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Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life" 
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Post Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
I hope no one minds (and I hope this is the appropriate forum for this) but I so fell in love with the arc It's a Wonderful Dog's Life and the character of Joel/King that I took it upon myself to write it in text form, just to flesh it out a little and give my own interpretation of what's going on, especially in Joel/King's head. I'll post it in six parts and I hope my text does the story justice because I do love it! :D

I don't intend this to be the "official" text version, just my own interpretation. So bearing that in mind, here's "Chapter 1":

It’s a Wonderful Dog’s Life

“Your lawyer will be arriving shortly with a change of clothes for you, Joel.”

It was the day of my trial, and I was at district court. I was too much of a mess of emotions to even feel relief when I was alone.

Scared? Sure, but not as scared as I might have been. I’d been in jail for quite some time already—how much time I wasn’t quite sure, though it must have been months. It was hard keeping track of the days when they were all the same. Had to stay in a cold, dank cell except for the few times they called you out, and had no company except a bunch of reprobate jailbirds and vicious jailers. I hated it, but all I could expect if found guilty (which was likely) was more of the same.

Angry? A little—okay, a lot. I’d been tricked into kidnapping that dog—the dog who I hadn’t realized belonged to a police officer, of all people. Even if that weren’t the case, it had never been my idea to kidnap a dog that belonged to someone else. Honest. I was mad at my superior at PETA who’d made me do that, I was mad at myself for not standing up to him—heck, I was mad for not doing research into PETA before I’d joined. I’d tried to plea bargain but since I’d run away at the first opportunity I was likely to be found guilty of resisting arrest as well.

Ashamed? You bet. How would I have liked it if someone had kidnapped my pets when I was little? How would they have liked it? It wasn’t my idea, sure, but I’d still gone along with it, and I felt awful. But not awful enough to feel like I deserved to suffer in prison anymore. What was the point of that? It wouldn’t change anything.

“Good morning, Joel.”

I whipped around. I’d been lost in my thoughts, sure, but I was CERTAIN no one had come in through the door. If not for the fact that the sound was clearly coming from behind me I would have thought I’d imagined it.

Staring into an enormous blue birdlike face that was large enough to swallow me whole, I was stunned stiff.

“You’re…not my lawyer….”

“Oh, come on. I would have expected something like, ‘I suppose I’d better switch to an insanity plea.’”

Insanity. Well, I wasn’t quite sure I was insane—does it count if you’re AWARE that you’re insane?—but I could see this bird-creature’s point. Not only had this HUGE creature that had no right to exist somehow materialized in the room with me, without coming in through any door or window (not that it would have fit anyway), but as I looked closely, I realized this wasn’t even a bird at all. Oh sure, it looked kind of like one from the front, but last I checked, birds didn’t have ears.

A griffin. A mythical creature that was supposed to not be real. That’s what I was seeing. An honest-to-goodness griffin.

“Great, Joel, you’re so awash with guilt that you’re hallucinating….” I mumbled to myself.

“My name you can’t pronounce, but others have called me ‘Pete’,” said the griffin.

“Charmed.” I couldn’t help a hint of sarcasm in my voice. I didn’t believe I was really having a conversation with a talking griffin, especially one with such a mundane name as “Pete.”

The griffin furrowed his brows and brought his beak dangerously close to me. Sweat built up on the back of my neck but I stood my ground.

“I’ve been watching you a long time, Joel, and you have been a very naughty boy. You blame animals for your problems. You take out your hurt feelings on them, despite all the pain it’s caused you in return. The cycle must stop—and a six-month stint in jail does nothing for a broken conscience.”

I rolled my eyes. “Okay, Mister Figment of My Imagination, I’m not stupid, I can see where this is going. You’re going to ‘teach me a lesson’ about how I’m a mean ol’ sourpuss and how the world is really built on the backs of rainbows and unicorns and I’m just not seeing it. So by spending time as the very thing I hate, I’ll gain a new perspective on life and come to a greater understanding of peace and love and whatever other New Agey junk. Then, as though it took only one night, I’ll wake up again as myself, all misty-eyed with a newfound sense of compassion, and never knowing if what I experienced was really real or all just a dream.”

The griffin had an amused look on his face. I didn’t see what was so amusing. Apparently I was to play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge in this little play of his, did he find something funny about that? Well, I wasn’t going to resist, but that didn’t mean I had to like it. Sure, I knew I wasn’t as humble or compassionate as I might have been, sure, I would have liked to gain a better outlook on life, but this wasn’t some Charles Dickens novel, this was real life (or at least a hallucination in real life). I had my doubts as to whether I could really change.

“So how about it, huh? Let’s get this hallucination over with!”

The griffin cocked his head, a quizzical look on his face. “Hallucination?”

“Yeah! Are you going to change me into a dog now, or what?”

“You are quick, aren’t you?” Pete smiled and looked below my eyes. Puzzled, I followed his gaze, wondering what he was staring at when—


Quickly I covered myself—how had I not known?! How had he gotten rid of my clothes without my even realizing it? I hadn’t even felt a draft like I should have!

The griffin laughed—it was a strange kind of laugh that sounded something like a cross between an eagle screech and a lion roar, but it was definitely a laugh.

“You humans and your modesty,” he said, shaking his head.

By now, of course, I knew why I hadn’t felt a draft. I looked down at my body, and somehow what I saw didn’t shock me nearly as much as the fact that I was now naked. Even though it should have been shocking enough to notice first.

My entire body was covered in fur. Black fur on my back, brown fur on my sides, and white fur on my belly. My hands and feet were now paws, with claws instead of nails, and pads where my palms and soles had been. My ears were now large, pointy, mobile, and on the top of my head. My nose and mouth were now a muzzle filled with sharp teeth and a flat tongue. And while it was only a stubby thing, I had a tail.

