What I've Been Doing


So far, my new year has been full of pooh and pee—and I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's been almost three weeks since I brought home JoJo, my 4-month-old male Rottweiler mix puppy… and my life has completely changed, for the absolute better. This is the first pet I've had as an adult, though I'd wanted one for a while (see 'my wants' from Mar 06). And let's just say he's kicking my ass (in terms of how much training and caring and playing and loving attention he requires of me).

I'm also madly in love with this incredibly adorable poopy puppy.

In traditional astrology, pets fall under the domain of the 6th house, generally considered a house of unglamorous work and earthly servitude. Caring for a pet goes along with our other day-to-day duties—like showing up for our scheduled shift promptly at 8:00 am, attending to personal hygiene, and making sure we've had our three square meals (or five-to-six smaller ones, as they're now recommending) and our thirty minutes of exercise.

In the days leading up to JoJo's adoption, the packed lineup of planets in Sagittarius was crammed into my natal 6th house (and conjunct my natal Neptune), spurring me to move boldly ahead into pet ownership, though I'd long feared the increase in responsibility. I wondered if I'd ever be ready… but how can you prepare for such a thing? At some point, you've got to just take the plunge and trustfully take action—which is exactly what the Sagittarian influence on my 6th house encouraged me to do.

Of course, it didn't hurt to read the uncannily apropos words in my January horoscope from esteemed colleague Susan Miller on her Astrology Zone website: '[T]his month, at the full moon, January 3 plus or minus four days, you may decide to add a new little creature to your household. If you do select a new pet, you and your little guy will find a connection instantly.'

I went to pick up JoJo from the shelter on Jan 3, during the Cancer full moon—which fell in the solar 6th house of Aquarians like me, likely providing the astro-rationale behind Miller's comment. When the trainer put JoJo down on the ground, he walked right up to me, stood on my feet and pressed his little puppy body against my legs. I thought, 'There's our instant connection.' What a great example of how sun-sign horoscopes really can help. While I'm quite sure every Aquarian isn't bringing home a new pet this month, for those of us who are, reading those words was intensely affirming.

Cosmic affirmations such as this don't just show up in horoscope columns. I experienced another miraculous occurrence during the process that was clearly a sign JoJo was the dog intended for me. Originally, I'd applied to adopt Jura, another Rott-mix puppy whose picture was posted on the shelter's website. The morning before I was to find out whether I'd gotten her, I was absentmindedly pondering possible names for her. (I'm not a fan of 'Jura'.) One that popped into my head fairly quickly was JoJo… though I just as quickly ruled it out, since friends of mine have a cat named JoJo. As far as I was concerned, reusing a pet name (or a child name, for that matter) within your community of friends is a major no-no.

Later, when the woman from the shelter called to tell me Jura went to another family, I was sad but not necessarily surprised. What did surprise the shit of me, however, was when she went on to say, 'Did anyone tell you that Jura has a brother who's also available for adoption… named JoJo?' The intuitive tingles on the crown of my head flared up, and I knew he was my dog. Naturally, I couldn't possibly change his name.

Those of you who care for pets probably know this already… but I've been rapidly learning how many of my own ego/personality issues are being raised and shoved in my face through the act of rearing a young pup. JoJo's my furry mirror, showing me glimpses of my need to control, my ambivalent relation to self-assertion, my know-it-all attitude, and the bossy tone I sometimes take with my partner. He's also made me more content in my present moment, which is hard for an ambitious achiever like me who's always aiming at a bigger-and-higher goal. And with the added duties infringing themselves into my already-packed schedule, I actually find myself becoming more organized and getting more done. Who'd have thunk it?

So now there's a hole in my living-room carpet, bits of kibble under my bed, and a couple bite marks on my hand… my house smells like dog… I can't sleep past 7:00 am because the little monster needs to pee… and all I can talk to my friends about is what kind of toys JoJo likes best or if he's finally getting used to playing well with other puppies.

I wouldn't have it any other way.