I'm trying to recall a story I read about a man alone on a Mars outpost except for the companionship of a dog that had already either been modified post-birth or natally bioengineered to have human-level intelligence.

Over the course of the story, the dog starts getting progressively more moody and withdrawn, and, as is later revealed, develops a bitter obsession with looking up and cataloguing historical articles that contain a phrase like "Fortunately, the only casualty was a dog." By the end, I think the dog may have been psychotic.

I think the man may have been an ultra-wealthy individual who privately bankrolled his exile and the dog's elevation to sapience, but I'm not certain.

I think this was likely in an issue of a magazine like Analog, Asimov's SF, or Clarkesworld, or in a "Year's Best" collection, and was likely from one of the past two decades.

  • If you enjoy sapient dog on Mars stories generally, Andy Weir's Artemis includes them.
    – tgdavies
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 13:09
  • This isn't what you're looking for, but your question reminded me of Desertion by Clifford D. Simak. Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 18:44
  • @KevinWorkman As you say, it's not the story I was recalling (which was identified already), but I can certainly see why you were reminded of the earlier story.
    – Jacob C.
    Commented Mar 22, 2021 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


According to this, the story is “Red Rover, Red Rover” by Howard V Hendrix.

The narrator is a rich old man, and Cogzie is his indulgence. As is moving to Mars, where the enhancers he puts in the dog food gives Cogzie vivid, lucid dreams of dying: “I had been cursed to nine lives’ worth of bad luck, by a black cat avatar of the ancient Egyptian cat-goddess Bastid—according to my dream, anyway.” And the recurring phrase: “Fortunately, the only casualty was a dog.”

I found this by googling "Fortunately, the only casualty was a dog."

  • 3
    Apologies, I googled just "the only casualty was a dog" and got many page and book hits about actual incidents like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse. Clearly I should have included the "fortunately".
    – Jacob C.
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 16:50
  • 10
    @JacobC. It was indeed a trivial search, but the fact that you remembered the exact phrase was what cracked it, awesome memory!
    – user108131
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 17:02
  • Thanks! What's funny is that the reason why I didn't do a quote-enclosed search for the full phrase is that I highly doubted I was remembering the whole phrase correctly.
    – Jacob C.
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 23:52
  • 2
    This is great example of how describing a problem to another person, or writing something clarifies your thoughts and/or condenses down the problem. The number of times I have written a question on SO and then realised the solution myself is staggering! Sorry, that got a bit meta!!
    – josh
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 15:17

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