///Celebrating the Dog Days of Summer with a Pup Named Drake

Celebrating the Dog Days of Summer with a Pup Named Drake

This year, the “dog days of summer” fall between July 3 and August 10. But for me, these special days began in late June when I fell madly in love with Drake, a spectacular senior who found himself in the care of North Shore Animal League America when his human went into a nursing home. He’s a big, handsome mush, and like so many others, all he needs is a second chance.

Illustration courtesy of nationalgeographic.com.
Illustration courtesy of nationalgeographic.com.

When most people hear the term “dog days,” they think of simmering summer afternoons and hot canines lazing in the shade. But as you probably know, these 39 days have nothing to do with our canine companions, but rather with the stars above, specifically Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which means “Larger Dog” in Latin. Ancient astronomers believed that this huge constellation represented Orion’s hunting dog. And if you peer into the pre-dawn sky this month…and use your imagination…you just might be able to make out this heavenly hound.

(For Howard and me, Sirius has yet another fun connotation. “Howard 100” on SiriusXM radio is Howard’s home away from home!)

For people in animal rescue, the phrase “dog days of summer” conjures yet another image, and it’s painful even to think about: dogs chained outside in the blazing heat with no shade, no water, and no shelter. This is illegal in more than 20 states, and we should all be willing to contact police or animal control officers when we see dogs suffering like this.

Summer also poses other threats to our pets. My colleagues at Animal League America have put together a fact sheet on pet safety issues for summer. I urge you to read it and share it you’re your friends, neighbors, and community. Consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about these issues and spread the word. Sometimes people are cruel, but sometimes they are ignorant and would benefit from this information.

While rescue work is often beautiful, it is also tough. Every day I learn about animals who have been neglected, have suffered, or are still suffering — dumped, abandoned, horded, bred. People move and leave their pets behind in locked apartments…or chained in the backyard. Families refuse to take or help place the beloved pets of their deceased or sick family members. Not long ago, I received 29 emails in one day about cats/dogs/ bunnies who need help. I wake up at night thinking about them.

But Drake (right), who is now safe and loved at Animal League America, is one of the lucky ones. This 5-year-old Mastiff mix (LA0723) is just plain perfect, but due to his size he often gets overlooked, which makes him a little nervous. Once he’s on leash or in our dog park he is an outgoing, easygoing, confident guy and everyone loves him. We’ve put a wonderful video about Drake in his online adoption profile with lots of background info. If you think this is the dog for you or for someone you know, please take a look.

I haven’t met these four additional adults who are also looking for homes at Animal League America, but my partners tell me they are equally wonderful in their own unique ways. Here’s some of what they say about these good dogs. Please visit animalleague.org/adopt to learn how to meet these great dogs.

Al (R167335) is a handsome Chihuahua mix who was rescued from a hoarding situation. He is nervous and it takes time for him to trust new humans. But he likes to interact with people he knows and has started to play “tag.” As a fearful dog, Al is looking for a quiet home with kids over 16. He’s calm and likes snacks, sleeping, having his back scratched, and exploring the backyard. Al can be picky when it comes to his canine friends so he would need to meet any family dogs before adoption. Will you help Al on his journey to becoming a confident, young dog? He will reward you with a lifetime of love and devotion.

Ruby (PM6108) is our super special senior Mini Aussie who was rescued in 2021 from a puppy mill. When she arrived on Long Island, Ruby was suffering from many issues related to life in a dog mill. She was under weight, had badly matted fur, and was fearful. And she also had a fractured jaw. After spending time in our Pet Health Centers, Ruby was placed in a foster home where she has been recovering beautifully and coming out of her shell more and more every day. She is now ready for a home of her own. She craves human companionship and would love a quiet home with people who were around most of the day.

Dune (PM6129) is a loveable Australian Cattle Dog/Chow mix. He can be shy at first, but soon opens up when trust is made. Recently, Dune showed off his playful side in our LaRocca Dog Park where he got to strut his stuff in some fun Halloween costumes. He had a great time, and in his adorable Batdog outfit he worked hard to make sure the park was safe from all those pesky stray balls! This good boy would do best as an only pet with an active suburban family (children over 10 years old), an experienced adopter who will enjoy continuing his training, and a fenced-in yard where he can feel safe as he explores his new surroundings. Check out his cute video on his online adoption profile.

Esme (T102425) is a loving Beagle mix who came to us from a rescue partner in Tennessee. This good girl has two favorite things in the whole wide world — her beloved handlers and squeaky tennis balls. Esme is looking for a home with an experienced adopter who can dedicate the time and patience to building that trusted bond. The ideal home for Esme would be as an only pet in a single-person home in a suburban area with a large fenced-in backyard where she can chase those squeaky tennis balls for hours. Esme is very intelligent, and with the right adopter she will be a loyal companion for many years to come.

I’ve always loved dogs, and always will. I grew up in a pet-loving family that included cats, rabbits, and a wonderful Collie mix named Suzie Dog, whom my beautiful brothers and I adored. Then there was Bianca. Howard and I loved this wonderful girl completely and were devastated when she died in 2012. Our love for her led me to intensify my rescue work and to dream Bianca’s Furry Friends Adoption Center into being. She is my muse and inspiration. I love this photo of the three of us on the red carpet.

I expect that someday I’ll have another doggy in my home, but for now I’m very happy to encourage responsible pet people to consider adopting dogs like Drake, Al, Ruby, Dune, and Esme, each deserving of love, companionship, and to be the Dog Star, like Sirius, in some lucky family’s life.

And here’s a reminder: More often than not, cats and dogs can be best buddies. In fact, for my adopters who have introduced a new kitten to a resident dog who has known or been around cats, it has it has always worked out beautifully. Two of my favorites are Marble, who was adopted as a kitten in 2018 (pictured below left with her pooch pal) and one of the divine marshmallow kittens, Coco Marshmallow, with her 70-pound Pittie brother, Hooch. If only everyone on the planet could get along this well.

And don’t forget to celebrate National Mutt Day on July 31, and the very next day, get out the paper hats and ice cream to mark DOGust 1st, introduced by Animal League America in 2014 as the universal birthday for all shelter dogs.


P.S. If you’re wondering how I met darling Drake, it was during a photo shoot for North Shore Animal League America’s 2023 Calendar. (I cannot believe we are already more than halfway through 2022!) I was thrilled to spend time with some of the most wonderful dogs and cats in the world, including a few familiar faces like my recent tuxedo nuggets and gorgeous Mama Stella Marshmallow — and all for such a great cause! Net proceeds from the sale of this calendar will support the work at NSALA for years to come. I promise to keep you posted about how to order yours as soon as details are available.

By |2022-08-11T12:44:38-04:00July 14th, 2022|