Summer Hot Spot

dogs, pets

Lucy in the golden light during our morning walk.

Fayston, Vermont.

Summer is full of indulgences, but yes, one can have too much of a good thing.  Too much ice cream gives me a stomach ache. But too much swimming for a water dog? About a month ago, my golden girl Lucy came down with a case of hot spots. Although I’ve owned a series of dogs, I’d never seen it: Hot spots look like a nasty, crusty rash with open sores. They are caused by a bacterial infection.

The weather had been record-breaking hot in the beginning of July. We do not have A/C. To keep her cool, I filled a kiddie pool for Lucy to splash in, plus I took her swimming.  She didn’t dry well in the humidity, and I’m sure she also had some itchy bug bites as we all did. The bacteria had their own summer party on Lucy.  It was a rager.

By the time I figured out what was bothering Lucy and that she had to go to the vet, it was the weekend. The infection had spread to behind each ear, on top of her head, and she also had a patch on her left hip. She was seen right away on Monday. To clean the infection, the vet shaved the area around the sores – standard procedure.  However, she looked like a Barbie that had been given a haircut by a toddler.

She was put on a course of oral antibiotics and I had to clean the sores with antibacterial pads twice a day. I felt terrible that I had helped the infection to spread when I petted her head and rubbed her ears.  The part on her hip was likely spread by her scratching. Linus and Charlie were unaffected.

The rash eventually cleared up and her hair is growing back.  I’ve been reluctant to take her swimming. Today she went back in the water. She looked so incredibly happy.

Maybe I can have a little ice cream.


Lucy swims for the first time after her “hot spots” cleared. If you look closely, you can see where she was shaved by her ear.




Sound bites

dogs, pets, photography, Uncategorized, vermont

Linus, Charlie, and Lucy pose for a Father’s Day tribute

Fayston, Vermont.  “You know they all bark when you leave the house,” my son reported. “Even Lucy.”

My son is home from college for the summer.  My work schedule has become temporarily more demanding, so he’s been home with the dogs more than I this month.

“Linus sounds like he’s being tortured – it’s part howl, part bark,” he continued.

“Then Charlie chimes in with a high-pitched alarm bark. It’s annoying.

Lucy adds a low grunt, more of a mild complaint,” my son concluded.

“No wonder the neighbors don’t talk to us,” I replied.

“I don’t think so. Their dog barks, too,” he said.

“Do the dogs stop barking when you come downstairs?

“Yes, but sometimes not right away.”

This news surprised me because we take the dogs for a long walk in the morning before leaving. They are usually all sound asleep when I close the door behind me. Last spring, before my son came home, I forgot my phone and had to return to the house, only to find all three dogs asleep, right where I left them. They came to greet me blinking and stretching from being stirred awake.

But I am not usually gone as much once June hits. This year, however, household projects are left undone; vacation plans scrubbed; day trips canceled. I had to take a personal day so that I could accompany my son on a photo assignment for his internship. The extra money I make will be nice when the holidays come, and the end to my crazy schedule is near. But tell that to my dogs.

I look forward to setting my summer rhythm to the beat of tail thwapping. And less barking.

Photo Gallery

Linus at home

Osprey overhead, DAR State Park

Lucy on our morning walk, after a night of rain

Super Charlie in flight

Swallowtail Butterfly

Lucy, DAR State Park

Hay was cut on the very next day

Receiving line, Fayston

Old apple tree frames a very Vermont scene, Waitsfield

Linus in the lupines

Love stinks

dogs, pets
Charlie at home

Charlie Brown at home.

Fayston, Vermont. I recently gave Charlie Brown a bath. At 10 pm.

As was our routine, dog-dad had let our dogs out before going to bed. He let them out into the yard, but not the fenced-in part – our neighbors are seasonal and mud season is not one of their seasons. Spring feverish, our three dogs took off into the night.

After a few minutes, Lucy returned home but Linus and Charlie did not. Dog-dad continued to call them, with each repetition growing louder and angrier. I came downstairs, grabbed my wallet and car key, then tapped the button to open the garage door. I hoped the sound of the door clanking up would bring them back, but I only heard the peepers. No familiar jingle of dog tags. At least I heard no more yelling.

I started the car and pulled out of the garage, crawling down the driveway and expectantly searching for Charlie and Linus in my headlights. Twenty five yards down they appeared, looking quite happy and excited, tails and tongues a-waggin’. They eagerly hopped in the car.  

Charlie snuggled up against my neck. He smelled like he spent the night at a frat party. A wave of nausea hit me at the stench. Into the shower we both went.

In the morning, dog-dad and I agreed to keep the dogs in the fenced in part of our yard. I arrived at work tired. My mind had ruminated on “what might have been” and my sleep was restless. As I was settling into my morning coffee and emails, one of my co-workers announced that she had a sad story to tell me. She looked upset. Quite unexpectedly, she said, she had to say goodbye to her dog last night. We hugged and cried; their time with us is too short we told each other. She told me how her dog suddenly became very sick over the weekend. We cried some more.

Dogs are only with us for a short time. Make every day a good one.



In memory of Goldie.

All photos ©️Rebecca Silbernagel 2018

Lucy & Charlie take a break during our morning walk.


Mother’s Day bouquet

Sugarbush Resort

Hi, Charlie…

Did somebody say cookie?

Morning walk reflections

Linus keeps my seat warm.

Cinco de Barko

Spring fever

Mad River Valley view