February 16 ushers in the beginning of a new Chinese year; 2018 is the Year of the Dog. Not to be confused with a 2007 indie film of the same name, Year of the Dog signifies the eleventh position in the Zodiac, right between the Rooster and the Pig. Lucky colors for this year are red, purple and green; the lucky flower is the rose and you can bet on lucky number 3. People born during “dog years” include Winston Churchill (1874), Bill Clinton and Donald Trump (both 1946) as well as Mother Theresa (1910) and Madonna (1958); “human dogs” are known for being hard-working, communicative, loyal, stubborn and brave.
David Copperfield, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, was originally created by Charles Dickens. Dickens, though a born Monkey, was very fond of dogs. Not only did he champion the Battersea Dogs Home, a safe haven for London strays, he owned several canines during his lifetime, including bloodhounds and St. Bernards. Perhaps his favorite pet was a sprightly white spaniel called Timber, given to him in 1843. In his diaries, Dickens mentions Timber far more than he does his own wife, Catherine, or his infant children (of whom he would eventually father 10–Charles that is; Timber apparently died without progeny, having once returned “in disgrace and mortification” from an encounter Dickens had arranged for him with breeding in mind). Timber did, however, excel at jumping over sticks and if coaxed would stand on two legs in a corner of the drawing room.