No wonder Pete wasn't changing me into a dog—he’d already done it. He’d let me shoot off my mouth at him, all the while unaware that I was already a dog—not just a dog, but a LITTLE dog. A Welsh Corgi, I think my breed was.

Only now did I start to become aware of my improved senses of hearing and smell. It wasn’t quite like I would have expected—I would have thought everything would be louder and more pungent, but that’s not quite how it was. I could just hear and smell MORE than I could before. Oddly, though, I detected nothing new or unusual about my own smell, even though—I have to admit it—I smelled like a dog.

Pete snapped his fingers and suddenly disappeared into a puff of white smoke. I coughed and shut my eyes, and when I opened them I found myself staring at an old man. He still towered over me but he was definitely human-sized now. The way he was dressed did nothing to make this feel less like a hallucination, although I was feeling more and more that this was no hallucination—somehow or other, it was really happening to me.

He was wearing a bowler hat and an old-fashioned brown suit, holding a cane, and sporting a bushy white mustache. He looked like something out of a nineteenth century British novel more than anything.

“Now, I will be playing the part of your owner,” said the man in Pete’s voice.

“Swell,” I muttered. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t all that upset about my current predicament—and maybe I would learn something from this experience, too—but I did have a short temper and a tendency toward sarcasm. Anyway, I wasn’t going to resist—what was the point of going against a creature powerful enough to change not only his form but my own? But that didn’t mean I had to be all smiles about it.

“This is my ‘Gaspar’ getup,” said Pete. “Don’t worry if you don’t get the reference. We will be moving into Babylon Gardens, you may have heard of it. They like theme tagging there, so….”

He snapped his fingers, and somehow I didn’t feel naked anymore. Oh, I was still naked, but now I found myself wearing a collar around my neck.

A dog collar.


It wasn’t tight enough to choke me, but it was tight enough that I couldn’t pull it over my head and take it off. I looked at my tag, which was an odd shape. Even upside-down, I recognized it.

“Your tag is that of a certain chess piece, to go with your new name…King.”

“Ohh no you don’t!” I snapped (barked?). “Being changed into a dog, I can put up with. Being naked and wearing a collar, I can put up with. Having you pose as my owner, I can put up with. But changing my name is crossing a line! You’re NOT going to call me ‘King,’ I have a name! My name is KING!”

I clapped a paw over my mouth. “My name is…King….”

Have you seen the movie “Liar, Liar,” specifically the part where Jim Carrey was trying to say that a blue pen was red, and he couldn’t do it? That was more or less how I felt now. No matter how many times I tried to say “My name is Joel,” I found I couldn’t do it. It kept coming out, “My name is King.”

“How…how did you do that…?”

“Do what?” said Pete. If he was yanking my chain (so to speak) he gave no indication. He was acting as though “King” had always been my name. And somehow…it felt like it was.

Not that I particularly minded the name—it sounded a lot more important than “Joel,” anyway. But I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t FEEL like a king. I felt about the same.

This was even weirder and freakier than being changed into a dog—being unable to say my own name, replacing it with this dog name, made it more real somehow. It was like I hadn’t been changed into something I wasn’t, but instead….

No, no, I wouldn’t think about that now. Pete didn’t give me time anyway.

“Come along, King, we’re going home,” he said, just like any guy might say to his dog.

“Yes, MASTER,” I muttered under my breath as I followed him. He held out his hand to me, and I took it. Didn’t have much choice, did I?

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:25 pm
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Well, it's been a week, and this thread hasn't been locked or deleted, so I'm going to assume (I hope rightly) that it's okay to have it here. That being the case, since no one's replied, I'm going to bump it with "Chapter 2." I would like some commentary on my style, and whether I'm doing all right in transferring the story to a different medium, if possible.

Anyway, here goes:

When he snapped his fingers, I suddenly found myself wanting to jump into his arms and clutch him tightly—not out of canine love but out of fear.

It was my first “astral jump,” as Pete/Gaspar had put it, and apparently it was his normal mode of travel. “Normal.” I could NEVER be a griffin. A lifetime of seeing movies about time travel and teleportation and vortexes did NOTHING to prepare me for this.

And then, before I knew it, we were back in the real world. I clutched my mouth with one paw, and my stomach with another, trying not to bend over.

“Don’t worry, King, everyone gets nauseous on their first astral jump,” said Pete. “It’ll pass in time.”

I couldn’t even make a sarcastic comment, I was too woozy. But eventually it did pass, and I was able to get my bearings. I looked around, and sure enough, I did recognize the place. In fact, it was too familiar. I began to feel nervous and exposed, as though all eyes were on me. It was covered in snow now, but I recognized it, all right.

This was where that cop lived, the one who’d arrested me for kidnapping his dog.

“Um, we may have a small problem….”

“Elaborate?” said my supervisor, who was riding shotgun in the van I was driving.

“Well, by ‘small,’ I mean ‘enormous,’ and by ‘problem,’ I mean ‘motorcycle cop.’”

“YAY!!” cried the caged-up gray dog in the back of the van. “HEY, STAY AWAY FROM ME!!” he added as my supervisor went into the back.

I cringed at his panic. I didn’t like to see any animal treated that way.

“Make him go away!” said my supervisor. “Promise him anything and use the fake dogcatcher license—I’ll make sure the dog stays down.”

“Wait—WHAT?!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! “We’re screwed, man! He’s going to figure us out!”

“Stay calm, and stick to the script.”

“Is THIS what the script was for?”

“What script?”

