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Hot weather and me: Hot weather and my dog

I’m not a sun bunny, not at all. I don’t venture out between 10 and 4, so today (85 degrees outside) I ventured out at 4:30 (pm) to transplant some zinnias, dig a deep hole, and transplant a blueberry plant. Hardly what I would call hard labor. It took me less than an hour, and I was beat when I got back inside.

I don’t think it makes me a bleeding-heart-liberal to be grateful at such a moment for all those people who are harvesting our food in heat much hotter than this, and for hours and hours. Of course, they’re between 30 and 60 years younger than I am, but heck, I remember weeding sugar beets in the winter sun in the Bet She’An Valley on a kibbutz in Israel when I was 24 years old, and I barely made back in for lunch. They changed my assignment, and I happily ironed in the laundry thereafter. Nevertheless, even for people who are “used to the sun,” whatever that means, harvesting our food in the beating sun is punishing work, and I’m grateful to the people who do it. I hope they make enough money to get out of there. Others will come after, work hard in the beating sun, and hopefully get out of there in their turn.

Anyway, thank you.

As for the dog, he’s one of the double-coated creatures who are meant for the winter, and he’s also old. He was out there running around with the dog next door and panted for about two days. I took him for his usual walks at around 2:00 in the afternoon, and he just turned around and asked to go home or sat down for a while. I didn’t like the sound of his panting and took him to the vet, who told me that dogs can get laryngeal paralysis. Since the only way they cool down is through panting, the larynx can get overtaxed and shut down.

My cure is to keep him out of the sun, of course, but all by myself, I figured out a nice way to cool him down if he’s panting too much. I use one of those small ice packs that you use if you hurt yourself and rub him down, especially in the neck and under his tummy where his heart is. You should NOT cool dogs down quickly, but a small cold pack passed over his top layer of fur rather quickly seemed to do a good job. I’m glad to have this tool to use if he’s in distress again.

Last year, the vet told me “Get an air conditioner,” but my windows are the not kind you can put an air conditioner in, and my house is not the kind you can thread air conditioning through. So this year I got a heat pump and it is great. Heat pumps also act as air conditioners. Highly recommended. I and the dog will survive contentedly through the summer.