The first thing you should know about Virgo dogs is that the Rin Tin Tin was one of them, someone for whom the stars lined up in glorious order. On September 15, 1918, he was just a little 5-day-old German Shepherd Dog (GSD) facing certain death in a bombed out kennel in France, Then an American soldier, Lee Duncan, scooped him up, brought him back home after the war, and the rest is history. Rin Tin Tin became a Hollywood legend, a symbol of courage, strength, and fidelity, and the granddaddy of a line of magnificent working GSDs that survives to this day.
Duncan and Rin Tin Tin
Courtesy Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archives
It’s no wonder that this canine phenomenon was a Virgo. Many of the traits that made him an American icon are found among those who celebrate birthdays between August 24 and September 23, including:
Puppies born under this sign want everything to be just right. They are a bit “fussy,” wrote William Fairchild in Astrology for Dogs (and Owners). “This meticulousness, this minute attention to detail, if not checked or redirected at a early stage, can develop to the point of downright irritation. The best idea is to encourage him to channel it into some kind of useful activity.” Rin Tin Tin exhibited this trait on the set of his very first movie, in which he was filling in for a wolf in The Man From Hell’s River. Although new to movie sets, the young German Shepherd got the job done, flawlessly, in just one take. Fans said that he was able to convey emotion better than a human actor. “A beautiful animal, he has the power of expression in his every movement that makes him one of the leading pantomimists of the screen,” wrote poet Carl Sandberg.
“The Virgoan will be strong and muscular,” notes Liz Tresilian in The Dog Horoscope Book. Rin Tin Tin’s physical prowess was extraordinary. He first came to the attention of the public for such feats as scaling a 12-foot wall. He was known for his ability to hold a pose for as long as it took for cinematographers to get the shot.
Virgo dogs often have little interest in or patience for other members of their species, says Tresilian “The Virgoan will not have much time for dogs, especially young ones.” True to his stars, Rin Tin Tin was known for his short temper, wrote Susan Orlean in her 2011 biography Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. In fight scenes in which he was pitted against wolves, everybody, including the canine star, wore muzzles.
They are very particular about picking their friends. “Any Virgoan would rather be alone than with someone they find objectionable,” wrote Fairchild. That appeared to be a perfect description of Rin Tin Tin. Orlean wrote that he wasn’t a friendly dog. “The only person he was especially interested in was Lee.” Her theory was that his aloofness was the result of a combination of the breed’s tendency to bond tightly to one person and Duncan’s cosseted training, which he preferred to call “education.” But she overlooked the other possibility—that Rin Tin Tin’s incredible devotion was, at least in part, controlled by his stars.
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