I whipped around—that hadn’t been a voice I recognized! I looked out the window. Resting his arm against the car was a rather large and scary man, wearing a helmet with a visor and a police uniform. I sank into the driver’s seat, feeling like a kid around my father.

“NOTHING! EHEHEH…what seems to be the problem, officer?”

“Oh, please, you tell me. I’m dying to know. I love listening to stories.”

I gulped, trying to keep my cool. It wasn’t easy.

“Talking about scripts isn’t against the law, is it, officer?”

“You seem to know quite a bit about the law, there. You would have gone far in the academy.”

I turned red.

“Sir, is there something I can help you with, or are you just wasting my time?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact. See, about an hour ago, my friend rashly assaulted someone claiming to be from PETA, matching your description—and on the very side of his face that you’re covering up.”

I winced.

“He was afraid you’d press charges, so he told me and gave a description of your vehicle. Imagine my surprise when not ten minutes later I received a call that MY OWN DOG had gone missing from the park.”

It took every ounce of my energy not to go into a complete panic. The dog we'd taken was HIS? A COP'S dog??

“So yes, I was wondering if you could help me put two and two together.”

“Uh…you see, officer, we’re dogcatchers, and we thought—”


Panicked, I did step on it, and hard. Again and again I pressed my foot to the pedal, not knowing why I was getting no distance between us and the cop. Soon I realized it was because I had forgotten to TURN THE IGNITION.

I slapped myself in the face.

“I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the vehicle, sir.”

“Come along, King, inside.”

I was brought back to the present as I saw the house he meant. He’d already opened the door and was waving me in.

“You have a lot to learn about humans,” I said. “You can’t just take any house you want just because no one’s living there. You need to purchase a deed, and—”

No sooner did I open my big mouth when I saw him produce one. “All taken care of before I visited you. It’s legally mine now.”

I needed to learn to keep my mouth shut, and not underestimate this guy.

“Now come on.”

Sighing, I stepped into the house. Well, at least it wasn’t a prison cell.

“Wipe that snow off your paws.”

Yeah, sure.

“What do you think you’re doing, King?”

Man, that was a question I was going to have to get used to, now.

“Uh, getting some food? I’m HUNGRY.”

Pete had caught me entering the kitchen and scrounging.

“Pets aren’t allowed to eat whatever they like, King. YOUR food is leftovers of human food that comes lukewarm in a bag.”

As he was saying this, he got a large bag of dog food out of the pantry, opened it, and proceeded to pour some into a dog dish that said “King” on it, which he placed in front of me.

I stared at him. “You think THIS is going to make me empathetic, gramps? I’ve eaten this stuff before—once, when I was a kid.”

To prove that this had no effect on me, I scooped up some of the kibbles as though they were peanuts and swept them into my mouth, chewing (which seemed a little easier than it had been as a kid, now with my sharp teeth).

“It’s really not that bad,” I continued. “Especially now that my sense of smell is enhanced. Besides, I LIKED offal, even before you gave me a dog’s body, with all its taste buds. If you want to teach me a lesson, you’re going to have to do better than that!”

“Oh?” said Pete. “You say that now, but I wonder if you’ll feel the same way after days and weeks and months of eating nothing else but that. I wonder if you won’t get sick of it.”

I glared defiantly at him but said nothing—for once. Sure, it tasted fine NOW, but what if he was right? It was likely—anyone gets sick of the same thing over and over with no variety.

I ate the rest of my dog food in silence.

“What do you think you’re doing, King?”

My ears perked up, and I winced, my teeth clenching together.

“G…Going to the bathroom…?”

What? Everyone has to go to the bathroom after they’ve eaten—don’t tell me it doesn’t happen to you.

“Pets don’t use the toilet, King.”

I turned red. “You’re not going to make me go OUTSIDE to do it, are you…?” It was COLD outside!

Instead of answering me, he took some newspapers and laid them down on the floor.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Do I look like I’m kidding?” said Pete.

I didn’t answer that. “Can I at least have some privacy?”

He cocked an eyebrow at me. “Can I trust you to be obedient?”

A sarcastic retort bubbled to the surface of my mouth, but I bit it back and nodded.

He left me alone, but I didn’t feel any more private. This was so humiliating….

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:23 am
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Haha, this is great. I always did like this arc.
As for your style, I think it's just fine. Pretty good attention to detail, and nice work filling in some time gaps and King's thoughts.

So is your next installment going to be of King's visit to the vet, or are you going to skip it and just follow the strips?


Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:12 am
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Thank you very much for your kind words! :D I love it too! And I'm glad you like my style and think I'm doing a good job--as I said, I'm not trying to "re-write" or even improve the arc, I just always thought it was too short and wanted to flesh it out (as well as give my own interpretation via King's introspection).

I'm not very good at fanfiction (hard for me to work within parameters set by someone else, especially when that someone else isn't able to help me), so for the most part I will just be following the comic (minus the introspection, of course) and fleshing it out where I feel necessary, since prose is a different medium than the comic page--so no, sorry, I'm not going to show King at the vet. I think that would be superfluous anyway.

At any rate, here's "Chapter 3", and I borrowed a line from Musimba so apologies there:

“So, enjoy your first trip to the vet?”

He was kidding. No way he wasn’t. After that harrowing experience I didn’t care to repeat anytime soon, my butt was still too sore to sit down on, and it had been, what, half an hour since I’d gotten my shots? Why did they have to give them in the BUTT?

Luckily, he didn’t wait for an answer, because I was still wincing and couldn't yet pry my teeth open to make a sarcastic comment. “You can go cool off in the snow until the shots stop hurting. I have something I need to do.”

Why don’t you KISS it until it stops hurting?! I thought of saying, but didn’t. Instead, I said, “Yeah, thanks, you always know exactly how to make it all better….”

