Beach to Bayou - July/August 2018
- story by Lisa Monti
After a dozen years of daily walks with my dog Boudreaux (and more before that with his equally spoiled predecessor, Magnolia), my morning routine is well set.
First, of course, there’s coffee and headline scanning and then a check of the weather. Unless there’s 1) extreme heat, 2) lightning nearby or 3) a hurricane closing in, we’re out the door.
That we don’t often miss a morning walk says way more about our temperate weather than my dedication to trailing behind a dog on a leash. It’s easy to dodge stray showers or to layer against a stiff north wind. But when summer puts the hammer down, you’d best take care not to overdue it and risk serious heat illnesses for you - or your pet.
Beach to Bayou
The combination of hot temps and high humidity can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but you can take simple precautions such as drinking plenty of fluids, staying in an air-conditioned room and generally staying out of the sun.
If you are spending time outside, take extra precautions like rescheduling your activities for early morning or evening, wearing light, loose fitting clothes and drinking plenty of water. If you’re working outdoors, OSHA recommends that you take a lot of breaks either in the shade or inside an air-conditioned place. Call 911 if you or someone else feels overcome by heat.
If you’re walking your dog outdoors, the same basic safety rules apply to dogs. Exercise early or in the evening. If you’re out in the mid-day heat, walk in shaded areas so they don’t burn their paws on hot asphalt. Test pavement for heat by pressing your palm against it for seven seconds. If it’s too hot for your hand, it will burn your dog’s paws. If the air temperature is 87 degrees, the asphalt is 143 degrees. An egg fries in five minutes at 131F.
If you’re dog walking, you can get creative finding shade in some local spots, like the old City Park shoofly on Second Street or one of the local restaurants with outside seating (the porch and sideyard of the Mockingbird Café are local favorites. If you prefer a spot beachside, the pavilion at Washington Street offers benches along with breezes off the water.
If you’re poochless, you have even more options. The library is the perfect place to comfortably spend some cool, quiet time on a summer day and so is a local health club.
Bike riders (and walkers) can find shady stretches on streets and lots of good places to take a water break around town. I like riding down Third Street, from Washington to Bay Oaks Drive and loop back around. There’s plenty of shade in spots on both sides of Third as well as some less traveled blocks between Main and Ulman and on the grounds of the Depot.
Staying safe outdoors in the grip of summertime takes a bit of preparation but it’s worth the effort to enjoy exercising, socializing and keeping a spoiled dog happy between now and October.