According to Merriam-Webster, the dog days of summer begin in early July and end in early September. Early September 2020 has risen to the definition with several river-dipping 90-degree days in a row. It’s not really about dogs, per se, but about the Dog Star, also called Sirius, which rises simultaneously with the sun during the hottest days of summer; hence, dog days. We still can imagine dogs panting in the shade, though.
Here in the Methow, as everywhere it seems, people love their dogs. No wonder a dog is called man’s best friend. I’d have a dog if I had the bandwidth to take care of one. My first childhood dog was a black Lab named Shadow. He bit the mailman and that was the end of Shadow. Another dog didn’t come along until high school when I begged and pleaded for a Sheltie, a miniature collie. Priscilla aka Prissy joined the family and, when I left home at 18, became my father’s sidekick for many more years. Only one other canine graced my life, a golden retriever named Roscoe. But for the digging and chewing, Roscoe was the happiest, most pleasant companion — always a big silly grin on his face.
When we meet folks with dogs on the trails while riding our horses, I’ve noticed that the owners are always eager to engage in stories of their dogs in the passing conversation, especially the dog’s relationship or lack thereof with horses. I spoke to one jogger with a dog on a leash about what a hot (“dog”) day it was for running. She commented that the dog had on a cooling vest and they were almost done with the run. I was thinking she might be hot, but the dog, too!
I’ve commiserated with the Carlton folk who have been trying to find their female chocolate Lab that went missing Aug. 21 near Gold Creek Loop. Posters, radio and newspaper ads, and highway signs are asking for help in finding Rickie. Let’s hope this family friend finds her way home.
No dog days column would be complete without three incredible stories about Dosewallips, (Dosey for short) our friends’ German Shorthair Pointer.
Dosey tale No. 1: On a chilly winter’s day, curious Dosey ran out onto a frozen lake — too far. The ice gave way and there she was helpless in the freezing cold water with just her front legs holding onto the ice for dear life. Frantically watching her dog fight for stable ground, Michelle checked the strength of the ice near the edge. A passerby commented, “I wouldn’t do that, if I were you.”
Determined not to watch her dog fall away into the frigid lake, Michelle, who is small in stature and light in weight, laid down on the ice and angel-winged herself inch-by-inch to the pooch, grabbed him from sure death, and angel-winged herself and shivering companion back to the shore. Dosey survived.
Dosey tale No. 2: Somehow rambunctious Dosey impaled herself on a sharp branch while on a trail run. The object had obviously punctured an artery, so pulling it out was not an option. Taking off her top, Michelle wrapped the bleeding leg with a tourniquet and hightailed it to the vet, carrying the dog that was struggling with her all the way.
Once at the vet’s, Dosey gave another swift kick with her hind legs, caught her paw in Michelle’s pants and with another kick, dropped the pants off her very embarrassed (and hand-tied) owner. There she stood in the clinic waiting area in her sports bra, covered in blood, and now mooning the other pet owners who had to have had their jaws drop to their knees with the sight. Dosey survived.
Dosey tale No. 3: She is an extremely fast runner and usually takes a wide berth when meeting any other trail runners, especially those with dogs. On one summer day, a couple of other dogs were into a tiff on the trail. Michelle was working her way to avoid the situation when Dosey came careening from behind and hit her in the back of the knees, knocking her to the ground.
The other runners asked Michelle if she needed help, but assessing the situation, she declined and gathered herself to walk home. Next morning, she couldn’t stand up. Her leg was fractured. Her husband says, “Michelle is the toughest cookie I know!” Really? Of course, Dosey survived. And they say cats have nine lives!
On another note — if you have a special event you’d like to share with nine others in your bubble (pod, cohort), think about reserving a matinee or evening spot at The Barnyard Cinema to watch a movie of your choice. It’s a special way to help the theater survive the pandemic and have a great time.
Lastly, Bill Karro from Winthrop wrote of his mother — another Lost River Bess. She and her husband Bill moved to a property just past the Mazama Store in the early 1970s. Many years later, she opened Lost River Bess’s Bed & Breakfast. Bill says his mom was Bessie to everyone she met and nobody left her house without a smile, a cookie, or one of her famous chocolate cherry bars, and a hot beverage. Thank you for sharing!
Check out Trail’s End Bookstore current lovely window display supporting local authors.