Skip to main content

The Dog Days of August

The phrase “dog days” refers to the sultry days of summer and in the Northern Hemisphere the “dog days” are generally in the months of July and August. I grew up in Texas and in the summer it was hot…really hot. I knew the phrase “dog days” early and thought it was created by the same folks who brought us the Alamo and the Texas Two Step. It is a phrase, however, that goes back to the Roman Empire. The Romans called the dog days “Dies Caniculares.” They associated the hot weather with the star Sirius which is commonly called the “Dog Star” because it is in the constellation Canis Major (large dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. Who knew?

Me, with Mickey and Minnie
Me, with Mickey and Minnie
This summer, I spent some of my “dog days” at the Chesapeake with the family of our beloved Great Dane Sarge who died this past year. Here I am celebrating “dog days” with Sarge’s siblings Mickey (Mantle, a perfect harlequin) and Minnie (Me, who looks just like her mother, a perfect show dog).

The Dogs of Our Lives 

 

I have always been a “dog person,” as is my wife, Wylene; this trait is one of our bonds as soul mates. When I was five, after begging my parents, I got a five-year-old blonde cocker spaniel named Blondie, named after the comic strip. Blondie slept at the foot of my bed and died a very old lady at 16, a week before I left for college.

After I received my doctorate and became the Dean of Students at Houston Community College, we bought a registered Scottie whose AKC name was “Sugar Candy.” Although she had a pedigree, I always said she was a pig in dog’s clothing, as she would eat anything that hit the floor and spent her days in a hole she dug in the garden. She had the good life, however, and lived to be 16.

Wylene brought a beautiful fawn Great Dane named Cara, a very well behaved animal who actually did dog Wylene every step she took. Cara was then joined by a half lab/half shepherd mutt who was left as a puppy on the road we lived on in New Jersey. Our youngest two children, Caleb and Toni, quickly agreed on the name Jordan, as they were both big Chicago Bulls fans. Jordan became my BFF, always agreed with me and was always happy to see me. Jordan was with us for 17 years. Jordan shared many of these years with another Great Dane, Chelsea, a brindle, whom we got from a Great Dane rescue in Maryland. She was a beautiful animal, but shy and reserved. When she died, our vet said she had never seen a 12-year old Great Dane. Our dogs are all well cared for. In fact, I always say I want to be Wylene’s dog in my next life, the best gig going.

Jordan
Jordan
Chelsea
Chelsea

Our next dog was Sarge, AKC: Sergeant Pepper, who was the sweetest and most gentle dog; great with our grandchildren. He got cancer, however, and left us after seven years. When we got Sarge, we decided he needed a playmate, so we purchased a beautiful Chestnut Boxer named Girlfriend. She has now been with us seven years, and while she was sad when Sarge died, she now seems very happy as an only child. She doesn’t have to share our bed with anyone.

Girlfriend and Sarge
Girlfriend (L) and Sarge (R)

While it was not my intention, I think I have created what is commonly called a Shaggy Dog Story, which is defined as “an extremely long-winded anecdote, characterized by extensive narration of typically irrelevant incidents and terminated by an anti-climax or pointless punch line.” I think my essay qualifies.

But what may be more important is to share with you the pictures below; the perfect antidote for a hot dog day.

picture with RCC mascot Rocky

ice bucket challenge

after ice bucket challenge

Taking the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.” Go to ALS.org and make a donation to help find a cure.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tribute to Trustee Richard E. Voigt

Richard E. Voigt Memorial July 13, 2018
​Remarks by President Emeritus Cliff L. Wood I love/loved Dick Voigt and was honored when his beloved Elisabeth asked me to speak this morning.  Elisabeth, you know you were the love of his life and that he adored you, “his great beauty.”  That’s a sentiment shared by many of us—you are beautiful in every way.    I remember Dick telling me when he knew he loved you.  He had returned to Germany to visit you in your hometown and you were together at a bar.  He looked over and there you were, elegant and sophisticated, leaning against a grand piano, another love of his.
I first met Dick in 2005 shortly after I came to RCC and when Dick was appointed Trustee, a position he held at the time of his passing.  A few days after Dick’s appointment, he called and invited me to lunch before I had a chance to call him.  I was impressed by his warmth and generosity of spirit, and my feelings have never changed.  Dick told me that as a Trustee, his job was to supp…

Goals and Gold

My goal when I came to RCC in May of 2004 was to create a student-centered environment that put students and their learning and success at the center of the institution. I knew that for that to happen, there had to be transformation and change. And, since teaching and learning are the primary mission of the College, I knew that first we had to look at how we teach and how our students learn. Early in my tenure, I established the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), and now, after more than ten years, CETL has thrived, and each year it has provided an array of programs to help and encourage our faculty.

In addition to CETL, over the last several years, the State University of New York (SUNY) has charged its community colleges with looking at how they teach, especially in the areas of English and math, and to re-think remediation. RCC has emerged as a leader in both of these areas, and SUNY cites RCC as a model for its new math program called QUANTWAY and our developme…

A Special Holiday Gift from the Riversville Foundation

On Tuesday, December 6, RCC and BOCES administrators gathered for a luncheon with this year's student recipients of the Riversville Foundation scholarship awards. The Riversville Foundation was founded in 2006 by Barton Biggs, a former partner at Morgan Stanley and founder of Traxis Partners, a hedge-fund based in Greenwich, CT.  Biggs, who died in 2012, believed in the power of education, and particularly the importance of a college degree. While Riversville has primarily worked with four-year institutions, beginning in 2014, the Riversville Foundation began a collaboration with Rockland Community College. This year, full one-year scholarships were awarded to 21 RCC students, a commitment of more than $95,000.

Under the direction of the Riversville Foundation's Executive Director, Bruno Casolari, a former Director of Resource Development at RCC, the Foundation has awarded more than $135,000 in need-based scholarships to more than 25 Rockland Community College stud…