You've likely heard the phrase "Dog Days of Summer", but do you know what it means? Despite the image the phrase conjures, it actually has nothing to do with dogs lying around in the heat.
The popular phrase originated in ancient Greece, when the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, known as "dog star", in the constellation Canis Major, Latin for "the greater dog" was visible during what was then a time of heat, drought, thunderstorms, lethargy and fever and is now the hottest time of the year for the Northern Hemisphere.
Ancient Romans called the dog days dies caniculārēs and celebrated the radial setting of Sirius by sacrificing a dog, incense, wine and a sheep to the goddess Robigo so that the star's power would not damage their crops.
Thankfully, these days, we take a different approach. As uncomfortable as the heat can be in the sunny south, we celebrate the dismissal of winter with spring and summer landscaping, barbeques, swimming, and enjoying outdoor activities, often with our dogs.
This season the SPCA Albrecht Center is celebrating the dog days with Yappy Hours and summer Dog Washes. Make plans to celebrate your own dogs by joining us for these activities all summer long. I promise there will be no sacrifices, unless your dog views a bath that way, and there will be plenty of wine at Yappy Hour.
On Wednesday, June 7th, from 6pm until 8pm, our dog park will be open to the public for Yappy Hour. Bring your friends and/or your leashed, well-behaved dog out to enjoy the park and pool while you enjoy an adult beverage and some jazzy summer tunes by Chris Ndeti . Admission is free. We will have a cash bar and BBQ sandwich plates for $8 while they last.
Yappy Hours will continue every first Wednesday of the month through September. July 5th we will welcome Rick Scott and friends to the patio stage. August 2nd brings a new face to the patio, Aiken singer/songwriter Slayton Johnson and his laid back tunes. The popular jazz quartet of "4 Cats in the Doghouse" will join us for our last Yappy Hour of the season on September 6th.
On the second Saturdays through September, join us at the SPCA for summer time Dog Washes. The washes begin at 10am and conclude at 2pm. There is no better way for your dogs to escape those “dog days of summer” than with a cooling bath. SPCA volunteers will happily lather, rinse and towel dry until your pup is squeaky clean and smelling fresh. Ear cleaning and nail trims are also available. Prices vary according to weight, but start at just $20 and 100% of the proceeds are used to help the homeless pets in our shelter.
And as the hot weather winds down, we will bring back Barkaritaville on October 21st from 5pm – 8pm. Go ahead and put it on your calendar. If you were here last year, you know you don’t want to miss that party!
Incidentally, the ancient Egyptians used the rising of the star Sirius as a sort of Ground Hog Day for the weather. “Dog Days bright and clear indicate a happy year”. All of us at the SPCA Albrecht Center are expecting a happy, yappy summer and hope you and your dog will join us. Don’t sacrifice your summer for your dog, and certainly not your dog for summer. Celebrate both! Call us for details at 803-648-6863, look for details online at LetLoveLive.org or follow us on Facebook for updates and reminders at Facebook.com/spcaalbrechtcenter.
Sarah Neikam is the Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her family which includes three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady, who are all living happy, loved lives thanks to the efforts of the SPCA.