The Dog Days of Summer

August 22nd, 2017

The “dog days of summer” happen to be some of the hottest days in North America. Contrary to popular belief, the phrase has nothing to do with our beloved canine companions. Instead, the phrase “dog days of summer” has roots dating back thousands of years, and is actually associated with the movement of the cosmos. The ancient Greeks and Romans coined the term in reference to the star Sirius, or Dog Star, which rose just before the sun in late July. The position of the stars was a fundamental part of ancient life, shaping religious beliefs, signaling changing seasons, and even helping people navigate long journeys by land and sea.

Here at Learning from Miami we invite you to celebrate the hottest days of summer with various clips from our film library featuring some retro Rovers and precious poodles. Speaking of poodles, here’s a home movie clip from 1957 of a couple’s get together in their back yard with a wonderful white standard poodle.


Michael the Talking Poodle. 

In this 1964 clip, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Messick’s talking poodle, Michael, is interviewed by WTJV News.

Ringling Brothers Circus Dogs.

Sarasota, Florida, has a heartfelt lasting connection with the circus. John Ringling, one of the founders of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus,  had a fondness for Sarasota and decided to move the headquarters of his “Greatest Show on Earth” from its original location in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to the lovely Gulf Coast city in 1927. This new winter headquarters of the circus opened to paying visitors on Christmas Day that year and soon became one of Florida’s first tourist attractions.

The winter headquarters of Ringling’s circus would change several times, moving 45 minutes south to Venice in 1960 and then up to Tampa in 1992. After 146 years, the circus officially had its last curtain call on May 21, 2017. Weakening attendance and high operating costs contributed to the circus’s downfall.

Watch these amazing prancing pooches from the Ringling Bros. circus practicing their act in 1949.


Disk Dogs.

Disk dog, also known as Frisbee dog, is a competitive sport where dogs and their humans compete in Frisbee events like distance catching and freestyle catching. The sport is based on teamwork, communication, and honors the bond between trainer and dog. Watch these pups from 1979 soar into action in a friendly competition of disk dog.


-Ursa Gil

Iconic Artifacts of the Miami Science Museum

May 4th, 2017

On Monday, May 8, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science will celebrate its grand opening at its new location at Downtown Miami's Museum Park. On this edition of Learning from Miami,  we bid the old Miami Science museum a fond farewell.  Take a leisurely stroll back in time in the history of Museum Park and look back at some of the original museum’s most cherished artifacts Read More...

Proposed Chinatown Coming to North Miami

April 3rd, 2017 News reports featuring the first and second annual Chinese New Year parade in South Florida. Videos courtesy of the Wolfson Archives.    A Chinatown in Miami, why not? It’s no secret that cultural neighborhoods in major cities can be popular tourist destinations Read More...

Presidential Homes of South Florida

February 17th, 2017

In honor of President's Day, Learning from Miami showcases the luxurious South Florida homes of some of America's presidents. Harry Truman’s Key West Retreat President Harry Truman’s Little White House was built in 1890. The edifice functioned as the Key West naval station’s command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II Read More...

Unusual Homes of Florida

January 24th, 2017

Florida homes are extremely diverse, and have been shaped by an eclectic array of different architectural styles. In this edition of Learning from Miami, we visit some very unconventional residences and the people who call these places home.  South Miami Dome Home In this clip, architect Bob Koger, invites WTVJ to tour his energy efficient Geodesic Dome home Read More...

A South Florida Christmas: Deck the Halls with Christmas Decor

December 15th, 2016

Exterior Christmas home decor sure has come a long way from simple lights hung around homes to the elaborate where Christmas light displays flicker to the rhythm of music. The first home Christmas lights are thought to have been put up in 1882 by Edward Johnson, who was an executive at Thomas Edison's company Read More...

Casa Casuarina: The Palace on Ocean Drive.

October 24th, 2016

Casa Casuarina is arguably one of the most famous buildings on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. This home was once the opulent residence and private oasis of celebrity fashion designer Gianni Versace, and continues its legacy as a resort for the well-to-do. Journey through time with Learning from Miami, as we delve into Casa Casuarinas’ rich history Read More...

Andrew’s Destruction of Homestead Air Force Base

August 17th, 2016 On Aug. 24, 1992, Homestead Air Force Base was obliterated. Like much of the surrounding communities, Homestead AFB was ravaged by the full fury of Hurricane Andrew, leaving the military base in complete ruin. By the time base personnel and aircraft had been evacuated, Hurricane Andrew had grown to a category five storm Read More...

Cruising back in Time: The History of South Florida’s ports

July 27th, 2016

Norway ship at the Port of Miami. Photo courtesy of During the height of the cruise season millions of passengers will board luxury liners. How did South Florida’s cruise industry begin? Embark on a high-seas adventure featuring the history of two of the world’s largest and busiest sea ports, PortMiami and Port Everglades, and get a sneak peak at the largest cruise ship coming to Port Everglades Read More...

Exploring Cape Canaveral

June 29th, 2016

On July 11th 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down in Cape Canaveral from its last mission, ending the era of the 30-year Space Shuttle program. The retirement of the shuttle in 2011 left the United States without the ability to send astronauts into orbit for the first time since the early 1980s, leading some to wonder whether America was abandoning its leadership in space travel Read More...