So there I was, a Welsh Corgi with a sore butt, sitting by myself in the snow on the steps of my house, wearing nothing but a scarf around my collar and tags.

“What’s the point of making me suffer like this, anyway?” I thought to myself. “I can’t go where I want, I can’t eat what I want, it’s no different than being back in prison, which is where I was headed anyway! WHAT’S THE POINT?”

I buried my face in my paws, feeling tears start to come. “THERE IS NONE!” I told myself. “Nice going, King, now you know the truth, which is that the world is a cruel, hateful place, and EVERYONE SUFFERS ALONE….”

“Hey there, new dog! Wanna fight over my squeaky bone?”

My ears perked up as I realized the voice was talking to me. I had a tightening feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew that voice….

Sure enough, I looked up and saw a large gray wolf-like dog, who was even wearing a jacket while I only had a scarf. He was smiling and showing off his squeaky bone, looking playful and enthusiastic.

I wasn’t fooled a bit. It was him—the cop’s dog, the one I’d helped kidnap. The one that hated me.

I bit my lip (or what used to be my lip) in silent panic….

“Don’t you understand, dog?!” snapped my supervisor over the angry barking of the gray, wolf-like dog caged up in the back of the van. “We’re freeing you from slavery! Soon you’ll be free as a bird!”

“Don’t give me your rhetoric, I’ve heard it all before!” snapped the dog angrily. “I LIKE being a pet! I like my owner, I like not having to fight for my food, I like not having to worry about bleeding to death if I get hurt! I LIKE HUMANS, present company excluded, and when I get out of here I’m going to tear you apart and go home! My owner’s a cop, I’ll have you know!”

Why my supervisor didn’t listen to that last comment I’ll never understand.

“But don’t you see?” he said. “If you don’t live as nature intended, you can never truly be happy!” As if he and I were living “as nature intended.”


That cut a wound in me—no matter how much I tried to suppress my painful memories, I couldn’t help thinking about my own pets, and what had happened to them.

“Yes, I’m really starting to see the merit in this plan,” I said. “Was the part where we righted a wrong BEFORE or AFTER we deprived him of everything he loves?”

“Shut up and drive.”

“Is something wrong?” said the dog, seeming genuine in his sympathy. How like a dog.

“Y-You’re that…that…uh…no, no, nothing’s wrong! Hello….”

He smiled. “It’s okay, I won’t bite you. I’m really very friendly! Here, if you’ll be more comfortable sniffing first, that’s all right.”

“NO, NO, THAT’S FINE!” I cried as he lifted his tail in my direction. “You can put your butt back where it was, please….”

He seemed perplexed, but also a little amused. “Okay, okay, how about I just say, ‘Hello, my name is Fox’?”

“Hi…I’m King….”

As I said it, I realized something. I didn’t feel like I was deceiving him. I didn’t feel like I was hiding my true identity in fear of what he’d do to me if he knew who I was (certainly he didn’t know—had my smell changed that much?), especially now that he was bigger than me.

I felt like I was just introducing myself—like I was being completely honest when I said, “Hi, I’m King.”

“A-Are you CRYING?” said Fox as his ears and mouth drooped.

“N-No….” I sniffed, feeling wet fur on my face from my tears, which only further drove the point home. “I’d love to fight over your squeaky bone….”

So there it was. I wasn’t a human named Joel anymore. I wasn’t even a human named Joel under a spell that had changed him into a dog named King. I WAS a dog named King. It didn’t feel like I was under a spell and transformed into something I wasn’t, even though all my memories of being Joel were intact. It felt like…like I’d DIED, and been reincarnated into a new and strange life. And that being the case, I might as well accept it and fight another dog over a stupid squeaky bone.

“Okay!” said Fox, wagging his tail and panting. He picked up one end in his mouth and motioned to me to bite down on the other end. Sighing, I did.

It’s the strangest thing, but soon after we started playing “tug-of-war” with the squeaky bone, I started to feel better. Theoretically that observation should have upset me again, as it seemed to cement the fact that I was a dog now, and could be cheered up so easily by something so simple—but it didn’t. Instead, it brought me back to a simpler, happier time, when I was a kid, playing with my own dogs. Before….

But I wasn’t going to think about that now, I was too happy.

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Last edited by ChewyChewy on Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:19 am
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
ChewyChewy Wrote:
“Okay!” said Fox, wagging his tail and panting.

How can King do that when his tail is docked?

Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:37 am
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
2MKc Wrote:
ChewyChewy Wrote:
“Okay!” said Fox, wagging his tail and panting.

How can King do that when his tail is docked?

Um...King ISN'T doing that. Fox is--and Fox's tail isn't docked last I checked....

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:38 am
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
ChewyChewy Wrote:
2MKc Wrote:
ChewyChewy Wrote:
“Okay!” said Fox, wagging his tail and panting.

How can King do that when his tail is docked?

Um...King ISN'T doing that. Fox is--and Fox's tail isn't docked last I checked....

Oh, I'm so sorry, now I'm feeling embarresing of you. :oops:

Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:59 pm
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
There's no need to feel embarrassed, I was just confused as to what you were asking about. Anyway, you did at least pay enough attention to the fact that King's tail was docked, that keeps me on my toes, which is a good thing. :)

Anyway, here's "Chapter 4":

“Hahahaha! Man, I haven’t had that much fun doing absolutely nothing in a very long time….”

Fox and I were on our backs in the snow, taking a breather from our wrestling match. It was kind of fun watching our breath freeze in the air, and with all the activity we'd done I wasn't so cold anymore.

“It’s really nothing,” said Fox, sounding like he meant it. “I just needed to get out of the house while Dad’s fuming.”

