The twelve Animal Signs
His physical background
People often say of the Dog male: "He's born an old man." The remark is fairly accurate, for the native never offers an air of freshness and insouciance, even as a child. He always looks morose, tense, austere, even tormented, as if suffering eternally from constipation or disappointment. In addition, with his awkward gait and slight stoop, he gives out every indication that he carries all of the world's misfortunes on his shoulders.
This individual is never quite happy with the physical aspect he projects. It pains him to realize his natural stiffness, clumsiness, and lack of refinement. If he labors under timidity, it is because he feels ill at ease in his body which he finds unattractive and unprepossessing.
He is often thin, even emaciated, no matter how rich his diet may be. With his high, bony stature, his narrow shoulders, his long and gnarled hands, he presents a rather caricatural appearance - and he knows it.
His face makes no happy contrast with the rest of his physique. It recalls the head of a goat. His nose is long and drooping, his eyes somewhat dull and downcast, his ears larger than the average, and his mouth bordered with thin, tight lips. He rarely has abundant hair and is liable to precocious baldness.
His health is basically sound. His most appreciable advantage lies in his tremendous nervous stamina - he can resist the stresses and strains of modern life better than the majority of people. Although his organism tends to show outward signs of senescence somewhat prematurely, he feels better and better physically as he advances in years and his endurance increases with age. He almost inevitably suffers from arthritis during a major part of his life and for this reason, according to popular belief, is not exposed to untimely natural death.
This is essentially an emotional person whose reactions do not lack intensity. But people around him are hardly aware of it because he exercises self-control very well - perhaps too well to stay on the safe side healthwise.
He is not a hypochondriac in the usual acceptation of the word, that is, he does not spend his time worrying about his real or imaginary diseases and having them treated by a host of puzzled specialists. On the contrary, he hates illness so much that he always shows reluctance to consult a doctor or undergo a regular medical checkup for fear of discovering an affection. In case of unmistakable trouble, he may choose to simply ignore it, or to fight bitterly against it in the hope of recovering his well-being as rapidly as possible.
As indicated earlier, his joints often make him suffer considerably. Actually, his whole skeleton can be the seat of various deformations and disorders, with scoliosis and rheumatism ranking among the most frequent ones.
His skin constitutes another of his weak spots. Usually dry and fragile, it is constantly liable to scratches, eczema, herpes, psoriasis, prurigo, and urticaria: Cold weather may cause him itching and chapping. More often than not many of his skin affections are nothing else than his own way to ease his internal tensions and conflicts, and it may be in his interest not to obstruct this outlet completely lest it should be replaced with much more serious illnesses.
A slowing down of physiological exchanges is always possible in his case. Unless he takes appropriate preventive measures, hypotension is likely to set in, so are arteriosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, constipation, and faulty elimination of toxins. Even in the best conditions the prospect of his machine's getting clogged up could not be definitely averted.
Nobody would contest the Dog man's image as an extremely hard worker. But his worst weakness lies precisely here: He tends to overestimate his power of endurance and push his luck too far, always hoping that everything will be all right. He easily lets himself be caught up in the train of his multiple activities, paying no attention to his minor and major miseries as though they simply did not exist. And when suddenly cut down by an illness, he will be the first one to be surprised - and furious because he does not give himself the right to fall ill.
In all good common sense, he must fully realize his own limits and respect his own physiological tempo. Basically a peasant like his Buffalo counterpart, he can find his interest in adapting his rhythm to that of nature - by rising and going to bed with the sun, eating mostly seasonal products, and leading a simple life.
He must drink profusely in order to ensure an adequate elimination. It is well for him to know that citrus foods, such as grapefruits and cherries, as well as cabbage and red cabbage aid the eliminative organs in their work very effectively beside being quite rich in vitamins and minerals. A big cup of celery stock every day could work wonders with him.
Emphasis must be placed on cheese of every variety and other dairy products, rich in calcium, which his skeleton needs in order to stay in good condition. He may not be aware of it, but regular sexual activity has been proven to be an excellent antidote to arthritis.
Daily physical exercise would be more indispensable to him than to others because of his greater tendency to go rusty. An extended period of inactivity could rapidly introduce a self-intoxication process in him, which is likely to entail as nefarious as varied consequences. While a moderate sport is highly recommendable, systematic gymnastics, practiced every day, would be vital. He must also force himself to take a long walk every now and then, preferably in a wood or the countryside.