by Lynn Katz

It was a rainy, raw, boring, March day.

My daughter, Johanna, was home from college for her semester break.

We wanted to go to the movies but couldn’t agree on a film.

“Let’s visit the Connecticut Humane Society,” Johanna suggested. “Just to look, of course.”

Just to look?

I was still grieving the loss of our first dog, Nikki, and had no intention of rescuing another pet.

It was too soon.

As the principal of an elementary school, I was way too busy.

My kids lived way too far away and wouldn’t be home to train or take care of a new pet.

And adopting a pet was not even on my husband’s radar.

But, hey.

We couldn’t agree on a movie, and so visiting the Connecticut Humane Society was something fun to do on a rainy, raw, boring, March day.

Besides, we’d just be looking.

Later that day, we spent a wonderful hour strolling through an enormous room, meeting dozens of dogs who were hoping for a forever home.

Although there were a few who tugged at our heartstrings, we didn’t quite fall in love, and besides, we were just looking.

On our way out, Johanna noticed a photograph on the bulletin board near the front desk.

The sign said: If you’d like to meet Cybil, just ask.

They told us that Cybil was separated from the other animals because she was recuperating from surgery.

She’d been discovered wandering the streets of Newington, CT without a collar, and needed to have her decayed teeth removed.

Other than her teeth, she was in great health, and ready for adoption.

Despite the condition of her teeth, her estimated age was five years old.

Did we want to meet her?

Yes, we did.

My daughter and I waited in a small, adoption meeting room.

“We’re just here to look,” I reminded Johanna.

She smiled, knowingly, when suddenly, a toothless, mixed breed, 20-pound, sandy-colored creature leaped into the room, jumped into our laps, and burrowed herself straight into our hearts.



So much for just looking.

We fell head-over-heels in love.

The only thing left to do was fill out the adoption papers and decide on a new name, one that suited her better than Cybil.

I decided to enlist the help of my students.

After receiving hundreds of recommendations, we went with the most popular choice.

That’s how Lucy got her name, and it suited her perfectly.

As a writer, you often hear the advice, “write what you know.”

So, when I began writing my middle-grade novel, Chester and the Magic Eight Ball, I stole our dog-rescue experience from my life.

Chester and the Magic Eight Ball

Other than the fact that Chester can predict the future with a Magic 8 Ball, and Lucy never demonstrated any psychic abilities, these two canines share many important traits.

They are both toothless, smart, and impossibly lovable.

They both teach their humans important lessons about life and the magical power of love.

The moral of the story: The next time you visit a dog-rescue center and tell yourself you’re just there to look…you’re only kidding yourself!

About Lynn Katz
Author Lynn KatzLynn Katz is a retired teacher and school principal who has a soft spot in her heart for toothless, rescue dogs. She writes full-time for both children and adults, and is a member of her town’s Board of Education. You can learn more about Lynn on her website:

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