The Dog Days of Summer - Part I

Art Deco Cast Iron Scottie Bookends on Argyle Bases by Verona (LEO Design)

We think of "The Dog Days of Summer" as those mid-Summer days—hot, humid and still—when we should follow the example of our canine friends: lie still in the shade and drink lots of water.  And, perhaps this is true.  

But the origin of the term "Dog Days" actually refers to the "Dog Star," also called "Sirius."  Sirius is the second brightest star in the sky (after our Sun) and is part of the constellation cluster "Canis Major."  The Dog Days begin when one can observe Sirius rising along the horizon at dawn (usually around 3 July).  The period lasts about 40 days (usually to around 11 August).

Ancient civilizations followed Sirius, well, seriously.  The Ancient Egyptians knew that when Sirius could be seen at the horizon at dawn, that soon the Nile would flood—ensuring that life-sustaining agriculture would continue for another season.  The Dog Days, hot as they were, were a good sign.  Ancient Greeks and Romans had a much different opinion about the Dog Days.  They thought that Sirius in the dawn sky brought drought, bad luck and unrest.  Men and dogs were likely to go crazy.

With the Dog Days officially ending on 11 August, let's do a countdown of some of our favorite canine objets at LEO Design.

Shown above, a pair of richly-detailed cast iron Scottie bookends.  Made by Verona (outside of Pittsburgh, PA) in the Twenties, the exquisite modeling captures the wiry texture of a terrier's coat.  To add to the Scottish attitude, the pair stand upon Argyle-decorated plinths.  Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome pair of bookends.

More Dog Day items to come, tomorrow and over the following days.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248