There was a very... unclear feeling waking up in my own bed.

I had slept on my stomach - which with my tail in the way, had become the most comfortable sleeping position. I got up on my knees. Looking around my room, I felt like a stranger there. All my possessions that I'd had from my eighteen years of life seemed to belong to someone else - Matt Hewitt, a normal person.

But now I was Matt Hewitt, the dog boy. I got out of bed and stood up, looking into the mirror on my dresser. I felt strangely sickened seeing my reflection. My strange, fur covered body was invading normal reality. This was me now. It would stay that way for at least a very long time - if not forever.

No. It couldn't be forever. I had to believe that they'd find a way to change me back to normal - and besides that... I couldn't change my entire outlook on the future because of Jackie. I... felt really good around her. I felt happy with her. But I couldn't just assume that it was going to lead to a serious relationship. We'd been forced together by circumstance, and I didn't know that it would last.

Despite all this, for now, I could not change that reflection. Perhaps the strangest thing of all, ironically, was how... normal it looked. It felt like I had always had fur, floppy ears, and a tail. They looked completely abnormal, and yet at the same time, when I tried to imagine my normal looking face there, the face staring back at me blocked it out. It was the new normal. It was the reality that I could not change.

In the end, I just had to learn to accept this - I was half human, half golden retriever. It was going to be difficult, but I didn't have cancer, I was healthy... and I didn't look hideous. I looked strange, out of the ordinary - but I had that caveman brain impulse that told me that I was looking at a dog, and dogs were friends.

I licked my wet snout, and let myself pant, smiling slightly. Panting still helped me relax. I wasn't sure if I could ever feel comfortable visibly panting in front of other people... but I at least didn't want to be ashamed when doing it while alone.

I took a deep breath, and let my tail wag as well. It had been tugging on my mind, itching to wag. And gosh... it felt good. I liked this additional way of expressing my emotion, the way it just subconsciously made me want to grin. I knew it was the canine instinct that had crept into me... but I also knew that I'd always felt okay with panting. And I did remember... I'd had a habit of shaking my butt as a kid as well - that Mom and Dad had repeatedly gotten on my case about it... just like the panting.

It was hard to know where original, human me ended and dog me began. Maybe I'd never been fully normal... fully human. Maybe I'd always been destined to be a dog boy.

I stopped panting, and stared at that dog boy in the mirror.

"That's me," I whispered to that foreign reflection. "And I can't change that. I've always been a bit of a dog boy, and I'm going to accept who I am."

My reflection stared back. It was mine. That reflection was me, Matt Hewitt. I smiled. That canine-like face smiled back. It was my smile. And I accepted that.

I licked my nose again, and wagged my tail, keeping that determined smile. I would face the outside world at some point, but at least here, by myself, I was going to let myself be happy in spite of what had happened to me.

No... not in spite. In acceptance of it. Accepting that I liked some of this in part, and I wasn't going to fight it. Not anymore.

It was nearly ten o' clock, and after several days of not showering, not since I had grown my fur, I needed a shower. Walking across the hall to the bathroom, I found a pair of clothes folded on the counter, a nicely made hole in the pants. Next to it was a bottle of shampoo with a sticky note attached.

I hope that this works for you. I'm sorry if it might feel a bit... degrading, but it should be able to get you clean.
- Mom

I looked over the bottle. It was green, and clearly labeled as dog shampoo, a happy running golden retriever on the front. I took note of a smaller text, that said it helped to prevent fleas.

Fleas. Gross. I hadn't considered with all my fur that fleas were now a possibility. No, I wasn't going to bristle at having to use pet shampoo, if the alternative was bugs crawling in my fur.

Upon getting in front of the shower's jets of water, I immediately realized why dogs hated baths. It felt horrible. The smell of wet dog permeated the bathroom, and I immediately was soaked through. I'd never liked the feeling of having wet clothes on, and this was like having a thick wet sweater over your whole body you couldn't take off.

I sighed, and adjusted the temperature. After a while though, the warm water still was relaxing, and I got used to the annoying feeling of the drenched fur. Then the shampoo - it took forever, but eventually I got completely lathered up. In an odd way, it felt kind of satisfying scrubbing down into there, getting it all clean. I finally topped it all off by grabbing my normal shampoo, and getting at my island of normal human hair on top of my head. I rinsed off, and then turned off the water.

I was left there, sopping wet, fur drooping off my arms, legs, and tail, and some getting a bit into my eyes. It felt awful. I wanted it off. I vigorously shook back and forth, flinging the water off my body.


It took a second to process it, but I'd just... acted like a dog. The impulse to do it had come out of nowhere. I let out a nervous chuckle, and kept shaking. Surprisingly, I was able to get a lot of the water off. I found myself laughing. It felt so... silly. But it worked. Looking around at water droplets and some bits of stray wet dog hair all over though, perhaps next time I'd do it before I got out of the shower.

Drying off with a towel did not help as much as I would've liked. I did however, succeed in shedding fur all over it. I groaned, realizing that dog hair everywhere was going to be my life now - and that it probably would not be enjoyed by everyone else.

I looked at myself in the mirror again. With the larger mirror, I could see my whole body. I still had the frame and muscular shapes of a normal person - but several select places were more canine like - it was like I was some living mr potato head that a kid had mixed up with a different one's features for fun - if that made any sense. I was just glad I wasn't walking on all fours, and that outside of my face, tail, hands, and feet, I wasn't too different. Except the fur of course.

