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Dog Days of Summer

Enjoying This Great Time of Year!

Karen and Jay share thoughts on the ‘dog days of summer’ and the special role dogs play in our lives.

Here we are in August as the ‘dog days of summer’ are beginning to wind down. Whether it be in a movie, book, or in a regular conversation, you’ve probably heard this phrase - the ‘dog days of summer’ or sometimes referred to as the ‘dog days of August.’ But do you know what it refers to or what it actually means? Or if it has anything to do with dogs? Well, the phrase comes from the world of astrology when the star Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (meaning ‘big dog’ in Latin), rises with the sun during the months of July and August. Ancient Greeks and Romans were said to have believed that the heat from both the sun and Sirius made this period the hottest of the year. Thus, the ‘dog days of summer!’

Over time of course, the phrase has naturally come to take on a meaning of its own. When I think of the dog days of summer, I don’t think of a constellation, instead I am immediately reminded of warm summer days with my dog Sparky and generally, my love of dogs. After rescuing him from a shelter, Sparky became my best friend for 14 years. An overweight mutt, Sparky was the friendliest and kindest dog I’d ever met. He was also fiercely loyal to the extent that my daughter Morgan once told me that when I would leave on a business trip, he’d stay by the door waiting for me to get home – even if it meant, staying by the door all week. And when I had a tough day, he’d show his love, immediately changing my attitude.

Anyone who has had a dog will tell you that they are the embodiment of positive energy. On top of their loyalty, they tend to be incredibly selfless and kind, exerting an unconditional love that’s hard to find anywhere else. When their tails begin to wag as you enter the room or offer them a little treat, it can’t help but bring a smile to your face. While they can be clumsy from time to time and maybe even get into a bit of mischief, the bond between a dog and its owner is truly special. It’s something we may not think about, but dogs can teach us valuable lessons. Their capacity to sense our own emotions has the power to do amazing things, as we’ve seen dogs used to help support veterans returning home from deployment. As a dog owner, I’ve found myself even learning about the importance of love and loyalty from my dogs, and how it can positively impact my relationship with friends, family, and colleagues. Thinking about it now, it gives an important new meaning to these ‘dog days of summer’ and reminds me of why dogs are considered man's best friend.

Comforting K9’s – Spreading Love and Support

Comfort dogs in the public setting are becoming more and more of a ‘thing’ - thanks to great organizations like Hero Pups. In a variety of settings throughout New Hampshire and beyond, comfort dogs are providing love, companionship, and yes, support – precisely when they are needed most.

For instance, if you spend time in or around Manchester, then you know may know about Patch - the Queen City’s comfort dog. Patch was donated by Hero Pups after extensive training and today can be found aiding community members in their time of need by providing love and support as only a canine can do. In fact, the naming of Patch was one of the coolest competitions that drew over 4,000 votes from greater Manchester. Comfort dogs are making a big difference in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as well as helping create a positive vibe via their work with the police force.

Up in North Conway - Maze, another dog donated by Hero Pups, can be seen working five days a week, roaming the halls of the hospital looking to provide company and comfort to those in need. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, it's reported that patients who are paid a visit by a comfort/therapy dog see a forty-one percent positive change as it relates to their well-being as well as nearly a fifty percent reduction in pain due to the distractions and companionship these dogs provide.

Hospice programs are also using comfort dogs. And it takes a special dog to do this kind of work. While working in these programs, dogs learn to be able to sense the process an individual goes through in approaching death. Often a family will request the therapy dog lay by the end of the bed during the patient’s final moments of life. This may be because the patient loved dogs and the sight of the dog brings a sense of normalcy for not only the patient but the family as well.

Now more than ever Man’s best friends are working overtime to do what they do best, LOVE. These dogs are helping people in their darkest hour and in time of need.

‘Dog Times’ in New England: 5 Great Dog Attractions

As we experience the ‘dog days of summer,’ and while the ‘dog days’ may just be a saying, there are several things that you can still do with your dog in New England to enjoy the days left in summer.

New England is friendly to our furry friends, with many great activities and places to choose from around the region.

