Here we are in what they call the “Dog days of summer.” And what a summer it’s been. Constant watering to save the flowers, air conditioner runs constantly and ceiling fans are on warp speed. Where did the term “Dog Days of Summer” come from? Actually, where did a few other dog references come from?
“The Dog Days of Summer” dates back to when the folks in Greece believed the stars controlled what happened on Earth. When the Dog Star “Sirius” appeared in the night sky, they just knew its return marked the start of an unpleasant hot summer. They held the star personally responsible for the scorching heat. The Romans blamed the star for more serious stuff. They believed it caused an increase in the stray dogs to attack them and each other. In an effort to curb the dog’s attitude, they fed them chicken manure.
“Sicker than a dog” dates back to the 1700’s when dogs were not companions, but were homeless and starving. They all lived outside and scrounged for any food they could find. They contracted diseases and most died young and sick. Most of us use this phrase after a big night out on the town, when we feel sick, but don’t die.
“Hair of the Dog” originated with the medieval folks, who after being bitten by a rabid dog, administered the only cure they thought would work, putting some of the dog’s hair on the wound. I’m sure that didn’t work out too well for them. Today we use this phrase, when after a bit too much imbibing, the victim is encouraged to get up the next morning and start on a fresh round of the same alcohol to treat a hangover. That probably doesn’t work very well either.
So there’s your history lesson on dog sayings. Use it to impress others when you are out and potentially over imbibing!