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Sirius, part of the constellation Canis Major, is called the "Dog Star" and it is twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star in the sky.


January 26, 2022

Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives


It is especially powerful in late January, early February. This morning my neighbor said he could have read a newspaper under last night’s moon. I told him that was the Dog Star. He laughed, “why not an elephant star? It was that big!


Sirius, part of the constellation Canis Major, is called the "Dog Star" and it is twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star in the sky.


Reaching into my mailbox, I quipped ‘because elephants never choose to live with humans.’ He raised an eyebrow. Without thought I explained that the dog star is to remind us to be more loving and loyal to the only animal that will never forsake us. He nodded thoughtfully, puffing his empty pipe.


As I walked back in the house, sorting my mail I thought yes, the dog deserves a star, so I looked up that constellation Sirius. I can read crystal but I’m not good with stars. Yet, like every human, I like to look up and watch the stars move across the night sky in seeming synchrony with the moon. Yes, I know it is earth that rotates but people have always been guided by the stars so they must have known that too.


It occurred to me that you don’t need a crystal ball or a dog star to see that the dog is unique among all animals. A dog will not even forsake a person that beats him. And it doesn’t care if you are rich, poor, or homeless. A dog will keep you warm if you have no blanket. It will love you and protect you no matter what!


Back to Sirius. You’ve heard the term “dog days of summer” which are the hottest months. That’s because from July 3 through Aug. 11, the Dog Star, rises in perfect timing with the sun.


Sirius, meaning “big dog” in Latin, is not only the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major but it represents one of Orion's hunting dogs. Who was Orion? I know animals a lot better than astronomy… but I knew you would ask I looked it up… Orion was a master huntsman that Zeus placed up there with the other stars.


Google says “Zeus is the god of the sky in ancient Greek mythology” and that Zeus is considered the “father of all gods and humans.” I’m assuming Zeus would be the boss star for all animals as well. Actually, I found out that “Zeus became the ruler of heaven and Earth along with his brothers Hades and Poseidon. Hades ruled the underworld, while Poseidon ruled the sea.” I’ll bet Hades never saw a dog…



Back to your horoscope and Sirius being such a bright star in Orion’s pack of hunting dogs. I’m a “cat person” but I know a dog can find your shoes or your sandwich no matter where you put them. So the dog belongs in Orion with that famous hunter. My bridge partner once said something like “there’s never been a Chihuahua born that couldn’t find a lap!” I smugly added “And any dog can track a human to the kitchen” and everyone laughed and agreed. See? I know a lot about dogs for a “cat lady.”


When you glance down at the dog snoozing by your feet, you get the feeling that there’s a lot more you didn’t know about the greatest “star” in the animal kingdom.



So what about cats? I confess, cats are my first love, they fit better in the lap and well, dogs can’t purr. So since we’re talking about the sky, I must also tell you about the Felis constellation. Felis is Latin for cat and that constellation was found and named by a French astronomer in 1799. His name was Jérôme Lalande. His discovery was named HD 85951 by the International Astronomical Union back in 2018 but we know it as the cat constellation.


One more thing, speaking of moons and for the benefit of my neighbor who keeps prodding me to do his, yes, I have been known to “tell fortunes” but no, I have not found a treasure chest. The truth is that fortune tellers can read your past, your personality and your financial status (important!) better than they can manage their own fortunes!


It fascinates me that since the beginning of time people have looked up to the stars, metaphorically and literally. I’m not sure what horoscopes can tell us about the future but when my Persian purrs on my lap and a spaniel is curled at my feet, I know my own destiny is secure. EST 2002 © Jan 2022



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