Dealing with the dog days of summer at Quail Creek

Many people mistakenly believe that the phrase “dog days of summer” comes from the hot months of the monsoons and that dogs, as well as humans, are just flat-out lazy this time of year. Honestly, who could fault this idea here in the lovely valley south of Tucson, where pecan orchards are irrigated and life at the Quail Creek’s nest is empty of the many snow birds who returned north to seek more reasonable temperatures.

Well, the fact is that it turns out not to be primarily the hot summer months of the year or the monsoonal humidity that defined the term. Rather, the answer must come from the sky. The ancient Romans referred to this period of the summer as “dies caniculares” because of the rising of the star Sirius known as the Dog Star.

Those of us who are committed canine lovers and year-round residents, when we meet at the dog park, we kid each other and laugh about the “life of luxury” that our pooches live here at Quail Creek. “Wouldn’t it be lovely to come back to life as one of our dogs?” says an owner and we all laugh ourselves silly.

The Critter Club at Quail Creek currently has 87 registered members, a fraction of the multitude of dogs that make Quail Creek their home. In the home of Robert and Deuce (rescued Shiba Inu) the alarm clock goes off at 5:30 a.m. and together they are out the door by 6:00 a.m. No lazy critters in this and many other households with dogs and humans.

During these dog days of summer, it is imperative for dog owners to hit the pavement early when it is cool and comfortable on bare footed dogs, and let’s face it easier on their owners who vigorously walk along side of them. In the late afternoon when it is no longer safe to walk on dark asphalt, the Quail Creek dog park is the best choice for comfort and safety for our pooches.

Currently, under consideration, and with some debate within the Quail Creek budget committee, is the idea of replacing the “natural grass” with artificial turf. Recently, La Pasada replaced the real grass in all three of their dog parks with artificial turf. Today’s turf is engineered to be cooler to the touch and has an antimicrobial component that fights the growth of bacteria. And, with better drainage under artificial turf, there are fewer flies and mosquitoes that carry harmful parasites. Also, there will no longer be the need to close the park for six weeks while the damage from these dog days of summer is repaired with new blades of real grass.

By this time next summer, we dog owners at Quail Creek hope that we will be happy to laugh about the old dog days of summer, when monsoon rains use to turn the park into a swamp with an abundance of flies and mosquitoes. We hope that soon there will be artificial turf that our puppies can enjoy twelve months of the year. The Critter Club sponsored an information event (Tuesday, August 14) in the Keno Center with over 50 Quail Creek dog owners attending the presentation.

Oh, it’s wonderful to live the life of a dog at Quail Creek in Green Valley!