Friend, loyalty, support, dependence, ask for permission!  

About the meaning: Many Lenormand readers seem content with interpreting the Dog more or less exclusively as a representative of a friend, loyalty, and support. I, too, use these interpretations often. But I also employ several others. They are all deducted from the fact that (in contrast to the rather self-contained cats) dogs very much need close emotional bonds with other dogs or their human owners in order to thrive. Dogs aren't just loyal to their owners. They are also dependent on them.

Friend / follower / helpmate: First and foremost, the Dog represents a person who is in one way or another friendly with or at least acting friendly towards the querent. This person could be a long-time friend, but they could also be a kind person who has only recently entered the querent's life. Traditionally, the Dog is often seen as a representative of a health professional. I myself have found it more helpful in a lot of cases to interpret the Dog as someone who is a follower - someone who, in one way or another, ranks (themselves, or objectively) below the querent. In that sense, the Dog can represent someone's helpmate or sidekick, an employee, or someone who is very submissive to or even devoted to the querent. Depending on context, the Dog might also mean that the querent themselves is showing these qualities.

Friendship / loyalty / support: Apart from representing a friendly person, the Dog can also stand for friendship itself, for being friendly, for making friends, for acts of kindness. And it can represent an attitude we usually expect at least from close friends: loyalty. In many, maybe most, cases the Dog will represent loyalty in a positive, productive sense. But sometimes loyalty can become inappropriate or harmful, for example, when we remain loyal to someone even though their behaviour or the behaviour they expect from us goes against our moral conscience. In addition, well-behaved dogs are happy to help their humans, they want to support them. Some can seem so selflessly helpful that you could almost say they have "helper's syndrome". This is an originally German term which applies to the behaviour of people who define themselves so much by their helping profession (or their role as nurturing parent, supportive partner etc.) that they have become addicted to helping and do it even when it exhausts themselves to the point of burnout, or when it is not needed or inappropriate. This is why in some cases I interpret the Dog as support which exhausts or damages the supporter, or as unwelcome, importunate, and actually egotistically motivated "pseudo help".

Devotedness / uncritical worship: Loyalty taken a step further, and what so many dogs seem to show their owners, is devotedness. So the Dog sometimes represents devotedness; a mindset in which a person's whole focus, all their thinking, feeling, and acting, is oriented towards something or someone they worship. In some contexts, this can be seen positively. The Dog might mean that someone is able to full-heartedly abandon themselves to someone or something good for them. But the card can also represent a person who is uncritical of ideologies, someone who is prone to unquestioning admiration, is unable or unwilling to critically question or scrutinise people or ideas they have given their heart to. The Dog can stand for an inability to form critical, independent opinions.

Dependence / compliance / ask for permission!: I mentioned in the introduction that something which distinguishes dogs from cats is that dogs' happiness (on the whole) is much more dependent on having secure relationships with others. This might be one of the reasons why they are also much more dirigible. The Dog thus represents not just loyalty and friendship to me, but also obedience, tractability, compliance, and dependence. It can stand for an anxiety to please, or a habit of letting others tell us what to do. The Dog can mean that we follow someone else's orders because we are too weak or insecure to stand up for ourselves. All this is rather negative. But in moderation, the ability to be a loyal follower can be a good thing. The Dog can say that we should listen to others more, that we need to at least obtain the opinion of others before we decide something. And in quiet a few cases, I have interpreted the Dog as the advice to ask permission first.

See also the annakblogs article >> So, is the Dog a positive or negative card?

About the Image: Apart from the unusual eye colour for the breed I painted a typical Bernese Mountain Dog - like many other artists have done before me. Bernese Mountain Dogs are especially helpful and friendly. They are very strong, and they have been used for a variety of helping operations, traditionally for pulling carts and sledges, nowadays more as search and rescue dogs. Still, I didn't want my Dog to be just about the dog's support of and loyalty to its owner. I also wanted to get across the dog's need for a confident leader, an eagerness to please, and a sense of emotional dependence on its owner. I wanted my dog to look as if it might get separation anxiety when its owner is away.
My dog is still quite young, not fully grown yet, to emphasise the "dependence" and "in need of leadership" part of the card's meaning. It is sitting right in front of you, looking up at you with an eager, slightly worried expression - it is trying to figure out what you want it to do. The leash the dog carries in its mouth is saying "Please lead me!" or, more playfully, "Let's do things together!" Also, the leash looks a bit like an umbilical cord, connecting the dog with its owner. Apart from the leash I decided against including common doggy accessories (hut, food bowl, toys etc.) so that nothing would distract from this card's most important feature: the dog's direct eye contact. There is nothing in the world this dog wants more than doing things with and for its owner.  
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