I watched Jackie all of class. After Mr. Dun's annoying stunt, she seemed to thankfully do a bit better. I was really worried about her. Granted, I'd be scared out of my shoes myself if I were wearing any, but even so, I felt like I could barely hold myself back from looking pathetic.

It felt a bit unfair. When someone turned into a werewolf in a movie, the fear was that they would go on a horrible rampage, becoming a badass monster. I however, wanted to go into the fetal position and cry.

Despite the strain of everything around me, class continued as normal. True to Mr. Dun's semi-joking warning, no one paid much attention to us. People did glance our way - but I tried my best to put myself in their place. This was something so strange to them. I'd've been making glances too.

The bell finally rang. One class down. I shrunk my tablet and put it in my pocket, standing up and looking to Jackie. She looked calm, but a storm lurked in her eyes.

"You going to be okay?" I asked.

"I don't know."

I gave her a quick hug. "You can do it. What class have you got next?"

"English. What about you?"


"At least everyone will be looking at their tablets."


We walked out of the room together, and once outside, looked into each other's eyes once again. Jackie wore a frown.

I smiled the best I could, and gave her a short kiss.

"I'll see you at lunch."

A faint smile formed on her face. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, then turned away from me, disappearing into the crowd.

I wasn't sure I'd ever felt such a strong longing for someone in that moment. I'd been around Jackie so much lately. I had started to feel empty when I wasn't with her. But now she was out in the cruel world, rather than the safety of her own home.

As emotion passed through me, I realized then that I loved her. Even as I thought it, I questioned it. I was only eighteen, and Jackie was the closest I'd ever felt with a girl. I wasn't sure if I knew what loving someone really meant. But I decided it didn't matter. At that moment I felt closer to her than anyone in my life.

People passing gave me odd looks as I stared off into space. I came to, and was drawn out of my deep thoughts, back into reality. Back into the changed existence I now lived.

Most of my coding class was hard to get through. Thankfully it wasn't because people were staring at me. There was another canis guy in my class, who'd become a chocolate brown lab. Even with another person to divide the attention, it didn't seem like people were really interested in staring.

What made coding more difficult rather, was how difficult it was to concentrate. I had a lot on my mind, as I started to think about my future. It was prompted by thinking about how canis would change everything, but it bled into long held anxiety about whether I'd ever succeed in a career. I'd said I wanted to go into coding, at the same time hating math. Eventually though, I was able to push away enough of those far future concerns to get the day's assignment done.

The bell finally rang, and I found myself wagging my tail, which I quickly stifled. I was excited to be with Jackie again, and I found it hard to contain that feeling of relief. Right there I could've let my tail go wild and not cared in the slightest what everyone else thought - but I knew most people would not be used to seeing it, so I restrained myself for the moment.

When I got to our usual spot in the cafeteria and hugged Jackie again, I could tell that she felt that separation too. It was so short, but it felt so much harder than before. The eyes of the world bore down on us - but we had each other.

"You did it," I smiled as I maintained our hug.


"You'll adjust," I said.

She pressed her cheek against my chest. I scratched her behind one of her ears until her tail wagged slightly.

"I don't know how I'd have been able to do this without you," she whispered.

"I don't either."

We enjoyed the embrace for a bit longer, and then sat down. It was a small thing, but sitting down in the booth on the same side as her threw me off. It was a weird, but somehow the everyday little changes that sent that reminder - "you have a girlfriend" - felt more odd than the more special moments we had.

"Has... Douglas seen you since you changed?" Jackie asked.

"Only through my tablet. I've asked him if he wanted to do something before today - but he always had something - or said he wasn't feeling like it."

"I haven't talked much with Wendy either," Jackie said. "I talked to her once over the phone. It wasn't much more than her letting me know she was thinking of me."

I sighed. I wasn't looking forward to seeing my friends again. Talking to them over phone had been difficult enough. There was such a heightened sense of dread with confronting people that knew you after you contracted canis. One of my aunts had briefly come to our house - and she had looked at me like I had failed our extended family or something. Everything that people expected of me had changed forever.


I looked up, and saw some guy I didn't know looking down at me.

"Um, can I help you?" I asked.

"Yeah," the guy said, "you're in our spot."

"We've been in this spot this whole year."

I glanced around, noticing that most of the good seating in the room was filled. The guy had two friends with him.

"I don't think so," the guy said, "I've been in this school the whole year and I don't remember seeing any dogs in the lunchroom."

I stood up. "Look dude, I don't know what you're trying to do, but you're going to have to find somewhere else to sit."

"I've found a place to sit. Maybe I just need to call animal control first."

"Seriously dude?" I scowled at him, "I may be a dog, but you're being a jackass."

The guy recoiled, making a glance to his friends. It made me feel a bit of satisfaction, especially because his friends seemed to be a bit timid about continuing with this.