By “Dad,” I knew he meant his owner. My dogs and cat had called my parents “Mom” and “Dad”—even though my parents sure didn’t treat them like family…. But now my ears perked up. Fox’s “Dad” was a cop.

“Huh? What over?”

“Oh…PETA tried to kidnap me earlier this year,” said Fox. “And apparently one of the guys Dad caught escaped from the courthouse on the day of his trial.”

It took me a second or two to realize he was talking about ME. Was I already starting to forget that I’d been a human? Or was it just that he’d used the word “escaped,” and I didn’t put two and two together because it sure hadn’t felt like an escape?

“Oh, uh…that must suck….”

Fox shrugged. “I’m not too worried about it. It’s not like the guy is gonna show his face around here again—I don’t think you have to worry about him.”


“But if he ever DID, boy, would I show HIM a thing or two! I’d grab him by the throat and throttle him—”

“AHAHAHA YEAH…that is such a…thing you would do SOOOO, how about that squeaky bone?”

Real subtle, huh? Lucky for me, though, I was talking to a dog, not a human.

“Okay!” He picked up his toy again and waited for me to grab the other end. I rolled my eyes but was smiling again. A human would have said “AGAIN? We’ve been doing it for an hour already! Can’t we play something else?” Or at least been suspicious about me changing the subject so quickly.

But no, not Fox. He reminded me of how much I loved animals, and while that made me happy, at the same time…it made me afraid. I knew the only reason he was being friends with me was because he thought I was another dog—he didn’t know I was the very human he’d said he would throttle if he ever saw me again. And now that I was smaller than him, I didn’t stand a chance, never mind that I had a whole muzzle full of sharp teeth to fight back with now. What would he do if he knew?

But somehow…it was hard to think of that as I played tug-of-war with him again. He seemed to genuinely like me, and I WASN’T Joel anymore anyway. I’d made my first friend since becoming a dog—and as I got to know him better, I began to realize that Fox and I actually had a lot in common. When he talked to me about how nasty his friend Bino was a lot of the time, I couldn’t help being reminded of my PETA supervisor. Just like me, Fox was friendly but naïve, he had a moral compass but not always the spine to stand up for what he believed in.

It made me wish I’d met him for the first time under friendlier circumstances….

“Dude, I am NOT okay with this anymore….”

“It’s okay, we only need one,” said my supervisor, who was hiding behind a bush with me at the dog park. “Even one would help further our cause.”

I sighed. “Okay, I guess…. How about that one?” I pointed to a bulldog.

“Uh…how about one that’s a little smaller? I’m not sure he would fit in the van….”

I looked around, then found another dog playing frisbee. “The brown one looks smaller, I’m sure you could—”

“Um, maybe one less active—you know, one we could sneak off with?”

He looked around, then pointed. “Like that one under the tree!”

I looked, and I saw a gray, wolf-like dog sitting under a tree by himself and reading a book. I couldn’t see the name on the spine.

“Yes, perfect—there is no way HE has any powerful friends!”

“You can’t really be sure….”

My supervisor didn’t listen to me—he just gave me the signal to move forward with “The Emancipation Operation,” as he called it.



“I just wanted to say…thank you.”

“Huh? For what?”

No matter how long I talked to this guy, I could never forget that he was a dog. He wasn’t being flippant, he was honestly surprised and curious.

“Well, things have been…CHANGING for me, so to speak, and for awhile there I’d given up hope. But you reminded me of what it all used to be like—when I was younger, and happier…and I guess there’s some hope after all.”

I started to smile. Mushy or not, I was completely honest in what I’d said. I wasn’t even thinking in terms of “I’m learning my lesson so I can become human again soon” but just basking in my newfound happiness. For the first time, I wasn’t even thinking about being changed back sometime in future—for now, at least, I was happy, and that was all that mattered.

“Ah, you don’t have to make a big production out of it,” said Fox, teasingly. “You’re a good dog!”

I blushed. I felt genuinely complimented by that. “You’re a good dog.” I didn’t even care that I’d become that much of a dog, even on the inside, that hearing that made me feel so good. I was a good dog. I liked being a good dog.

“In fact, you should come hang out at the Good Ol’ Dogs Club. Everyone’ll love you, and they’ll be glad to have you join!”

I grinned. “I guess it couldn’t hurt!”

This was too good to be true. Unfortunately I’d soon find that out in no uncertain terms.

“HA! Gotcha good, didn’t I, shorty?!”

I couldn’t even respond to Bino’s taunt—Bino was the de facto leader of the Good Ol’ Dogs Club.

I just stood there, holding the Christmas present he’d given me, the one that had just exploded—right in my face. The catnip had invaded my nostrils and was blocking all other smells. And now Bino was laughing at me and taunting me about it.

I wasn’t hurt, physically, but mortified? Not to be believed….

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Carrie,” you probably remember the part where Carrie’s been voted queen of the prom, and then Chris dumps a bucket of hog’s blood all over her, and everyone laughs at her.

I now had a slight idea of how she’d felt—but I had no telekinetic powers and I wasn’t going to fight back anyway. Just gonna stew…and stew…and stew….


Fox. Trying to stand up for me. I wasn’t listening.

“What do you think? New guy named KING strutting around like he owns the place? What would YOU have me do?”

I wasn't listening to a word either of them said, I was just stewing, turning red in the face, and clenching my teeth as tears streaked my cheeks.

“Not THIS! I’m getting SICK of your attitude, Bino! Just because someone disagrees with you in public doesn’t mean he’s trying to challenge you for your position!”

“Oh? You wanna say that to my face?” said Bino, bringing his dangerously close to Fox’s.


