Jacky Dawson's Two Paws Up

The Dog Days of Summer may *technically* be over, but we Texans know it's still plenty hot out there. Here, our part-time shop dog Jacky Dawson shares her thoughts on this summertime phenomenon—plus some of her top reading picks for you (about dogs, of course)!

Well, Hoomans, we need to talk about the Dog Days of Summer. Anyone who tells you the Dog Days are because dogs laze around in the heat are mistaken. I do not laze. I observe. I patrol. I occasionally borrow Mom’s computer when she’s not looking, especially when she babysits other dogs in my house (ahem). You might be interested to know the term “dog days” originally comes from the ancient Romans, who observed that the Sun’s position in the sky is in the region of Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius itself is part of the Greater Dog constellation (please note the importance of dogs to the Universe). This stellar period happens to coincide with the hottest days in the Northern Hemisphere, so I understand your confusion. Please feel free to celebrate the Dog Days by providing refreshing treats and soothing tummy rubs to your friendly neighborhood dog friends (starting with me, Jacky Dawson). In case you would like to read some excellent books about dogs, I have some suggestions for you.

Two Dogs by Ian Falconer

This book is a story of two dachshunds, Augie and Perry, as they go about their day in absence of Hoomans.  I feel these dogs are kindred spirits.  I understand them, though I think we can agree I have more in common with Augie’s quiet dignity, reserve and problem-solving skills.  Reading this book was a stroll down Memory Lane to my youth.  The pool scenes were also a reminder of the recent extended stay of Cousin Dogs (ahem, Buckingham), but we won’t dwell on that.  



I'd Like to be the Window for a Wise Old Dog by Philip Stead

During my late-night internet scrolling, I noticed the shop doesn’t have enough dog book reviews. I tried to have a word with Mom about that, but she just thought I was begging for treats (she wasn’t wrong). I must handle this myself. I’ll keep it brief, because I am a small dog, after all. Also, I don’t want Mom to catch me using her laptop. As a wise old dog myself, I do appreciate a good window. Windows let me protect my home from suspicious characters (I see you, squirrels). They also provide beautifully warm beams of sunlight for perfect napping. I admit, I was a tad disappointed when the book wasn’t only about dogs. There are quite nice illustrations of all sorts of animals on each page and words about what makes them feel happy and loved. The words are a bit silly sometimes. The pictures are too (I mean, if mice had wings, I would have noticed for sure and alerted the neighborhood). What I did notice, though, is the gentle smile on the faces of the people who picked up this book and flipped through it. The book is about what makes animals happy, but somehow it makes people happy too. Happy people are more inclined to provide treats and rub my tummy, so this is obviously a good thing. The title alone speaks to the intelligence and understanding of the author.

Is This Your Class Pet? by Troy Cummings

I’m going to come right out and say it: this is not a book about dogs. I was fooled by the cover which has a big brown friendly dog on it, and I feel honesty is important. However, I am also relieved. I was skeptical of a dog being a class pet. I myself appreciate very quiet, calm children with gentle hands, but I think a day at school with lots of kids and noise would be a bit much. Arfy, the big brown friendly dog on the book cover, goes to school as a helper dog, but he accidentally comes home with a little turtle in his harness (this has never happened to me, personally; Arfy must have been asleep in a sunny spot). Luckily, he can borrow a computer and write messages to the Hoomans at school to learn where this turtle belongs. Although this is not a book about dogs, it is a very nice book about elementary school. It’s a good choice to help your Little Hoomans get ready for their first day.


Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate

Doggo is content with his life at home with his people until one day, they bring home a puppy. Pupper is awake when Doggo wants to be asleep. Pupper is busy when Doggo wants to be peaceful. The Hoomans can and do train Pupper to behave predictably, but maybe, just maybe, best behavior doesn’t “spark joy”, as Hoomans say. If you want my opinion (and it seems you do), let us begin with the accepted fact that I am an older dog. I know what I like and what I don’t like. I enjoy passing the time in the manner that I see fit, whether it is monitoring the activities of my Hoomans or carefully arranging the fibers of the carpet for optimum naptime comfort. Routine is appreciated, valued even, but I am not afraid to mix it up on occasion to keep life interesting and joy-filled. Doggo and Pupper is, at its heart, a book about how puppies have different needs than older dogs. It does make for a sweet story, and I recommend it for anyone who might be adding a pupper at home. 


Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julie Falatko

Like me, Waldo and Sassy are dogs who have important jobs to do at home. The big problem is the Hoomans manage to escape every day. The big Hoomans go to an office, and the little Hooman goes to school. School is the bigger worry, because apparently every day “nothing” happens there. Waldo and Sassy decide they must dress up as a Hooman and go to school themselves.