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Up, Poochoscope!

The missus and I have lived with our dog for over a decade now. But only recently have I become aware of the notion of 'dog astrology' -- the idea being that pups and mutts are influenced by the motions of the moon and stars and heavenly bodies to the same degree that humans are.

(Which is not at all, as far as I'm concerned. Not that it ever stopped me from trying to use creative zodiacry to my advantage, back in the day. If being an Aries might get me some action -- sure, I'm an Aries. If it takes Mars in my seventh house to get to second base, then okay... whatever you just said, honey. Are we going to make out or stare at constellations all night?

Of course, I never knew enough about astrology for it to help me much. A woman once asked me if I was a Sagittarian. I said, 'No, I eat meat -- why do you ask?'

I had to hightail it out of there before I wound up with one of her Capricorns shoved up my Pisces.)

Still, as a dog owner I was intrigued by this idea, so I did a little digging. And found as reputable an example of celestial canine prognostication as I could muster -- a full page of dog horoscopes, from no less an authority than Discovery's Animal Planet.

"Someday they're going to find a family of morbidly obese little people hoarding junk in a haunted dirty crab boat and being mauled by chopper-riding tigers."

(What do pets have to do with the other ninety-nine percent of Discovery's current programming? How the hell should I know?

Someday they're going to find a family of morbidly obese little people hoarding junk in a haunted dirty crab boat and being mauled by chopper-riding tigers. They'll shoot twenty minutes of film, loop it twenty-four hours a day, and that'll be that. Transformation to "circus sideshow peephole network" complete.

Anyway, Animal Planet. Work with me here.)

So the folks at AP have decided that the personality of a dog can be determined by the phase of the moon or the incline of the Big Dipper, or which way Aries' spear is pointing.

(Or maybe that's Aries Spears. I'm not so much on the details.)

At any rate, I've read the things. And they're useless. If you gaze into Animal Planet's crystal dog ball, you'll see things like this:

'Your Taurus teddy bear... is a good listener and will never let you down.'
'The Gemini pup... wants to be in the know and is eternally youthful.'
'Leo dogs live for the limelight and a 5-star lifestyle.'

Oh, horse puckey. These sound more like come-ons from internet dating ads than anything approaching what your dog is like. We're talking a bunch of over-furred drooling morons here, not an online Mr. Right.

(Who is actually also an over-furred drooling moron, most likely. But like the crafty AP copy writers, he doesn't want you to know that.)

In an attempt to bring a smidgen of sanity to this idea of dog-strology, allow me to offer a somewhat more realistic outlook on your dog's nature, based (very loosely) on the unrelated motions of dozens of independent stars and galaxies many trillions of miles apart that appear, to some observers, to suggest certain recognizable shapes if viewed from a vantage point in a tiny sliver of the known universe that happens to contain our planet.

In other words, the first six astrological signs of "The Poochoscope":

Aries: The hothead coke fiend of the canine world, the Aries dog is always ready for a scrap, a tussle, or a manic gallop around the block. Most eager to show his love at three in the morning or during your naps, this lovable ball of spaz will be clamoring to fetch, play, go outside and sing a hearty howl-along with you at all hours of the day and night.

This is one pooch with no off switch. Really. We tried. Even the horse tranqs didn't work. It's quite possible the dog has been possessed by Satan. Good luck with that.

Taurus: Owning a Taurus dog is like having John Goodman stay at your place -- for ten to fifteen years. You'll have some laughs together -- between the binging and the sleeping and the puking all over the rug -- but mostly you'll sit on your asses sucking down Cheetos and beef jerky treats, taking turns out-fatting each other.

Best of all, the Taurus dog is a faithful companion and fiercely loyal. To your couch. And your refrigerator. And your pizza delivery guy. Ooh, is that a regurgitated pepperoni slice on the carpet over there? Yummo, big fella.

Gemini: These are the debutantes and divas of the doggie world. Most Gemini pups weigh less than your average hamster turd, and come wrapped in several pounds of adorable clothing. If you see a dog dressed up in a cowboy suit or a mini-mink coat or pimped out like Lady Gaga's Thai tranny cousin, you're face-to-face with a Gemini starlet.

It's easy to travel with a Gemini dog -- simply stuff them in a pocket or tuck them into your sock, and you're on the move. The subtle squirming and muffled impotent angry yapping will let you know that your passenger is ready to roll.

Cancer: Cancer dogs love to be with their owners. All the time. On the couch, in the bed, quite possibly while pooping -- all. The. Time. And Cancers are a sensitive lot, so the smallest perceived slight or impatient heave out of the way could send them into a mopey funk.

Basically, it's like supporting a needy, unemployed, over-affectionate emo boyfriend. The dog's farts are worse because he only eats horsemeat, but he also won't recite you depressing bits of poetry he wrote while spending the day in the tub listening to the Smiths. It's a toss-up, really.

Leo: There's nothing a Leo pooch likes more than being pampered. Happily, the definition of 'pampered' changes approximately every twelve seconds, so you'll never be bored!

"The kibble I've been eating every day for six years? Eat it now? What are you, simple?" "Nope, don't like those treats any more. Away!" "That toy? That toy sucks, is what that toy does." "Who told you I like Snausages? Was it the cat? Of course it was. Idiot."

Virgo: The key feature of Virgo dogs is how they appreciate routine and order. Creatures of habit and wholly fastidious, these pooches will eat at noon and six precisely, bed down at eight, go for walks at fifteen past every third hour, and see that every person, prop and piece of furniture is in its proper place at all times. So long as all is as expected with no surprises, the Virgo dog will be a model of serene companionship.

Of course, when life happens and you run out of food, sleep in or move the extra couch upstairs, the Virgo dog will careen into uncontrollable panic and chew roughly half the fur off its own ass. Seeing as how its world has been irrevocably shattered, it may also dig holes in the yard (or the shag carpet), wail like a soprano banshee being dipped in an ice bath, or soil every pee--reachable surface in the interior of your home. You might as well feed a pack of rabid gremlins after midnight.

(Stay tuned for the second half of the mighty Poochoscope coming soon. If your dog's sign hasn't come up yet... well, you can probably guess how it turns out. Your dog's kind of an idiot. But a lovable idiot! And that's plenty good enough.)

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