The dog—the story’s only living character—appears on the house’s doorstep at noon, shivering. The house recognizes it and lets the dog in, which suggests that it was once the family pet. The story goes on to say that the dog used to be large and fleshy but has since been worn away by sickness and hunger in the aftermath of the nuclear explosion that killed the family that once occupied the house. Even from the first moment the house encounters the dog, the reader suspects that the house does not like it. At the very least, the house is disgusted by all the mud that the dog tracks inside and cleans it up using robot mice. The dog searches for its family, realizes that no one is home, smells some pancakes cooking in the next room, and dies in a lonely frenzy. As soon as the house discovers that the dog is dead, it quickly disposes of the body. The dog’s brief and pitiable appearance in the story creates juxtaposition between the loving world the reader lives in and the heartless, mechanical realm of the story.