The fur was getting dry, but it still felt too wet to put clothes on. This led to me getting out the hair dryer. I'd honestly never used one before, but it thankfully wasn't too difficult. It actually felt somewhat nice, feeling the warm air blow against my fur. As I was drying off, I also noticed a brush on the counter with another sticky note - saying that brushing regularly would hopefully reduce shedding.

By the time I was done drying off and giving myself a decent brushing, I fully realized how nice it felt to be clean. My fur smelled nice now, and was nice and fluffy, shining a clear golden brown.

Though it was new and unfamiliar, I couldn't deny that in that moment, I felt and looked good.

My fur still proved an annoyance when getting on clothes however, lumping and folding in uncomfortable directions. Although I tried to smooth it over, it soon became a useless task. I guessed it would just have to be something I'd need to learn to ignore.

Ending it off with combing my normal hair, and pulling my tail through the back of my pants, I smiled at that dog boy looking back at me, feeling satisfied. I looked weird, I looked goofy maybe with my big ears - but it was still me. And maybe those goofy big ears suited me.

I laughed, shaking my head from side to side, watching them flop around. I felt a whisper in the back of my mind that I should feel ashamed of this - but I cast it aside. At my happiest, I was always a goofy person - and in a way, I felt like being a goofy looking dog suited me.

But upon opening the bathroom door, my private moment of freedom dissipated. There were people out there in the world who didn't see this the way I was growing to see it. People like my own family.

I slowly walked downstairs, and faced my mom and dad sitting at the kitchen table.

"Good morning," I said with a swallow.

"Morning," they answered back. I could tell they were trying hard to maintain a smile.

"Did you sleep well in your own bed?" Mom asked.

I pulled up a chair, and carefully sat down, pulling my tail through the slats in the back.

"Yeah," I said, "but I guess I'm going to have to rethink how I sleep, with this little devil in the way."

I grabbed my tail, making a frustrated smile.

"So you took a shower?" Mom asked. "Was it too difficult?"

"Ehh. It wasn't very fun. I'll get used to it."

"At least you smell a lot better," Dad remarked.

I chuckled. "Yeah... it feels good for my fur to be all clean."

"You want some pancakes?" Dad asked.

"Cereal is fine."

"No," he said, "you deserve a nice, better breakfast today after this week. I'll get out some bacon too."

"Bacon... does sound very good."

Dad glanced to me, and once again tried his best to smile - but his eyes gave it all away.

"Have you guys... gotten used to me yet?"

Mom and Dad both glanced to me with a confused, but slightly ashamed look.

"If I'm going to be honest... I'm sorry Matt," Mom said. "It's going to take some time. How about we just focus on something else?"

I shook my head. "No, just... you've gotta confront it same as me. I gave myself some long hard looks in the mirror today, and decided I wasn't going to let myself be scared of this any more. I'm the weird dog boy, and that's who I am."

Mom made a drawn out breath. "I guess so."

A thumping came down the stairs, and a tired Ashley came around the corner.

We locked eyes as she saw the new me for the first time.

She froze still. She started hyperventilating.

I sprang up from my chair, and quickly but calmly walked over to her.

"Ashley, it's okay."

"Oh gosh... oh gosh..."

"Just... stay calm. It's me. It Matt."

She glanced wildly around the room, looking anywhere where I wasn't. Her arms trembled uncontrollably. I gently held her by her arms.

"Just... breathe. It's okay." I let out a timid laugh.

"You're... you're an animal. you have a tail... and dog ears...."

"Yes Ashley. I know it's weird, and I know - "

"I just... I just can't do this!"

She spun around, and started running back to the stairs.

"Ashley!" I grabbed her arm.

"Please," I pleaded, "just... calm down. I know this is a lot to take in at once, and you don't know how to feel right now, but I'm okay. I look different, I look weird, but I'm still your brother. I'm still the same person."

She made eye contact with me. Her breathing slowed as she stared, looking over my transformed self. She slowly relaxed, and stepped back down the stairs - but her whole body was still visibly trembling.

"This... th - this feels like a messed up dream. I feel like I'm imagining this all, and I'm going to wake up and everything will be normal again."

"I'm sorry Ashley, but this isn't a dream. I've been living through this the whole week... and I can't deny what's happened anymore."

She gingerly stepped up to me, and ran her fingers along my fur covered arm. She looked back up to my face, with my slight muzzle and snout.

"Gosh...," she shook again. "I'm... I'm sorry Matt, that I'm acting like a wreck, but... this is just unreal. Everything in my brain is telling me what I'm seeing doesn't make any sense."

"I know," I sighed. "Just... try to get used to it... please?"

Ashley didn't say anything else, and walked into the kitchen. Unfortunately, I made no further headway with her - or really in getting Mom or Dad to look at me more casually either. Sadly, they mostly avoided looking at me - or at least it felt like it.

I did get Dad's attention however when I was eating my breakfast - and I was wagging my tail. I hadn't even really thought anything of it until I realized he was staring at me. He appeared... slightly unnerved. I felt ashamed. I felt like I didn't want to wag my tail in front of him again. Or the rest of them for that matter.

I couldn't really control licking my nose - I needed to do that - but everything else that I could control... I subdued.

It was a little, small thing experiencing all that, but it hit me with the sad realization, that even if I grew to fully accept my new self... it would be a struggle for the world to even tolerate it.

I saw it in their eyes. All of them loved Matt Hewitt - but they loved the Matt Hewitt that had sat here a week before. I was an impostor.



About the author


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

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