What The Year Of The Dog Means For You

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
The Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, starts today, ushering in the year of the Dog and kindly showing the year of the Rooster out. According to Chinese astrologer Laura Lau, this year will feel very different from last year — and that might be for the better.
Lau says that, within the Chinese Zodiac, the Dog is a true companion, associated with loyalty, honesty, intelligence, and a strong sense of right and wrong, as opposed to the Rooster, which has a tendency to be demanding and a tad persnickety. "Dogs are known to be swift and passionate believers in their own personal philosophy," Lau says. "The Dog does his best to protect high-integrity people and support their cause."
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In other words, this year of the Dog may see people fighting for the causes they believe in. This influence could manifest itself as large-scale political movements or something as simple as local community work and small acts of kindness. We're inclined to believe we'll see more of the latter than the former, due to this year's representative element: earth.
"The earth element makes this a gentler dog than other elements," Lau says. This element encourages us to take a cooler-headed approach to problems, rather than letting our emotions flare up and get the better of our reasoning. With that in mind, our activist spirit may be tempered slightly, but we'll have enough objectivity to see where our efforts would be best directed.
According to a widely held belief, those born in previous years of the Dog (including 1994 and 1982) might be in for a rough (ruff?) time this year — we're looking at you, Kate Middleton, Nicki Minaj, and Saoirse Ronan. "Generally, the year of your birth is known to be a more difficult year than others," Lau says, explaining that your birth year may present you with a string of bad luck or additional hardships. But, she adds that the sign of the Dog is so good-natured that you might fare better than other signs during their respective years. "Dogs tend to play well with one another," she says. "But it never hurts to be cautious and especially generous during your native year."
Whatever sign you may be (and if you don't know, you can look it up here), the year of the Dog is a great time to reach out to those around you and become a friendly presence in their lives, if not a true friend. And, if you're already speaking out for your values, you just might get an energizing boost this year.
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