  1. Dog Parks! You should always check out your local dog park. And you might find some interesting stories about them. For example, at the Sunshine Initiative, we helped initially promote and then partner with the Town of Newport to start the Newport Dog Park - called David’s Dawgs. Special thanks to Tobin and Annette Menard – who have had the vision and energy to make this dog park a reality. The ground has been already broken at the park’s location, and its goal is to have dogs socialize with their people. Another personal favorite of mine is the one near my home in Portsmouth! And, having some great father-son time with my son Gates, while watching his very athletic Belgian Malinois ‘Tiger Woofs’ socialize with his many dog friends at the park.

  2. ‘Splash and Wags!’ The Annual Osborne's Dockdogs Classic – known as ‘Splash and Wags’ brings people together to watch dogs do incredible jumps from docks along with K-9 demonstrations in August. Held at the family-owned Osborne's Farm & Garden Centers LLC in Hooksett, New Hampshire, families, dogs, and toys are welcome to join the fun! Check it out:

  3. Dog Treats! You can also visit the New England Dog Biscuit Company in Salem, Massachusetts. The shop is dedicated to making custom biscuits and treats for your dog. You and your furry friend should think about making a special trip to this unique small business.

  4. Ice Cream! Numerous Ice Cream places! Summer is incomplete without a trip to the local ice cream stand and there are many locations throughout New England, especially in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Just ask for a custom pup cup to have your dog join in on the special summertime treat! One of my personal favorites is the Quack Shack in Sunapee Harbor.

  5. State Parks! With some research, you’ll find that several of New Hampshire’s state parks are pet friendly and welcome our furry friends to join in on the magnificent hiking and swimming locations. Check them out at

Although the dog days of summer are winding down, for those of you who are still continuing your adventures throughout the Northeast make sure you take along your furry four-legged friend!

Positive Profile of the Week: Jake Tyler and ‘Doug’

This week we are delighted to highlight a dynamic duo – who truly exemplify the special bond between man and dog - Jake Tyler and his devoted friend - his dog, Doug!

Officer Jake Tyler might be a name many of you know given his devoted service as member of the police force in Manchester. He's been a participant in the CHaD Battle of the Badges Hockey Game, a game and organization Karen and I love to support each year. He has served on the Manchester PD Swat team, specializing in K9 handling. And after a seven-year run, Officer Tyler and his K9 Doug hung up their leash but not before doing something amazing.

Jake and Doug participated in this year’s 1k swim to support the veterans’ organization, ‘Swim With a Mission.’ The pair swims year after year (this was their 5th time) to support this meaningful and impactful organization. They participated in the event alongside other K9 units to raise thousands of dollars for one of New Hampshire’s largest veteran support initiatives.

Jake and Doug have been together going all the way back to 2016. The two have helped keep the streets of Manchester safe and even helped patrol sections of the 2023 Boston Marathon. Even though the pair won’t be together at the PD anymore, their weekends and evenings will be full of making new memories. Upon Doug’s retirement, Officer Tyler and his family took ownership of him so he and Jake can live out Doug’s years of retirement together. Now, this isn’t Jake’s first go around with a police dog. Jake used to be partnered with legendary police K9 Bud. The two could be seen all over the Queen City patrolling the streets but also supporting great causes including Iced Coffee Day, the Fisher Cats Foundation, and many more.

We are honored to highlight Jake and Doug – and thank them for their many contributions to our great community!

Quotes of the Week: Dog Days of Summer

"Summer's golden days, like a faithful dog, arrive with boundless energy and infectious joy, reminding us to bask in the warmth of life's simplest pleasures." – Unknown

"In the dog days of summer, as the sun's embrace deepens, so does the bond between nature and our spirits, fostering a sense of harmony that only the playful spirit of a dog can truly understand." - Jane Trudeau "Amidst the sultry haze of summer, the days stretch out like a contented dog at rest, allowing us to slow down, savor the moment, and find solace in the tranquil rhythm of life." - John Alexander "Just as a loyal canine companion offers unwavering devotion, the dog days of summer bring forth a loyal friend in time, enriching our memories with lazy afternoons, laughter, and the timeless joy of shared experiences." – Emily Morgenthau "As the sun reigns supreme and the world takes on a golden hue, the dog days of summer beckon us to explore, play, and rediscover the world around us, much like a curious dog uncovering hidden treasures at every turn." – Maurice Jagivitz


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