I was lying on my bed, where I had fallen asleep reading my book. The next thing I realized was my ear was twitching, so reached up to scratch it and felt claws. That is when I realized that something was terribly wrong. I sat up in my bed and looked around. Everything seemed normal, except that I had somehow magically changed in my sleep. For I was no longer a human male, but a dog!
Let me back up a little. My name is Dean Cussler Means and I am the nine year old son of Joe and Rose Means. We live on a farm and have several animals, which include our three dogs; Honey, a mostly collie, with lush brown hair, Archie, a mostly cocker spaniel, who is blonde, and Rags, with a multitude of greys for a coat. We also have a cat, Thomas, who is an American short hair that is white with tiger stripes dripping down off his back, like a blanket. My father is a writer and has written a series of children’s book after them: Millie and Honey: The Incredible Instantaneous Interplanetary Adventure.
Anyway, I had to tell you that to explain my somewhat strange name, Dean Cussler. My father, the writer, and consummate reader named me after two of his favorite writers, Dean Koontz and Clive Cussler. I guess this was to instill in me a desire to read or even write, in my later years. Maybe this is one reason I do love reading so much.
Back to my story: It was late on Friday night, Good Friday as it was and I had on my new green dungarees. I was sitting on my bed, where I had fallen asleep. I was reading one of Clive Cussler’s newest books, ‘Zero Hour.’ It is not out for sale till May 2013, but my father is friends with him and he gets me, and him, an advance copy of all his and Dean Koontz books. Cool or what?
So, anyway I had just woken up. Looking at my clock, it is a little past midnight on March 29, 2013 and I am a DOG! I am not sure what kind as it is dark, so I pad over my bathroom and reach up awkwardly and flip the switch. It takes me a few tries as I am not well versed in this body yet to make it do what I want, but it is coming to me. Maybe in a little while I will figure out how to stop my tail from waging as it is getting on my nerves.
After a few tries, I manage the light and kind of dance, hobble over to the sink, where I sit my paws on the rim and stare at myself in the mirror. Ha! I am quite handsome! I seem to be a Golden Retriever. I move my head both left and right and admire myself, as I stare panting at my reflection.
I suppose that most boys of nine years old would be shocked, scared or freaked out at having been changed into a dog, but I stood there intrigued. I guess Mr. Koontz would have been happy to see me and if I had visited them in my present form before 2007, I am sure that Trixie would have been a good friend.
Standing there, looking into my mirror, it dawned on me that my dungarees fit quite well, in spite of my bodily transformation. Today, we call them coveralls, but an old friend of my father’s calls them dungarees and I just like the name. They are a dark hunter green, and they allow me freedom of movement and yet cover up my nakedness. Though, as a dog, it might prove quite embarrassing when I have to use the bathroom, as I am not quite sure how I will get them off. It does seem that a hole has appeared, for my tail, which keeps wagging back and forth.
I think I can sense the muscles that controls my tail, and I work on it for a few minutes, till I manage get it to wag even faster. It seems that the muscles that control my tail are attached to those in my mouth as I pant faster too. Pretty soon, I have the panting and the wagging somewhat under control and decide that I should try walking and running, to get all my functions regulated to my command.
Wait! What about talking? I consider this for a minute and try to say something. I know that the canine vocal cords don’t have the capability to make human voice possible, but what the heck. Here I am, a human boy which has changed into a dog. My reasoning and thinking ability have not diminished, so maybe I can still talk in a human voice.
“Good morning Mr. Dean Cussler Means” is what my brain thought, but what came out was more like, “Grrrr, arf, arf, Growl, bark!” This seemed to be understandable to me in some weird way as the same thing, which answered my second question; can I understand what other dogs say? I did manage to keep my voice down as I did not want to attract any unwanted attention from my fellow dogs, Honey, Archie and Rags. I am not sure how they will view me in my new form.
My hearing is very acute as I pay attention to any movement in the house and find that everyone is sound asleep. My ears pert up automatically as I listen and I find that can pick out everyone’s breathing, from my father’s and Archie’s snoring to the soft breathing of my mother. This is really awesome!
Sliding my paws down off the sink, I walk softly out of my bathroom, to the door of my bedroom and reach up for the handle. I am glad that we have the European handles as the round ones would prove to be a bit more of a nuisance to open. I quickly unlatch the door and take my paw and draw it inward as I back up.
Free from my room, I pad down the stairs as quietly as I can and head through the living room and kitchen to the back door, where I can explore my new body and figure out how it works. As I walk through the living room, I smell a strange scent and look over at the couch and see Thomas, curled up in a ball. I wrinkle my nose as I pass. Now I know why Archie doesn’t like Thomas. His odor isn’t exactly setting off the pleasure centers of my mind. My canine vocabulary are flashing fight or flight images in bright red flashes and my whole body is surging with adrenaline as I creep slowly by.
This fascinates me, as I have a deeper understanding of the canine mind with this new revelation, as I sense, feel, smell, and see new and enhanced feelings from this body that I have never had before. The thought processes are totally different as the dog mind is limited in its capacity to think and relies more on basic instinct, to the inputs it receives.
Silently, I move into the kitchen and walk to the back door. I am relieved that my night vision is somewhat enhanced and I can pick my way around things without bumping into them and alerting anyone to my presence. Slowly, I open the back door and pull it inward with my paw. I reach up and undo the latch that locks the screen door and nose my way out. Catching the screen before it closes too loudly and softly let it hit the jamb.
I take a moment and sit on the deck, taking in the cool night breeze. It brings a myriad of fragrances to me that awaken a thousand feeling within my doggie body. Some pleasurable, some are not. As I sit there, looking about at my new world, I see and hear a lot of things that I never noticed before. It is amazing how everything ties together with sight, smell and hearing. Now that I have these superpowers, I have to understand how they work and translate them from my dog mind to my human mind.