“Yeah, you’re ALWAYS saying it to my face! You’re all like, ‘Bino, we shouldn’t pick on anyone!’ But you always go along with me anyway!”

“Because you’re my FRIEND, though at times like this I seriously wonder WHY—”

That was as far as they got before I let out a very loud curse I don’t care to repeat here.

Every dog in the place stared at me in shock. I didn’t care. The fact that they were all bigger than me now only made me angrier.

“I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE WITH YOU ANIMALS! I can’t stand your PETTINESS, your SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS, your inability to see past the ends of your NOSES!”

I grabbed my scarf and put it on. “Every time I try to be a decent person you TURN ON ME without a THOUGHT! I’ve HAD IT! I’m LEAVING!”

“King—” started Fox.

“SHUT UP! I’m going HOME! And nobody better follow me, not Fox, not ANYBODY! LEAVE ME ALONE!”

I stormed out into the cold Christmas Eve night. Christmas…. Bah, humbug!

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Last edited by ChewyChewy on Thu May 20, 2010 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:09 pm
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Bumping this thread with "Chapter 5." Only one more to go....

It wasn’t until I’d gotten well away from the clubhouse that I realized I’d been talking more like a human than a dog when I’d yelled at everyone. I didn’t care. I was fed up. Fed up with animals and their capricious ways. They were all the same, just like my own pets had been….

When I was a kid, I’d had two dogs and a cat, but my parents abused them. Maybe they weren’t the worst pet owners in the world (and they sure didn’t abuse ME), but I knew it was wrong when they used a belt to whip them, or locked them in the closet, or made them miss meals.

Finally my pets couldn’t take it anymore—one night they ran away from home, but took me with them. They talked about how awful my parents were, refusing to call them “Dad” and “Mom” anymore, and said that with them gone their abuse would likely fall on me, so I was safer with them. I believed them. I actually believed them.

Was I completely naïve? I didn’t like what my parents had done any more than they did. Is it entirely my fault that I let them influence me?

But after only a few nights on the street, I didn’t even recognize my pets anymore. They’d become “feral”—a word I didn’t know at the time but would soon learn. They stopped being my friends and started acting wild—and hateful of all humans, even me. Even though I’d been the only one in their house who’d ever treated them nicely. Even though I was just a kid and couldn’t do anything to stop my parents’ abuse of them.

They didn’t care. They made me steal things for them, and they beat ME up if I didn’t—even if the reason wasn’t defiance but just that I wasn’t able to get the things they wanted. I didn’t deserve that. It only lasted a week before I ran away from them myself, and for a long time afterward I was always afraid they’d find me—and do something unspeakable to me.

I liked animals—at least, I kept telling myself I did. And as I grew up, I thought that maybe I could give of myself to the animal community. I thought, I shouldn’t let this experience be in vain—I should rescue other animals from abusive homes so they wouldn’t end up like my pets had.

That’s why I’d joined PETA. All I knew was that it was an animal rights group (or so they said) and that they’d let me join without doing a background check on me (I didn’t have the cleanest record). I hadn’t bothered to look into what exactly it was that they did, and I’d once again let myself be led by the nose by someone who only had their own best interests at heart.

And now it had come to this. Even though I kept telling myself I loved animals, part of me couldn’t help wondering if I only did that because I equated “animal lover” with “good person,” and didn’t want to face the possibility that I might hate them because it would make me a “bad person.” Every time I had to face an animal, that week I’d spent with my feral pets would haunt me, reminding me that they were all alike. Ungrateful, rotten little beasts.

And now I was one of them, and they still treated me the same way. No more. I’d had enough.

It was dark, and cold, and I was shivering. I wasn’t as cold as I would have been as a human, but I was still cold. I didn’t care. I liked the cold, the dark, the quiet, the solitude. I wasn’t even in any real rush to get home and see Pete—I just knew I couldn’t spend the night like this.

“Hey, cat!”

At first I didn’t pay attention, but then I heard quick crunches of snow coming up behind me.

“Hey, cat—oh, I’m sorry! You smelled like a cat—and nitro.”

The catnip. The exploding catnip Bino had given me. The last thing I wanted was to be reminded of that. I glared up at the one who was addressing me.

Another dog. And she was taller than me, just like the rest of them were. Terrific.

This one was a female. She was wearing a pink scarf and had a heart-shaped tag. She looked like a German shepherd, but her left ear was drooping.

Ignoring her, I continued on my way.

“Are you crying?” said the dog in that oh-so-sympathetic voice I remembered from Fox. Sympathetic my eye—it was all a sham, I knew it was.

“Is something wrong?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I muttered. I knew she’d be able to hear me without my having to speak up, and I didn’t care to start yelling again—it had hurt my throat.

“Okay, it’s all right if you don’t wanna say,” said the dog, sounding like she meant it. Oh, how I hated dogs right now! “I’ll just keep you company, ’cause it’s always nice to have someone around.”

“I don’t want anyone following me either.”

“Oh, okay, sorry.” She didn’t sound hurt at all. I shuddered.

I continued on my way and had gotten several paces away from her when I turned back.

She was still there, sitting in the snow by herself. How dumb was she?

“Well, aren’t you going to go home?” I said. Why was I asking? I didn’t care.

“No, Daddy locked me out again ’cause I didn’t get him any babes at the party. I think he just forgets when he’s mad.”

A pained expression came to my face as I looked into the heavens. I didn’t want to care—I really didn’t want to. But, unfortunately, I did.

Here was another dog being abused by her owner—guy who tries to use his dog to meet women and then punishes HER when he doesn’t succeed? What a jerk. Even my parents wouldn’t have done something like that.

