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Sometime back in the 70's or so, I read a story that I vaguely remember, and I'd love to know the name and author. In the bulk of the story, all the humans leave Earth, for some reason I don't remember. The part that sticks with me is that at the very end, a group of raccoons are sitting around eating something, and one of them notices that there's a dog sitting quietly near the group. The raccoon stares at the dog speculatively for a minute, and then throws him some food. End of story. The implication is that after the humans are gone, the raccoons will be taking over as the dominant species, and the dogs are going to suck up to them.

Anyone recognize this story? I swear I didn't make this up.

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King of the Hill by Chad Oliver. I first read it in Harlan Ellison's collection Again, Dangerous Visions.

A short time later, the dog showed up, out in the shadows cast by the firelight. He whined. He thumped his shaggy tail. He oozed friendship.
The raccoons ignored him for a few nights. They huddled together, dimly proud of what they had done. They thought it over.
Eventually, one of the raccoons threw him a bloody bone, and the dog came in.

Earth is doomed and a visionary called Sam Gregg genetically modifies animals to live on Titan then sends a ship there with the animal eggs and sperm on board - effectively an ark. The scene above is on Titan in the future after mankind has died out on Earth.

  • That's the one. Thanks so much! – Jon B. Sep 5 '16 at 15:32

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