The idea of the “dog days of summer” has ancient roots—and nothing to do with our furry best friends. In the Northern Hemisphere, cultures in Egypt, China, and elsewhere observed that the hottest days of the year occurred around the time the night sky’s brightest star was in conjunction with the sun. Ancient Greeks and Romans called that star Seirios (Sirius), the Dog Star, and considered the sweltering period before and after that conjunction—early July through mid-August—to be the dog days.
Pooches now participate in archaeology, sit on editorial boards, and perform invasive species control everywhere from the suburban United States to sub-Antarctic islands—in addition to their ongoing traditional roles protecting herds and hauling us around. Let’s face it: Every day is a dog day. And why should we wait until summer to celebrate what they mean to us.
Here are a few of our favorite places that honor some of the amazing achievements of Canis familiaris—from loyally greeting visitors to fighting wars to saving lives—all year long.