The Project Gutenberg eBook of Earth's Gone to the Dogs!

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Title: Earth's Gone to the Dogs!

Author: William J. McClellan

Illustrator: W. E. Terry

Release date: July 30, 2021 [eBook #65959]

Language: English

Credits: Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


Ruskin didn't like archeologists; they
were always digging up problems from the past.
Like the day Bigelow walked in and announced—

Earth's Gone To The Dogs!

By William J. McClellan

[Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy
October 1954
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

Ruskin leaned back and yawned—the porch chair creaked comfortably. It was a comfortable day. Fifty yards away the barnyard was alive with Spring noises. Clean crisp smells floated to him through the bright morning air.

Daisy walked slowly up and watched him with big affectionate eyes. Ruskin smiled down at her. She was a pretty one, pretty soft hair, deep blue eyes, lithe rounded lines.

"Nice doggie."

He patted her head gently.

"Nice doggie," he repeated.

Holidays in the country came too seldom.

The quiet was wonderful.

Tom, the wrinkled little farmhand, opened the porch door.

"Mr. Ruskin?"

"Yes, Tom."

"Man here to see you."


"That digger fellow."

Ruskin frowned and swore quietly. Even his holidays were shattered by people who couldn't forget he was Commissioner of Internal Security. And these people were always little unimportant ones, like this archeologist Bigelow, whose little fears suddenly became giant threats to national security.

"Send him out here, Tom."

Tom turned back into the house. Ruskin could hear his gruff voice inside, and a few moments later Bigelow, stooped and bespectacled, emerged from the house.

Ruskin smiled weakly.

"Hello, Bigelow."

"Good morning, Commissioner."

Bigelow stood, clutching his briefcase, shaking with excitement. Then suddenly his eyes fell on Daisy and something like fear passed over his face.

"Sit down, Bigelow."

Bigelow balanced himself delicately on the edge of a porch chair, his briefcase resting on his long bony knees. But his eyes remained fixed on the dog.

"Is this social or business, Bigelow?"

"Sort of both, Commissioner," he answered slowly. Then added quickly, "But I wouldn't disturb your holiday if it wasn't important."

Ruskin nodded dully.

Then several moments of silence during which Bigelow continued to watch Daisy carefully. Finally, since his visitor did not seem inclined to speak, Ruskin asked simply, "Well?"

"First tell the dog to go away."




"I won't say a word with IT here."

Ruskin shrugged.

"As you wish," he said. "Daisy ... go ... go on, like a good girl."

Daisy's big eyes seemed hurt but, reluctantly, she walked away.

Bigelow watched suspiciously after her until she was well out of hearing.

"Now," he began, "a week ago we started digging around the crater on the East Coast where some great pre-Atomic cities once stood...."

Bigelow paused excitedly.

Ruskin sighed. It was much too nice a day....

"... and there we came upon THREE pre-Atomic books!"

Bigelow paused again.

"A wonderful find," Ruskin said, without enthusiasm.

"More wonderful than you think, Commissioner."

Bigelow squared his shoulders dramatically.

"Two of them were much like the other pre-Atomic books in the museums, but the third...."

Bigelow was bursting with excitement.

"... the third had pictures in it!"

Ruskin straightened up.


Never before had a pre-Atomic book been found with pictures. Artists had painted their own versions drawn from the few meager written descriptions....

"How many pictures, Bigelow?"

"Plenty, but just one would be enough to shake the foundations of our social world!"

He opened his briefcase and pulled out a small book protected by its own cloth cover. He opened to a marked page.

"Just take a look at this!"

Ruskin took the book and stared curiously at a picture showing a dressed up dog sitting in a chair patting a human on the head. The caption read: MAN'S BEST FRIEND GETS REWARD.

Ruskin glanced back at Bigelow.

"I don't understand," he said slowly. "Is it some kind of joke-book?"

Bigelow grinned narrowly.

"A very bitter joke, Commissioner. A joke of Mother Nature's."

"I'm still not sure I understand...."

"I think you do, Commissioner," Bigelow countered quickly. "Now so many of the things we couldn't understand become clear to us. The naked animal on the floor in the picture is our ancestor, and the hairless thing in the chair is our dog!"

Ruskin shook his head.


"Not at all! In the lower animal and plant orders more amazing mutations occurred during the Atomic Wars—we just never noticed because they didn't touch us closely."

Ruskin's mind rushed over the implications, all the frightful and carefully ignored aberrations of the Atomic blasts.

If it was true, and he still wouldn't let himself be convinced, it would be a tremendous blow to the morale of Society. And it was his duty to protect the well-being of Society. He must decide ... now ... for Society....

"This is a very delicate problem, Bigelow," he said finally.

"I know, Commissioner."

"You've come upon something ... fantastic."

"Thank you, Commissioner."

"We must handle this very carefully."

"I understand."

"Good. Leave the book with me ... for security reasons ... and I'll figure how to handle it."


"Of course, I'll see that you get all the credit you deserve."

Bigelow rose.

"Very well, Commissioner. I'll leave it in your hands."

He left with the air of a man just conquering the world.

Ruskin sat, the closed book in both hands, for a long long while. It was very late when he called the Psycho Section.

"Yes," Psycho answered. "We have a file on Bigelow."

"Have you ever interned him?"

"No. But he's catalogued as extremely unstable."

"Fine. Thank you."

Ruskin placed the receiver carefully back on the cradle. Nothing to fear from Bigelow. He rose and walked slowly toward the fire.

He looked down at the book.

War! War! War! From the beginning of man almost to his own destruction.

Since the Atomic Wars Earth had been comparatively peaceful—because, people thought, Man had become surfeited of war.

Ruskin frowned.

Attitudes, someone had once said, are more important than facts.

He dropped the book into the flames.

Very well, then.

Let Earth be happy.

Daisy walked slowly over to him and barked quietly. The pretty golden hair hung gently over her shoulders, and her blue eyes were very soft.

Ruskin patted her gently.

"Nice doggie," he said.