OXNARD, Calif. — Normally when football players and coaches talk about dog days, they mean the middle of training camp, when the only issue with the weather is the heat.
But last week were dog days for the Dolphins. When a team makes a quick decision to pack up operations and move to the opposite coast for a week, it carries real-life complications that could make anybody growl.
Namely: What do the many dog owners among players and coaches do with their four-legged friends when the entire family bolts town?
Darren Rizzi, the Dolphins’ associate head coach and special teams coordinator, called it “a lot of things you don’t think about” if you’re on the outside looking in.
Rizzi owns two West Highland terriers and was among those securing a boarding facility with the clock winding down.
Tight end Anthony Fasano owns a great Dane and a cane corso, each of whom weighs almost as much as a kicker.
“Like a lot of guys, I have big dogs and it’s tough to find housing,” Fasano said.
The dogs are at a vet in Coral Springs that the Dolphins helped find. Fasano had begun sweating for reasons that had nothing to do with any loss of power. He was calling more audibles than Jay Cutler.
“We worked through probably Plan A, B, C, D and E at that point,” Fasano said. “But we were able to figure it out. I appreciate the Dolphins for what they did.”
Running back Kenyan Drake traded his dog — in a manner of speaking — to Georgia. The pup is staying with his mom there until he returns.
Meanwhile, kicker Cody Parkey, a baseball fan, has a lab mix named Marlin, who handled the storm better than some pooches.
“It wasn’t so bad,” Parkey said. “We could open the door and let him out real quick, so we didn’t have any issues.”
Center Jake Brendel has a German shepherd pointer who bolted for Nashville — with Brendel’s girlfriend, that is. The car ride, which normally takes about 13 hours, required 18, but that was OK.
“He’s a bird dog, you know, so they’re looking at everything out the window constantly,” Brendel said.
What might not be OK with some of Brendel’s teammates is the name he chose for his dog.
“Jet,” he said.
Rizzi, chuckling at how his dogs became a topic of conversation, happily reported his dogs “are alive and well and doing great in South Florida.
“It was much more important to my children — I’m not going to lie to you. My kids were ready to bring them with them.”
Palm Beach Post staff writer Jason Lieser contributed to this story.