"Shut it you filthy mutt," Jackass attempted to recover. "Give me that seat now."

"What's going on here?"

A husky boy walked up behind Jackass, and stared him down.

"Let's go guys," Jackass said.

If Jackass had been canis, he definitely would've been leaving that confrontation with his tail between his legs. Good riddance.

"Dang," the husky said, " didn't think that canis racism would happen so quickly."

The husky turned his head to look directly at me. It had been obscured by the fur, the muzzle and the ears, but the face now revealed itself.


"How's it going?" he smiled. His two pointed ears twitched slightly.

"Oh gosh...," I groaned. "I... gosh... I'm so sorry. I... I don't know what I -"

"Relax," Douglas raised up a paw-hand. "This isn't your fault - as you can see, I'm not a golden retriever. And I'm alright, other than a slight sore throat."

"Dude...," I said, still shaking my head in disbelief, "why didn't you say anything?"

"I," he sighed, opening his lunch bag, "have got a lot of difficult stuff going on at home. Let's just leave it at that."

Douglas bit into a sandwich. To my astonishment, after swallowing, he casually licked his nose - his black wet dog nose.

"This just... feels surreal," I said. "My best friend... he's a dog."

Douglas laughed. "You're telling me retriever boy. Seeing a photo didn't prepare me for seeing you two in person."

I ran my hand through my hair. Jackie had begun eating her own lunch next to me. She seemed just as shaken as I was.

"To answer your inevitable question," Douglas said, "I got canis from Wendy."

"Her too?" Jackie asked incredulously.

"Yeah," Douglas nodded, perhaps a bit saddened, "her too."

"Well if it isn't my canine friends," a new face appeared - Ted. Greg was with him.

Ted did a double take. "Douglas?"


"Dang," Greg said. "Sorry... sorry to all three of you."


"Four?" Ted asked.

"Yeah. Wendy."

"Gosh...," Ted said.

It was a bit refreshing seeing Ted actually show some emotion other than joking around. I'd begun to question if it was possible.

"So all of you had that cancer or whatever it was when you were kids?" Greg asked as he and Ted sat on Douglas's side of the booth.

Douglas shook his head. "No, I got it from Wendy."

Ted's brief moment of astonishment was quenched. "Ah ha ha, I see."

"We kissed," Douglas shrugged, "I don't know what more there is to say. She didn't have any idea what was coming at the time. And the only warning I'd had about how crazy things were going to get was seeing what had happened to Matt."

Now Ted and Greg looked to me and Jackie. The staring persisted for several seconds.

"You can use words to express yourself," I said.

"You are very... furry," Ted said.

"That was very eloquent Ted," Jackie said.

"Well you are," he laughed.

"We also have two eyes, and two ears...," Douglas said. "That's just as factual."

We all laughed a little - Ted, as was customary, laughing more than the situation warranted. It felt almost... normal.

And then Wendy walked up. The illusion was shattered once more as I looked over the husky girl standing before me. Unlike Jackie and I, wearing hoodies and jeans to try to hide our canis selves as much as possible, Wendy wore a pink tank top and shorts. It was a surprise to say the least.

"Hi," she said dryly.

"Hey Wendy," Jackie waved.

Greg and Ted moved so that Wendy could sit next to Douglas. Another moment of awkward staring followed.

"So," Wendy said. Her tone was very matter-of-fact. "This is how it's going to be - from now on."

"Yeah," Jackie said.

"Yeah," I echoed.

"It'll be okay you guys," Greg said. "There are people working on this. It could be a year or more, but I'm sure you'll be able to get fixed up. I doubt it'll be permanent."

Jackie and I shared a look.

"Don't say that dude," Ted quietly chided Greg. "Whatever happens, we're your friends, thick and thin and all that."

"Thanks Ted," I said. It was honest. It was a rare moment where I felt actual authenticity from Ted, and although I wasn't the biggest fan of his personality a lot of the time, I wanted to have friends who had my back through this - even Ted.

"I'm sorry to ask," Greg said, "but... is there any risk... of us being this close to you?"

"No," Douglas said. "It's transmitted through saliva, and that's only when the virus is active, which it isn't for us."

"Okay," Greg said. He seemed a bit unsteady.

"Can we talk about something other than canis now?" Wendy asked. "I just... I'm just really tired, and I want to find some sense of normalcy again."

"I made a chair in my 3D modeling class today," Ted said.

"I thought you already made a chair," Douglas said.

"No," Ted corrected, "That was a really crappy chair. This one was so good. if you saw it, you would fall to your knees and worship it..."

So Ted spun his tale of what was almost certainly, at best, a pretty normal looking chair. All that mattered to me, was that while everyone was distracted, I could put my arm around Jackie, and hold her close.


A note from RockyTheDogBoy

Happy New Year 🎉

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!

Log in to comment
Log In