These are the Dog Days of Summer, so we decided to interview a dog from Forest Park. His name is Scout and we conducted the interview using the latest CCD (Canine Communication Device). After I fastened the CCD collar around Scout’s neck and put on my own, we could understand each other perfectly. Fortunately, Scout speaks English.

“Scout, I notice you’re not wearing a mask.”

“We don’t do masks. Muzzles, maybe. The worst is wearing those cone collars but they’re very good for maintaining dental distance.”

“Have you had your vaccinations?”

“Are you kidding? I got all my shots when I was a puppy. First, they gave me a shot for distemper. Did you know, that spreads through coughing and sneezing? Yeah, we definitely cough and sneeze. We’ve even got our own coronavirus vaccine. I got shots for heartworm, Lyme disease and especially rabies. The rabies shot is required in every state.”

“Do you have some type of certificate that proves you were vaccinated?”

“Sure, I need to have my rabies vaccination certificate, or I’d never get into my favorite places. Like when my owner drops me off at Camp Ruff Ruff for the day.”

“So what breed are you anyway?”

“Can we just say ‘mixed?’ I never met my dad but I had the most loving, nurturing mom. She was a collie and raised me and my three brothers all by herself. Then when we were about 4 weeks old, she started pushing us away. Finally, she flat out ignored us. It’s gotten so bad that I spotted her at the dog park and she walked right by without recognizing me.”

“Well, fortunately you were bought by a caring owner.”

“That guy also ignores me. At least he did, until he started working from home. Now, I get too much attention. I used to wag my tail when he grabbed my leash. Now, we’re walking all over the neighborhood five times a day. I swear my legs are getting shorter.”

“Is Forest Park a good place for walks?”

“Smell-wise, you can’t beat it. There’s always a pleasant aroma in the air from Ferrara Pan Candy and Kay’s Bakery. Although, I prefer the meaty smells along Madison Street to sniffing sweets.”

“Do you meet other dogs along the way?”

“Yeah, too many. I used to like being greeted by strangers but now I can’t turn around without getting sniffed. The sidewalks are packed with dogs. Especially those annoying “pandemic puppies.” They can’t even walk straight, without getting tangled up in their leashes.” 

“So do you know why they call these the Dog Days of Summer?”

“It has nothing to do with us. In ancient times, they believed that the rising of the Dog Star caused drought, unrest and an increase in infections.”

“Are you Sirius?”

“Hey, at least we have a Dog Star. There aren’t that many other dog stars, besides Marley, Beethoven and Benji.”

“Is that supposed to be funny?”

“It always cracks up the boys at the kennel.”

“Do you have any advice for getting through the dog days?”

“I recommend cutting out the walks until the weather cools off and getting back to four-hour naps. Also, make sure your rabies shots are up-to-date. You don’t want to see any of us foaming at the mouth.” 

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.