This book is dedicated to Val Jerome who played two roles in seeing this book through–first in winning over our hearts when she won over the hearts of our dogs, Boo and Lucy. Her second role–and perhaps the more important in terms of this book–was having the vision for how it should all go together. Thank you, Val!

The stories in You Lucky Dog! feature many stray dogs that found–or made for themselves–a "forever" home. I hope this book will help increase awareness that shelter dogs can be wonderful companions. While Benji and Toto are "poster dogs" for the stray or homeless dog, there are so many other great animals out there waiting to be adopted.

I also want to dedicate the book to the volunteers who work tirelessly to care for and place these dogs. I will continue my personal commitment to donating regularly each year to organizations that help rescue these animals.

Kate Kelly



You Lucky Dog! is an uplifting compilation of true stories about homeless dogs that somehow survived and thrived to become local or national celebrities. You Lucky Dog! takes us through the historic triumphs of many beloved American dogs, and beautifully recounts the dire adversity each of these amazing creatures faced en route to a grand, serendipitous destiny.

One such story features Bum, a steamship stowaway, St. Bernard mix that, in 1886, disembarked in San Diego. He chose to remain there long enough for the townsfolk to fall in love with him and appoint him the town dog. Despite the efforts by many to adopt him, Bum loved adventure, and refused to stay put. After hopping a northbound freight train, a local San Diego reporter/telegrapher alerted the northern stations en route that San Diego's beloved town dog was aboard, and asked if, upon Bum's arrival, they would show him the local sights then send him home on the next train south, guaranteeing the railroad would pay his passage.

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