dog days 5

I am NOT a summer person.  The light is too bright and direct.  The sun is too hot.  During these long stretches of 90-degree days, I stay inside feeling sorry for the crunchy brown lawn and wilted flowers.  One daily outing, however, cannot be avoided.  Both dogs go bananas when it’s time for their walk.  We climb into the car and drive to an unpopulated farm lane where they can frolic for fifteen or twenty minutes.  One has a reflective light brown coat; she could stay out all day bouncing back whatever the sun throws at her.  The other is a Lab mix whose black fur absorbs the heat.  In minutes, he’s feverish and his hide is on the verge of spontaneous combustion.  It takes him a few hours to recover from all that fun, but by the next afternoon, all is forgotten.  He is raring to go again and simply won’t take no for an answer.


A touch of heat exhaustion on a walk is
a minor sacrifice in service of a major treat,
like scorching our thighs on the vinyl seats
of Mom’s Buick on trips for ice cream

At the farm lane, he bounds out of the car
dancing with and dodging the sweltering sun
flitting in and out of the cornfield, wallowing
in the creek, flopping under a shady pine

On the ride back, he claims the armrest,
slyly elbowing toward the dashboard until
his long tongue hangs an inch from the vent
panting and gulping the refrigerated blast

He slurps long and deep at his water bowl
as if he has discovered an oasis in the desert
He withholds the last mouthful in his jowls
and dribbles it across the cool ceramic tile

to his favorite spot, where he collapses
onto his side and remains for a long time
underfoot, motionless, barely breathing
a stiff-legged silhouette waiting for

the canine police to draw a chalk line
around him and question the witnesses
He blinks back to life, shaking off his coma
long enough to relocate to the couch

Tomorrow, if I say there will be no walk,
it is far too hot for a black dog to be out,
he will whine that I am overprotective.
Don’t I know he was only playing dead?

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  1. pranabaxom August 14, 2016 / 12:47 am

    My dog Skooby goes out, lies on the hot concrete by the pool for 10 minutes or so and comes back in panting. Why he does not jump in the pool to cool down I do not know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 14, 2016 / 9:13 am

      My Lab mix pup would absolutely jump in the pool, if we had one!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu August 14, 2016 / 7:34 am

    Creeks, and corn fields, and shady pines sounds like a great place to go for a walk. I understand the enthusiasm of your dogs. Sounds fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 14, 2016 / 9:16 am

      In addition to all that nature, they love leaving “p-mail” for all their friends 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu August 14, 2016 / 9:18 am

        Ha! I love that word–“p-mail”. Good one, Joan.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Joyce Robinson August 14, 2016 / 9:23 am

    My Bebe didn’t mind the summer but she was a small dog but she hated getting her paws wet or cold. I would take her out in the resin or snow and end carrying her as she refused to walk. Loved the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 14, 2016 / 11:54 am

      Thanks, Joyce. The tan pup hates cold and snow, has a quilted LLBean coat for winter days.


  4. kutchie Kender August 14, 2016 / 11:35 am

    Excellent! You are a good dog Mom!



    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 14, 2016 / 11:55 am

      Our walk is, hands down, the best part of his day, so I try not to be too overprotective 🙂


  5. allthoughtswork August 14, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    Train them to join you at dawn when you can breath the air outside without your lungs spontaneously combusting. That’s what I do.

    *I had to add “combusting” to Google’s online Spellcheck dictionary, how sad is that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 14, 2016 / 6:16 pm

      Dawn walks would be great, but the kids are used to PM pooping. I guess retraining could be an option? Very sad about combusting, but thanks for adding it to online dictionary 🙂


  6. Elyse August 14, 2016 / 5:10 pm

    My dog, Duncan, is black, too. You can feel the hear rise off his coat.

    It’s about 100 out and I’m waiting for it to cool off a bit. Yuck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 14, 2016 / 6:12 pm

      Elyse and Duncan, we feel your pain. Try not to melt out there! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. L. T. Garvin, Author August 15, 2016 / 10:30 pm

    Dogs are hilarious! My dog never wants to miss his walk. He is a Border Collie with all that hair; doesn’t seem to phase him. Once we get home, he hits the tile like yours…I need to get the chalk out, ha ha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 16, 2016 / 1:02 pm

      Dogs have their own distinct personalities, but so much in common! I’ve slipped in his drizzled water a few times and almost had a double homicide right there on the tile.


  8. Heartafire August 17, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    This is too cute. Living in Florida and taking my dog for a walk twice daily ( believe me he knows exactly when it’s time to go) its so hot we both come home exhausted but begs to go out even if its storming

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 17, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Their internal clocks must alarm at walk time, they are amazingly accurate! Mine don’t mind rain or storms either, it just means they get Bonus Puddles to splash in. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heartafire August 17, 2016 / 3:38 pm

        🙂 they definitely have internal clocks!

        Liked by 1 person

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