The Sound of Sizzling
by Mark Carlson
09:16 AM, Monday, August 27
Well summer is creeping up on us with the usual relentless torpidity. There are many signs of summer in San Diego. Shorts, sunglasses, bikinis (my favorite), triple iced mocha lattes, beach parking with ‘Lot Full’ signs, and of course ComiCon.

But for dog owners, summer means something else. For one thing, we have to consider how hot asphalt feels on bare paws. As for me, I only think about it when I go to get the mail. The mailbox in our condo development is about fifty yards away across a blacktop parking lot. And of course I don’t bother putting on any shoes. So I do the quickstep, hopping and dancing my way out and back, punctuated with “Ow!” and “Ouch!”

Hey, I’m a guy. I can’t help being a bit stupid. My wife Jane just shakes her head and says, “He’s all mine, girls.”

But this story is about dogs. Or one dog in particular. My Guide Dog, Musket is a male Yellow Labrador. He guides me when I go out for work or whatever. And in the summer I’m well aware of how hot the pavement is. I try to make sure Musket doesn’t have to walk on blacktop any more than absolutely necessary.

That’s just being a loving dog owner.

But...remember that hot parking lot?

As hot as it gets in the sun, it never fazes that dog.

Musket is a true southern California sun worshipper.

Remember Garfield in the comics could never walk past a sunbeam without falling asleep?

That’s Musket. If I have the garage door open he’ll see that blazing, melting, searing, smoking, frying pan of a driveway. A dropped egg would fry in two minutes.

Flop. Down he goes.

I know all dogs love the sun, and they have a normal body temperature of about 105 degrees but...wow. He falls asleep, totally content.

If I listen hard I know I’ll hear sizzling and smell the odor of burning fur.

“Turn over pal, that side’s done. What am I going to do with you? Crazy dog.”

Musket: “Huh? Oh, thanks Daddy. Yawn. Daddy thinks it’s hot out here. But it’s just right. It feels like the sun is giving me a belly rub.”

In the 1960s the hip phrase was ‘Happiness is a warm puppy’ Yes, I just aged myself. Musket is happy.

Well, in any case, I have a happy puppy out there, even on days I don’t dare go out barefoot.

But I still do.

I’m a guy.

Mark Carlson, 51 lives in San Diego with his wife Jane and his Guide dog Musket. A docent at the San Diego Air & Space Museum and aviation historian, Mark writes for several national aviation magazines. He is a featured speaker for many local adult education programs. His first book, ‘Confessions of a Guide Dog – The Blonde Leading the Blind’ is a humorous memoir about the adventures of life with Musket. It is available in  through Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and iUniverse.com. You can reach Mark and Musket through www.musketmania.com.

FOLLOW MARK'S COMIC STRIP, "SHADES!"

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