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This was a very short short story, a few pages IIRC. I read it recently (within the past five years) in English, although of course the story could have been older and it could have been a translation. I think I read it in an anthology that I got from the library, but I have gone through my check-out history with my library and had no luck.

Likewise no luck with Google, DuckDuckGo, and TVTropes.

I think there was a foreshadowing of the reveal when the leader of the crew claims the planet by burying a bone on its surface, and the last line of the story is something like "He [the leader of the crew] knew he was a Good Dog".

Edited to add: I don't recall what happened to eradicate the human race in the story, but I do remember that the dogs talk (right before that last line) about claiming the planets to have habitable worlds ready for the humans' return. That's why the leader is a "Good Dog" - he's doing his duty for humankind.

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  • I think I remember the story because of that last line and the reveal. The dog being reported to his human his success. The humans were not dead, and the dogs were humanoid, so the reader does not learn until the very last scene that the protagonists had descended from dogs, and were loyal and faithful. Does that sound familiar?
    – user160795
    Jan 24, 2023 at 2:47
  • That doesn't sound familiar, in that I'm pretty sure the humans were all gone and the dogs only talked among themselves, but perhaps I'm remembering it wrong. I'd be happy to read the story you are recalling to see if that's it (even if it's not, it sounds pretty interesting). Do you recall the story name or author?
    – Jim
    Jan 31, 2023 at 2:10
  • Nope, been looking. That last line - knew he was a Good Dog - is very familiar. Thanks for bringing this one up. I am looking forward to learning what story it is.
    – user160795
    Jan 31, 2023 at 2:42

1 Answer 1

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This is probably one of the short stories that make up City by Cliff Simak. Many of the stories follow dogs (given speech and some mental augmentation by humans) after humans vanished without explanation (something like "no one noticed they were leaving, until they'd been gone a long time").

Eventually, the dogs, too, abandoned Earth and left it to the ants, who by then were building cities that eventually combined to cover the entire surface of the Earth -- only to itself, in turn, be abandoned by the ants.

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  • It doesn't ring any bells and I'm fairly sure I've read all of these
    – Valorum
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:06
  • Thanks for the suggestion, but that's not it. It may be a related story, though; perhaps even by the same author.
    – Jim
    Dec 27, 2022 at 17:17

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