The Dog Days of Summer

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

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