Granted, this dog seemed too dopey to even realize she was being abused—probably she’d never go feral like my pets had done. Not that I really cared if she did kick her owner’s butt. “Daddy,” my eye. If she didn’t, I almost felt like doing it for her.

But I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand to see an animal being treated this way. Even if they were all ungrateful, rotten little beasts, it wasn’t fair. If she didn’t have an owner I might have invited her to my house—I didn’t even care what Pete would say, I wasn’t thinking about him now. But I didn’t care to get into a thing with her abusive owner, especially when I was so much smaller than him now and I knew he abused dogs.

I took two steps away toward my house and that’s as close to home as I got that night. I couldn’t leave this dog like this. I couldn’t bring her to my house, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing she was alone and cold, sleeping in the snow on Christmas Eve, even if she was so ditzy that she wouldn’t suffer as much as if she had half a brain.

I gritted my teeth. I was giving up my own warm home and proper bed, and for what?

“Scoot over,” I muttered as I returned.

“Yay!” said the dog. “Does that mean you’ll keep me company?”

“Yeah, yeah….”

“Oh boy! It’ll be like a sleepover! …Except without beds, or pillows, or food, and it’s freezing cold.”

Don’t remind me, I thought to myself. At least I wouldn’t be alone either—we had each other’s body warmth anyway.

“I’m Sasha!”

I sat down next to her, bracing myself for the cold wet snow beneath me. “I’m King.”

“Nice to meet you, King!” She gave me a big hug.

If it were any other female dog I would have thought, “She better not get any ideas.” But with Sasha I didn’t seem to have to worry about that. I’d be more worried about ME getting ideas, and I wasn’t enough of a dog yet to see females that way, thank goodness.

Shrugging, I hugged her back. Hey, at least we were keeping each other warm. There was nothing in the way of blankets except old newspapers from the trash. We made do with those.

Some Christmas Eve.

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Last edited by ChewyChewy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:59 am
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Great movie reference there Chewy. And my movie I was talking about the movie, Carrie. Consdering the state King was in at the time, I say its good he doesn't have telekinetic powers.

Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:20 pm
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Barkeron Wrote:
Great movie reference there Chewy. And my movie I was talking about the movie, Carrie. Consdering the state King was in at the time, I say its good he doesn't have telekinetic powers.

I'll say--especially since only Bino was laughing at him, everyone else was innocent....

Anyway, here's "Chapter 6" and last, the end of the arc!


I was so cold I didn’t feel like moving, not even to open my eyes.

“Wake up, King.”

I blinked a few times, then looked up.

It was Pete. I groaned. Merry Christmas.

Sasha was still asleep.

"Woof," I muttered, as though I couldn't speak human words.

“You didn’t come home last night, King.” His voice sounded more sympathetic than chiding. “You don’t have to worry about Sasha. She’s protected.”

“Cram it, you old bird." I was through playing games. “You know what? I don’t even know what the point of this is anymore. I don’t know what you’re trying to teach me—humility? Empathy? Do you even care? Do I? I haven’t learned either. I even stayed up all night watching over Sasha here, but all it proved is that I’m the same as I always was.”

I turned away from Pete but heard his footsteps crunching in the snow as they approached me.

“Even if I was going to change, I wouldn’t know where to start anyway. I’ll probably never change, so what’s the point?”

“King…whatever the storybooks say, most changes don’t happen in one magical night. They take time, and they rarely end so cleanly and happily as in the fairy tales.”

He began to pet me. I didn’t resist, but I refused to let him know I liked it.

“But as they say, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ And a teacher or guide can only lead you to the door. The decision to continue beyond it is your own.”

He started to scratch behind my ears. It was all I could do to stop my leg from wiggling as he did it. “I’ve shown you how difficult it is, and even with that firsthand knowledge you still wish to grow. You still wish to change. I’m very proud of you, King.”

My ears perked up at this, and I finally looked back at him.

“Y-You mean it? I can go back to being human again?” I dared to hope.

“Oh, King….” said Pete, smiling kindly and standing up straight. “Whoever said ANYTHING about changing you back?”

He said it in such a kind, friendly tone that it took me a few seconds to register what he’d said to me.

He isn’t going to change me back?!

“By the way,” said Pete, heading back home, “your veterinary follow-up appointment is tomorrow.”

For a long time I stared in the direction he'd gone, long after he left my sight.

He wasn’t going to change me back.

Granted, he hadn’t said “never.” Maybe he just meant that I hadn’t changed my ways enough yet to become human again. On the other hand, he hadn’t said he ever WOULD change me back either. It was the ambiguity that was the problem. Would he or wouldn’t he?

I sat back down in the snow, glad that Sasha was still asleep. I needed some alone time, but there was nowhere else for me to be, to get it.

I wanted to react emotionally to the news that I might never be human again. I wanted to have a temper tantrum. I wanted to start bawling like a baby. I wanted to do SOMETHING.

I did nothing. I was numb. The knowledge had fully registered in my brain, but it wasn’t connected to any emotional response.

I thought it over, trying to make some sense out of everything. He hadn’t said either way about whether he might change me back eventually—all I knew for sure was that he wasn’t going to do it now. As for why he hadn’t said, maybe it was part of the lesson? Maybe I wouldn’t change back until I stopped seeing that as the goal and started seeing the journey itself as the goal, or some fairy tale silliness like that?

Was it silliness? I wasn’t so sure anymore. It had been a very strange experience.

But was I on to something? Maybe he was trying not to give me false hope, so I wouldn’t suffer needlessly, thinking, “Will today be the day I become human again?” and then being disappointed when it turned out not to be. Then maybe I could devote my emotional energy instead to learning whatever lesson he was trying to teach me. I didn’t really know.

