Jackie Thatcher was on an emotional roller coaster. That had been the case from the moment her nose had started turning upward and becoming damp, but now that she was home, after all she had gone through, it felt like her mood was swinging like nothing else.

With Matt around, she'd felt pressure to restrain herself at least a little bit - but now she was alone in her room. She'd woken up and looked in her mirror - and seen her true self there. Who she'd always wanted to be. In private, she could smile back at it, wag her tail, and bask in all the amazing senses.

She felt like her brain was just shooting her with dopamine. Something she'd dreamed about since she was little, and had read a book about a girl becoming a dog, had finally come true.

But then she looked at texts from friends, asking her about what had happened. Those who knew asked for pictures, those who didn't voiced that they suspected she had "the canine virus."

And then she would swing from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. She sobbed uncontrollably into her pillow, feeling like she might puke from how awful she felt. She spent the whole day alone in that cycle. With her mom working downstairs, Jackie was left to bounce back and forth, between crying from happiness and crying from grief.

She felt ashamed. She doubted if she really wanted this or if it would get old and obnoxious quickly.

She'd read a story once her sophomore year, about a "monkey's paw" - it granted wishes, but twisted, cursed ones. She had wished all her life for this, and now the finger on the monkey's paw had curled. She ran through imaginary scenarios in her mind, imagining that she'd instead wished to become a full dog - as if that would have affected the real world outcome.

But that wasn't what she wanted. She wanted to still have a normal life. She still wanted to talk to her friends and family. And what if she had fully changed into a dog? What if she was now her mom's pet, and Matt had become a pet himself? Would she really be happy?

Multiple times since getting home, in a half delirious state, she whispered to the universe, or God, and asked that the transformation would make her fully a dog. She wanted to escape all this. She wanted to stop worrying about the outside world and how everyone would inevitably reject her.

She knew that was false. Despite that, she kept telling the lie to herself anyway. She was stuck in a black hole of hopelessness and it felt like she'd need to break physics to escape. There was no point in fighting it. The world was not going to announce tomorrow that everyone was going to welcome the deformed dog creatures. She may as well accept that she was going to be mocked, attacked, hated, and shunned by everyone out there.

Parts of her insisted on fighting against that. Even as she cried against her pillow, ready to tear it to pieces with how angry she was that the world sucked so much, she knew that even though they would have a hard time at first, her friends and family did care about her. Matt cared about her.

No. She'd seen how he'd reacted after she'd told him that she was a furry. He had been weirded out, but how would all the normal people react to finding out that she liked this? They would find out. People at school would notice her happily wagging her tail. They'd see what a sick weird person she was.

And again she thought of Matt. Even if he seemed to accept her now, how would he change his tune if she was more honest? How would he really react if she admitted she had fallen for him more and more as he'd changed into a dog? How would she ever tell him without breaking apart that she thought he looked so cute the way he smiled with his big floppy ears? She was certain that he was thinking about what she'd already said, that he was wracking his brain about how weird she was, that she enjoyed this herself, and found him attractive as a dog person.

Gosh... she just felt so gross. She hated it. She hated that she was this way. There was no escape. Every potential future for her was awful. They could come up with a cure, and she would feel ashamed as everyone wondered why she didn't change back - and if she did change back, she would feel miserable.

Throughout her life, she had read about, and seen people who didn't care what others thought of them. But she wasn't one of those people. She was not going to become some trailblazer fighting impossible odds. They were impossible odds after all, and it was therefore impossible to stand against them.

They were all right. What she was obsessed with... the very person she was... was wrong. It was not right for a human to be totally into having fur and a tail. She wasn't human. She was subhuman. If she stayed this way, she'd endure a new form of prejudice - speciesism. People in the past had exercised every other form of hate under the sun - it had been terrible, but it had been against people. Human beings.

But this was far different. She was willingly embracing a radical change to her genetics. She wanted to hold onto something that could turn horrible and cancerous - and could be silently killing her even right now. She was no longer human, and looked so strange. The average person would forever see her as something bizarre and different.

It just... didn't feel fair. No way forward was good. Her future was bleak. There seemed to be little point in continuing... but she was scared of the alternative. She was scared of... everything.

A knock came at the door.

"Hey Jackie," her mom said.

