of summer. I never knew that either.Munir – Hope you're staying cool!Talli – London is colder than I thought it was. Brrr!Sihirli – I guess the different cultures gave the constellations different names. The dogs days of summer comes from the European names. I learned that when I read about where dogs days of summer came from. It's all very interesting!Thank you, Lee!

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