What’s more, I wasn’t even sure if I WANTED to be human again. I’d been excited at the idea, but then I hadn’t reacted emotionally when he'd said he wouldn’t change me back. Had I become that much of a dog, that I didn’t even care to be human again? Was Joel really gone, replaced with King?

Or was it just that things were easier now? I’d had a hard life as Joel—watching my parents mistreat my pets, being kidnapped and mistreated by those same pets, getting into trouble with the law, being led around by the nose by users, going to jail….

But now I didn’t have those problems anymore. I was a pet myself. Oh sure, I couldn’t go anywhere I wanted all the time, but what pet can? Besides, I had some freedom of movement. And I was already getting tired of dog food every day, but at least I wasn’t being starved. Pete was a lot of things, but abusive he wasn’t. Never did I feel a need to run away from home like my own pets had done.

And with Pete taking care of me, I didn’t have to worry about getting a job, or making money, or paying bills, or even basic things I needed in order to survive. He took care of it all. Whatever else he was, he was a good dog owner.

I started to think about my desire to help other pets so that they wouldn’t run away and turn feral and turn against humans like my pets had done. Was that completely unselfish? Or was it because I just couldn’t stand the idea that the animals that I loved and treated well might turn on me and treat me like garbage?

I didn’t really have any answers, but I supposed I wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore either. Pete could take care of it—he’d said Sasha was protected, hadn’t he? I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but I trusted him, now. And he was certainly in a far better position for something like that than I’d been even as a human.

Maybe that was it. As corny and clichéd as it sounded, maybe all I really wanted in my life was to be loved.

Sasha was still asleep. I scooted next to her and pulled the newspapers back over us, letting us warm each other with our body heat.


I woke up. That wasn’t Sasha—she was gone. At first I was worried—if she was gone, that meant her owner had probably come to get her. And if he’d seen her with a male dog, what might he do to her? I didn't even want to think of what he might have thought....

No—Pete had said not to worry about her. And nothing had been done to me, thank goodness. I trusted she’d be okay. Or tried to.

I turned in the direction of the crunching footsteps rapidly approaching me.


I couldn't believe it, I’d forgotten all about him! I’d left him at the Good Ol’ Dogs Club when I’d stormed out. And…I’d yelled at him. I’d yelled at all the dogs, sure, but I hadn’t spared him.

And now I remembered that he’d tried to stick up for me to Bino.

Suddenly I felt a wave of guilt wash over me, like I hadn’t felt since I’d helped kidnap Fox earlier that year.

But when he caught up to me….

“Here you are! I couldn’t find you anywhere last night! Are you all right?”

He didn’t even seem to remember that I’d yelled at him. He didn’t seem hurt, or even afraid that I might do it again. He only seemed worried about me, for my sake.

I looked into his eyes, and began to tear up. I didn’t even care that I was giving him the “puppy-dog eyes”—the expression on my face was completely sincere.

I hugged Fox tightly, as though he’d been one of my dogs that I’d abandoned without meaning to.

“I’m sorry, Fox…. I’m sorry I yelled at you back there. I’m sorry I stormed out. I was just—”

“King, it’s okay,” said Fox. And coming from him, I knew it was. “I’m more worried about YOU—you’re so cold! Is there anything you need? Anything I can do for you?”

I smiled. “Is at least one of Bino’s bones fractured?”

Fox smirked. “Three, actually.”

“Then I’m good.”

He smiled, and hugged me again. I didn’t care if I was going soft, I hugged him back—tight. I didn’t want to let go.

“Want to meet my owner?” I said when the hug finally ended. I still wasn’t going to call Pete “Dad.”


It’s been a very weird experience all around, and it isn’t over yet. Pete still hasn’t changed me back into a human, and now…I’m not even sure if I want him to anymore. Even if I do learn whatever lesson he’s been trying to teach me.

Granted, it hasn’t all been sunshine and lollipops. I have had some bad experiences since that Christmas—some of them even worse than that exploding catnip—and not all had to do with Bino, either. But at the same time I’ve also had some real fun, and genuine happiness, and just all-around good times.

I still don’t know if I’ve quite learned to be humble, or empathetic, or whatever—I still have a short temper which I can’t always control. And I’m still as impressionable as ever—but at least I’m not alone in that now. Never in my life have I had a friend like Fox.

And I still haven’t told Fox who I really am, or was. At first it was for selfish reasons—I was afraid of what he’d do to me if he knew. But now…now I don’t feel like I am that same person anymore, even though I remember being him. “King” certainly never tried to kidnap Fox, and "King" wouldn’t do such a thing. There was no reason to get Fox upset over nothing. What’s past is past, as trite as that sounds.

I don’t know if I’ll ever change my ways completely, but I’ve already changed a lot, both inside and out. Maybe I will become human again someday, maybe I’ll spend the rest of my life as Pete's dog. I don’t know. I don’t even really care anymore. For now at least, I’m happy with my life. Happier than I've ever been. It’s not all peaches and cream, but there are times when I really do feel like a king.

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Last edited by ChewyChewy on Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:25 pm
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Great job on the text adapation there. I can see you captured Kings feelings through the comic arc. :)

Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:49 am
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Post Re: Text adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Dog's Life"
Barkeron Wrote:
Great job on the text adapation there. I can see you captured Kings feelings through the comic arc. :)

Thanks! :D I'm glad I was able to do that--a lot of it is my own interpretation, as evidenced by a fanfic that interpreted it differently, but I did try to base it as much as possible on the actual comic arc.

PF chars

"We have to do this take again! HAL, do it with a LOT less emotion!"
"I'm sorry Stan, I'm afraid I can't do that."

pair-o-dimes dot blogspot dot com

Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:19 am
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