She was silent. Her mom opened the door. Jackie was facedown against her pillow, but heard her mom sigh, and sit down on the bed next to her.

"I guess I can't blame you for what you're feeling right now."

"I hate this Mom," she sobbed. "I just... everything about this is so... so stupid."

Jackie felt her mom press her hand against her back, rubbing the fur. It was meant to be a comforting gesture, but instead only made her feel embarrassed. She also realized that her tail was sticking up in the air behind her, plain to see.

There was silence. Well, her mom was quiet. Nothing was really silent anymore with her powerful ears. She could hear the TV on downstairs, all the house's appliances running... it was something she wasn't sure she could live with.

"Everyone," Jackie cried, "is going to hate me. People will make fun of me. My friends will be afraid to be around me..."

"Well," her mom said, "there are people like Matt - other people who changed that will understand you."

"No," she said, burying her face - and her newly formed muzzle and snout - into her pillow. "They don't... they don't...."

"They don't what?"

"They don't... get me."

"What do you mean?"

Jackie let out a big sob. She felt awful, like absolute crap. Her facial fur was stained with tears, and the crying had stuffed up her sinuses - which felt weird with the changes. Now she had to talk about this.

"You... you remember...," she sputtered, "what I've told you."

"I think so," her mom said. "What specifically?"

She groaned. "Mom... please don't make me talk about this again. Please don't make me talk about this... please don't make me dwell on what a weird person I am."

Her mom let out a breath, and Jackie could feel the frustration contained in it.

"Jackie... listen. I'm just... gosh. When I found out you were changing like this, I was livid. Going through this the first time when you were little was so awful. After dad passed away, I had that lingering fear in the back of my mind that the cancer was going to return, and I'd have to face this alone.

"Now...," she went on, "this has happened. I was so, so afraid that you were going to die, or that you were going to have worse changes..."

Her mom wrapped her arms around her. Jackie lethargically sat up.

"I'm just... I'm just grateful that you're alive, and healthy."

Jackie slowly craned her head up to briefly look in her mom's eyes. "Mom... look at this. I'm alive and functioning, but I'm a monster. I'm going to have to endure this my whole life."

"I'm sorry Jackie. It's going to be hard... but I'll be there with you however I can. And... I don't love you any less, and I definitely don't think that you're a monster."

"No," Jackie said. "I'm a messed up freak who... who... likes this."

She could barely get the last few words out at a whisper.

Her mom reached up and gently touched top of Jackie's head, feeling at her ears.

"I don't understand it," she said, "but I love you. If liking how this feels will help you get through it, if it will help you be happy, then it's okay to me."

"Yeah mom," she said with an edge, "everyone is okay with this or that, but they still are weirded out. That's what Matt has said too. I know that he is glad to be away from me. He's a normal guy that this just happened to happen to. In my case it is a curse of the universe, giving me exactly what I wanted. I just - "

"Jackie," her mom interrupted, "just... calm down. You're under a lot of stress right now. I think that you'll feel better as you get used to this."

"I won't," she said with finality. "Every time I relax, I'm going to start panting, and wagging my tail. I'm going to suddenly remember how much of a freak I am -"

"Jackie, you are not a freak. You -"

"I am a freak, mom. No normal human thinks this way. Now I've been cursed for my horrible messed up thoughts to show on the surface for the world to see. No one is ever going to want to be around me. I'm going to end up -"

"There are much worse people in the world Jackie. I'm not going to lie - this is odd. But being odd is not the same as being a freak. You want to be different, and that's okay. As long as you're not harming anyone, or yourself, it's fine."

Jackie breathed slowly, but forcefully. Her blood felt hot in her veins.

"I do want to hurt someone mom. I want to hurt Matt. I want him to stay this way. Even if they find a cure, I want him to stay a mutant dog person. All because of me. Because I'm selfish. I don't want to be with him, or anyone, if they're a normal human and I'm a mutant dog person. All because I have a sick mind that is... is into this. That thinks that a dog person is more attractive than a normal person... gosh I hate talking about this. I hate hate hate hate it so much..."

Jackie's mom hugged her again. It didn't make Jackie feel better.

"We all have different feelings," she said. "In the end what Matt wants to do is his choice. But considering you two were caught sleeping in the same bed he must think you look at least a little cute as a dog girl."

