When Katie sees a skinny, matted mutt getting stoned in the junkyard by a bunch of teenage boys, she is struck by the misery in the dog's eyes. She decides to help him, but can't bring him home; no pets are allowed in the projects where she lives. Katie secretly brings food and water for Lucky, as she calls him. Caught sneaking food from home, she confesses to her mom and her aloof stepfather. They allow her to help Lucky with two conditions: that she pays for his food, and that she obtains permission from the mean junkyard owner. Lucky blossoms under her ministrations, but the pending winter looks brutal; Katie builds a doghouse with the aid of her stepfather, and in saving Lucky, saves her family, too. This could have been one sappy story, but Tamar (The Things I Did Last Summer, 1994, etc.) has created a wise, wonderful tale of an ordinary girl who is transformed by the power of love into a self-reliant individual. It's just plain touching.