“The sea boiled. The wine turned sour. Dogs grew mad,” noted Brady in Clavis Calendaria. Consequently, the ancient Romans responded to the dog days of summer by sacrificing a brown dog to appease the wrath of Sirius.
Usually, I am against sacrificing dogs—no matter how mad they are. But today I am so deep into the Dog Days of Deployment that I can suddenly see how a certain brown dog might be sacrificed around here if he does not watch out.
The Dog Days of Deployment are way past the Deployment Curse or Murphy’s Law of Deployment (in which your major appliances conspire against you to fail at the same time.)
The Dog Days of Deployment happen when everything goes relentlessly wrong on the same day — and then the dog pees on everything. They occur somewhere past the half-way mark of deployment when you start thinking that you can totally make it until homecoming. No worries!
Until you have worries.
The Dog Days must be upon me. I lost my wallet on the plane — complete with my military ID and every cash card and credit card I own. My kids are sick with that summer flu. I made my fifth grader cry. Everyone at work is on vacation next week so I will probably accidently set the place on fire. (Accidentally). My contractor called to postpone so I will be trying to wash dishes in the bathroom sink for another month while being totally grossed out.
To top it off, my little brown dog finally figured out how to open the freezer. I came home from dinner to find that the dog had eaten a T-bone steak, an entire bag of Chicken Nuggets, a package of rolls, a loaf of bread and a pound of frozen bacon.
When we walked through the door he was licking a five-pound roast with great post-orgasmic food fondness. Like it was some kind of meat popsicle he was willing to share.
That dog had eaten so much he looked like a tick ready to pop. He looked like a furry Jabba the Hutt. A canine sacrifice suddenly seemed like a rational response to the Dog Days of Deployment.
“How did it happen?” my sailor wanted to know. “Did you leave the freezer open? Did the dog grow thumbs?”
This I do not know. I just know that I want to crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head until the end of the deployment.
My sailor claims this will not help. I realize that. I realize that even if Brad was not deployed and was hiding under the covers with me, the dog would still be barfing frozen bacon behind the couch.
People say dogs can be stressed out by deployment, too. But why must my dog stress out in exactly the same way I stress out?? Why can’t he be like other dogs of deployed families and pee on the couch or talk in his sleep or run off in gale force winds when the kids are already in their jammies?
The Dog Days of Deployment are probably there to remind us of all the unseen stresses we carry during deployment while the sea boils and the wine sours and the dogs go mad. Sometimes the only solution is to pull the covers over our heads for that one night, long for our darlings, and hope for a better day tomorrow — which must surely come.