Jackie groaned, pushing out of the hug. "I don't like it. It's not okay for people to have these kinds of feelings. Matt shouldn't... like this."

She gestured at her body. Her horrible, deformed body.

"You are all going through something really strange," her mom said, "and very difficult. I'd be surprised if it wasn't putting you through equally weird thoughts. I'm... going to be honest Jackie, I'm not the person to talk to with that more sensitive stuff. Your dad was always much better at talking about emotional things. I've always been the analytical one."

Jackie felt several tears leak from her eyes. "I know. He'd be really disgusted by - "

"Jackie," her mom grabbed her shoulders tightly, "Your dad... I don't know if he's still out there somewhere, but I know that if he is, and if he can see us, he still loves you. We tried for years to have a child, and when we finally had you, he loved you more than you could know."

"I do know," Jackie said. "I've been thinking about every day I was with him nonstop in these agonizingly long past few years. I just can't help but feel like I'm being a failure to him. You and dad worked so hard to get careers and have a family, and it's produced me. And knowing how messed up I am, I don't want to force the world to endure whatever more messed up children I would bring into the world."

Her mom's eyes glistened in the dim light. "Jackie, it is up to you, but if you have kids, I will love them so much. I don't care what they look like, I'm going to love being their grandma. You're not disappointing dad's memory. I know that he would want to support who you want to be."

Jackie's mom sat silently for a bit. She didn't know how to help, Jackie could tell. She was grasping at straws, struggling to think of a way to comfort her daughter, and likely feeling horrible and anxious. It only made Jackie feel worse, that she was such a lost cause and was causing someone to feel so much pain over her.

"Jackie," her mom said, "just... hold on. Just try to breathe, calm down. You've been through an extremely difficult experience, and you need some time to process it. Just try to focus on the positives."

Jackie let out a small cry. "I'm sorry mom. I'm sorry for the way I am."

"Don't feel sorry," her mom said. "Just... it is weird, but it is what you seem to feel comfortable with. If you're constantly fighting with yourself, you aren't going to be happy."

Jackie groaned. "I know."

"So what are you going to do?"

"Continue feeling miserable."

"That's not an option," her mom said. "your option is to learn to accept your new self, or work to tolerate what's happened, and wean yourself away from these feelings in a healthy way."

"I'm not going to be able to give up these feelings," Jackie said. "I just... can't."

"Then I guess that only leaves one viable option."

Jackie looked down at her body. She looked at the strange fur, shining all the different shades of gold and tan. She stared at her padded fingers. It felt impossible, but it was real. It felt right to her. It felt comfortable. And she wished she knew why.

"I... I wish I knew... why I feel this way."

"Something that always frustrated me about biology," her mom said, "Is that feelings can have an explanation - different neurons fire in our brains, different receptors pick up different chemicals... but they don't really explain why we are the way that we are. You can't come up with a logical reason for everything, sadly. All I can say about emotions is... just don't get caught up in that. Let yourself feel the way you naturally want to feel. You need to control those feelings of course... but if it makes you happy and isn't hurting anything..."

"It hurts my self image," Jackie said. "It's super embarrassing. Out in the world I feel so much stronger, more competitive. I don't want to feel like a sad pathetic dog girl."

"Then be a cheerful and strong dog girl," her mom smiled. "Show those people out there who's boss. Show them that you'll be who you want to be and don't care what they say."

Jackie breathed deeply, wiping the tears from her furry cheeks. She pushed down the urge for another contrary response. She was simply too exhausted. "Okay."

Her mom stood up. "I think that you should find something productive to do. Clean your room, walk outside a bit in the yard, anything that will give you a break from your mind for a bit."


She hugged Jackie one last time, being more close, pressing her face against hers. "It's going to be alright sweetie. Sad days don't last forever."

Jackie sighed. For that brief moment she relented, letting herself wag her tail, and letting herself believe that maybe someday, things would be better.


A note from RockyTheDogBoy

I'm forgoing my daily updates tomorrow and Sunday. Have a Merry Christmas. 🎄

About the author


Bio: A golden retriever that knows how to use a computer

Check out my discord server, a place for canine furries and others to chat!

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