Dogs of Summer

028_25A-448x300I’m the proud papa of two giant breed dogs.  It used to be three, but one of our amazing quartet passed of old age several months ago.

Ozzie is part black Lab and part Newfoundland.  For the uninformed, a Newfoundland is like a black St. Bernard.  Personally, I believe his papa was a Rocky Mountain black bear, but that’s only because I’ve lived with him since being weaned from his mama, who was a petite black Lab named Mia.  His behaviors are very bear-like, including the fact that he uses local trees to scratch his back with.  I haven’t yet tested the theory that he might like fresh honey.  He does, however, have a highly developed sense of curiosity and has been known to raid playhouses and tents in our neighborhood, especially if he thinks there might be food involved.

Yaz is a Great Dane/Weimeraner mix.  We call her Yaz the Spaz because, well, she’s a spaz.  She looks more like a oversized Lab than anything else, and is fiercely loyal to her pack.  She does obsess over squirrels and cats, though, which is always a joy when she’s on leash and suddenly decides she needs to climb a nearby tree to rid the world of yet another evil squirrel.

They’re both primarily black-furred pups, Ozzie medium haired, and Yaz short haired.  Both detest summer as much as I do.  Well, maybe not ALL of summer — especially not the parts when we travel to the lake — but, like me, they detest the heat.  And I dislike having to walk them in weather that pushes 100 degrees this time of year.  That black fur attracts heat so that some days, I can’t even lay my hand on their backs for fear of burning myself.  I understand that the way their fur and bodies are constructed, the fur acts as an insulator against the direct harmful rays of the sun, and Ozzie’s multi-layer coat also helps keep him cool, but their tongues practically drag on the sidewalk, they’re so miserable.  We try to get as many outdoor 4339_120538736928_762881928_2733685_6400730_nactivities taken care of before the sun comes up, but that’s not always possible, especially after I get home from work.  We’re early risers, so it’s pretty difficult to wait until after sundown.  Still, they seem pretty happy.  They lounge around a lot more, and I’m always sure to add ice cubes to their water bowl in the morning before I depart, and leave a room fan on so they get some relief.

Sometimes, though, just hearing their continual panting makes me feel hotter than I already did.  And don’t try to love on them when it’s hot!  They’re very particular in the summer about anyone touching them.  They seem to prefer being left alone, to the point where both of them have commandeered individual rooms in the house as their own for sleeping or lounging.  Ozzie’s room is the bathroom, where the tiled floor and ceramic tub make for good cooling features.  Yaz has chosen the second bedroom, as that one has a convenient window for her to be able to detect neighborhood cats and squirrels from, in the event they try to mob the house or something.

That leaves me with my study, which is fine, because that’s where the a/c runs in the late afternoons.  They’ve begun to figure out that the room papa is in seems much cooler than the rest of the house, and they’ll migrate for short periods of time before retreating to their own spaces.

In that way, they’re a lot like me.  I prefer to be left alone when it’s blistering hot outside.  Conversation and interaction seems to be far too much activity for me.  I prefer to read or listen to music…anything to distract from the heat of the day.