This is a story written and published in 2007.  I really miss the sweet dogs I had for all of those years.  Lucky Girl was the last in a long line of dogs---loved them all and shed many a tear when I lost them.

Lucky was out for her midnight stroll that she took every night. Once the humans had gone to bed and all of the lights had been turned off, Lucky felt like her duties of watching her family could be delayed for a little while. This was Lucky’s favorite time of the day, her time to sniff around the neighborhood and make sure all was well. It was a silent ritual with the only sound being the soft padding of her paws as she made the rounds. The light from the moon lit her path, but even in the pitch dark her eyes adjusted and she could make her way down the rutted paths that she trotted down every night, no matter what the weather. Her ears were perked up for any sound and her nose was pointed into the wind following the familiar smells as they drifted through the night air.

The house next door was quiet as Lucky approached it. She had to be careful of her steps since the kids that lived in this house left their toys in different places everyday. Lucky made her way to the garbage cans for a sniff. Human’s garbage told a lot about them and their lives. As Lucky smelled the tall green cans, she noticed the broken toys thrown into the bins beside the cans. There had been an entire new batch of toys that appeared a few nights before and the kids had been busy playing with all of them since then. It seemed the toys in the bin were a combination of toys that Lucky had sniffed many times and a few of the new toys. The house full of kids was always active and fun to play with, but you had to be careful since they could play very roughly. Lucky always picked her time to go by this house, since it was always best to trot over when the kids had already been playing for a while, they didn’t play quite so rough after they had been out for a while. There was lots of squealing, laughing, shouting, and sometimes crying from this house, but Lucky enjoyed her infrequent visits. One more sniff before moving on and Lucky detected the left over fish sticks and chicken nuggets that she often smelled in this garbage. These humans always had fish and chicken and sometimes macaroni and cheese in their garbage. Lucky was not interested in these left overs tonight, since she had been well fed by her humans and it was a lot of trouble to turn over the cans.

Lucky trotted on down the path to the next house and found lights still on and loud music coming from the room high up in the house. This house was always full of lights late at night, but if you went by anytime in the morning it was quiet. The garbage cans were full of tin soda cans and cardboard boxes full of pizza crust. The cans were always full of soda cans and often had cardboard or styrophone boxes with the smell of food on them, but almost always empty of food. Lucky did not understand these humans. Most of the humans in her world were out and gone early in the day and came home when it was dark, but these humans had different patterns. The big humans followed the same pattern as all of the others, but there were humans who lived in this house who stayed inside during the daylight time and were noisy and busy during the nighttime hours. This was difficult to figure out, but Lucky did occasionally enjoy the midnight game with the ball.

It was time to move on down the street and the next house was dark and quiet. Lucky approached the cans knowing that she would not detect any smell. These humans had garbage with no smell and Lucky was curious about that. Just to see what was going on; Lucky had turned the can over one night. She had discovered once she tore through the first big sack that there were more sacks inside. Upon tearing into those sacks she found each sack contained different things. Some sacks had only paper, some sacks had only cans that had all been washed out and had no odor, some sacks had food that had been carefully wrapped and taped up. These bundles of food were very difficult to get into since they were so tightly bound with the tape. Lucky did not understand these humans and their sacks in sacks, so she just gave a quick sniff and trotted on down the street. Some things were more trouble than they were worth and this house with its neatness and order was boring and empty of any interesting smells.

The next house was dark, but for some strange reason as soon as Lucky trotted up to the cans, a light came on-right over the cans. The cans were all by large stakes that had chains attached to the cans. You were lucky to even get a sniff at this house before one of the humans came running out of the door yelling at you. Some humans were just not very friendly and better avoided. Lucky always went by, but never stopped since she knew she was not welcome.

As Lucky began to head back home, she decided upon one last stop at the house across the street from her humans. These were her favorite humans on her stroll everyday. She knew she would not have to sniff around the garbage here, since these humans always left her a snack by the back door. Tonight Lucky was really lucky, the bowl had a steak bone left from the cookout earlier in the evening. Lucky had smelled the delicious aroma when she was tending to her humans. She knew that at the end of her walk tonight there would be a treat in the bowl, since they always left Lucky a treat. When these humans were outside, they always had a friendly word and a pat on the head for Lucky. They were her favorite humans, except for her family.

Lucky took the bone and headed home. She slowly circled on her warm blankets getting just the right spot for chewing her bone and maybe taking a nap. It was time to guard her family and listen for any strange noises from the evening. The night would be quickly over and tomorrow would bring another busy day. Lucky relished  the bone and then slowly nodded off to sleep. The neighborhood became quiet and still and Lucky dreamed doggie dreams of being indeed a “Lucky Dog.”

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