Rising, I trot to the fence and slip the latch easily and nose my way out of the back yard into the national forest that abuts our property and head off down the trail that we walk nightly with the dogs. Along the way, it becomes apparent why Honey, Archie, and Rags stop at each place they do on the walks. The scents are overpowering and I find myself attracted to spot where they have been before, but mostly, the strange smells of other animals.
Scientific studies have determined that dogs are color blind. Well, I am here to tell you that this is simply not true! If anything, they see more colors than the normal range of humans. Each object emits an aura and I can see this force quite clearly with my new doggie eyes. Everything, animate or inanimate gives off a certain color glow and it is amazing. A red flower may give off a green appearance, thus confusing my mind as to the real color of the plant. With my superpowers, I don’t just see the visual color of the thing I am looking at; I sense the feelings of the entity.
In my wonder and awe at my new found senses, I noticed that things changed their aura colors as I approached. Since I am loving this new freedom of senses, I see that most things are sending me love and they change green as I approach them. It is an incredible shock to me to know that each object has the capacity to think and even forecast events. I also notice that I can tell where other animals are by looking in the leaves of the trees. Wherever a bird is sitting, I not only hear its breathing, I see its aura and the change in the coloring of the leaves around it.
Over to my right is the small creek that flows from north to south along our property line and I see a difference in the aura of the trees and foliage along the bank and it is moving along the bank as well as the sound and smell of some strange creatures. For some reason I know there are more than one of them and my canine inquisitiveness draws me into a run toward them.
Running silently, I feel free and wild as I stalk my quarry at the creek. The muscles of my legs are fluid and they move effortlessly as they propel me toward the bank of the stream. Excitement builds as the smell of the animals get more powerful. I am close now and I crouch low to the ground, sniffing quietly, not to scare them. Moving through the underbrush, I slip soundlessly toward the banks, till I see a mother raccoon and three little raccoons washing something in the water.
Lying on the ground, I can smell the earth beneath me and I pant silently as I watch the ritual of the raccoons as they search for food in the creek bed. Every few seconds, the mother raccoon pops her head up and sniffs around, ever vigilant of the dangers around her. I must have instinctively approached downwind of them, or she would have sensed me and ran off with her brood.
I don’t notice time, it could have been a mere few minutes or as long as hours, but eventually the raccoons left and I knew it was time for me to go home. I rose and shook off the dirt and other things that clung to my coat and trotted leisurely toward the house. Along the way, I notice a shadow of blackness rippling through the forest ahead and my fur tingles. I freeze instantly and raise my long nose to the air, my senses on high alert. My ears cock toward the front and my head swivels from side to side, like a radar dish, trying to pick up the signal.
FOX! I know in my doggie mind that the animal ahead is a fox, on its nightly rounds looking for food. I know that being a 70 pound Golden Labrador, I am too big for it to consider me prey, so I run head long toward it, in an attempt to scare it off the trail. It works, as after just four steps, I hear it pause for just a millisecond, before scurrying off in the opposite direction.
The rest of the journey home was uneventful and I allowed my mind to work on the problem of trying to convince my mom and dad, that the dog that now lived with them was their son. The plan is nearly complete when I quietly enter the house and work my way, like a ghost, back to my bedroom.
Following a character in Dean Koontz’s book, ‘Watchers,’ I used a pencil to type a message for my parents on my computer. After that, I decided to clean the forest out of my coat and lie down for a nap.
I was awakened by my mother.
“And just who might you be pretty boy?” Her voice quietly came to me.
I sit up and pant my best smiling face and look at her. She is looking around for her son, who is obviously not there, in her mind.
Slowly, I jump from the bed and take her hand gently in my mouth. She follows me to the computer and I tap the space bar. The computer whirs to life and the message that I had typed on MS Word pops up on the screen.
Bewildered, she looks at me and then at the computer.
MOM AND DAD!
It says in huge letters. The Golden Retriever in my room is ME! Your son, Dean Cussler! I don’t know how this happened or if this is temporary or permanent, but I woke up last night and TaDa! I am the beautiful dog before you.
It seems strange and disturbing, but I still have the knowledge of being human and the vocabulary, as you see. Unfortunately, I cannot talk in human voice, so we will have to figure out how to communicate…
She let herself slip down into my chair as she read the rest of the letter I wrote, her eyes darting back and forth from me to the letter as she read. She said nothing till she had finish the letter, then she took both hand and held my furry face between them.
“Is that really you Dean?” she asked.
I chuffed once and licked her hands.
“Oh goodness me,” she let out a breath, “I had better get your father and together we will figure this thing out.”
At that instant, Rags ran into the room, barking his head off. “What’s going on here?” he demanded, “Who is making all that noise!”
Honey and Archie follow right on his tail, Archie bellowing like a hound dog, “Rags heard something. I hear it too. Come on Honey; let’s find out what it is.”
I stood there as they crowded around me sniffing me quizzically. “Good Morning Honey, Archie and Rags,” I barked softly.
They froze for a moment and sniffed me again.
Rags, demanded, “Is that you master Dean?”
“Why yes, it is me.” I answered. Of course this dialog wasn’t quite this way as dogs don’t have the same vocabulary as we humans do, so I am translating it so it is more understandable to my readers.
The true nature of the conversation is something more like, “Smell Dean. Dean, you? Dean People now?”
During this exchange, my father walked into the room and mom showed him the letter. He read it, also glancing back and forth between me and the letter as he read. Once he was finished, he looked at me and placed his hands on his hips.
To be continued…