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."