Lionel and Kelsey Pettett were expecting their first child.
Kelsey wanted an abortion. “I don’t want to be a mother.
It’s too much work and we already have the dogs.”
The couple had three dogs, Blossom, a St. Bernard; Bubbles,
a terrier; and Buttercup, a Great Dane.
Her husband wasn’t happy about the pregnancy either. But as a psychology graduate relegated to working as a fast food manager, he viewed the impending arrival as raw material for a psychological study.
“If we could raise the kid as a dog, I could write up the results as a graduate thesis. Who knows, maybe I can skip the coursework and get a graduate degree. Then I could get a real job.”
“You think a university is going to grant you a degree without paying anything.” Kelsey mocked her husband. “They’re in business to make money.”
But still his idea was
interesting, and as time passed, Kelsey agreed to try it.
A normal delivery followed and the boy was raised with as little human affection as possible. He slept in a dog basket on the floor. Kelsey diapered him until she could train him to use the newspaper spread in the corner of the room.
She was surprised and upset the day Baby Lassie, as he was called, barked for the first time. She considered stopping the experiment.
But Lionel persuaded her to let it continue, at least a
little longer. He hadn’t envisioned its great success. Taping conversations
between Baby Lassie and the dogs, he was gathering enough information for ten
“He’s communicating to the dogs through barks,” Lionel said. “If he can be taught to communicate with humans, as well, he could serve as a link between the human and animal worlds. I read an article about a similar situation in which a child had been raised by a pack of wolves.”
The plan was on track until Lionel detected a cough in the child’s bark.
“What do you expect when he runs around naked all the time?” Kelsey pointed out. She was having misgivings. It was time to stop. Taking care of four dogs was too much.
The cough became worse. The child's bark turned into a rattling whine.
Both grew concerned. They couldn’t take Lassie to a doctor because they’d be accused of child neglect. Lassie would be taken from them. Hell, they might even be put into jail with the way government got into everyone’s business these days.
All Kelsey could do was to cool the fevered child with cold compresses. But the dogs had gotten quite possessive. They wouldn’t let her near him. The child continued to whine loudly.
“This is ridiculous,” Lionel said. “We’re in charge here.” He picked up an umbrella, and pushed the snarling dogs back from Kelsey and the child.
Unfortunately he got distracted as his wife wiped Lassie’s brow.
Blossom leapt forward. Her front paws hit Lionel in the chest and knocked him to the floor, causing him to lose his grip on the umbrella. He tried to push Blossom off his chest, but the beast had pinned him securely.
Setting Baby Lassie down, Kelsey attempted to pull Blossom off her husband. But Bubbles bit at her arms with tiny nips, yapping loudly between bites.
Kelsey stood and kicked at the terrier. But when she turned
back, Blossom had climbed off Lionel. His eyes were rolling back in his head
and blood was streaming from the wound in his neck.
“Oh dear god.” Kelsey knew she should call an ambulance, the dogs had gone completely crazy, but first she needed to sit down. She thought she might faint from the sight of her husband bleeding out.
When she hit the floor, Blossom bit again.
With the couple out of the way, Blossom licked Baby Lassie, whimpering softly in a sing-song fashion. But the child’s temperature continued to rise. After a while Lassie ceased to whine. He lay white and still, hardly breathing.
As the day wore on, Buttercup began to clean up the mess. She licked the blood as best she could from the saturated carpet. The other dogs joined her in the chore. The blood satisfied their appetites for that day, but by the next afternoon, they were growing hungry.
Buttercup began to sniff at the bodies sprawled across the floor. The she dug in. The other dogs joined her. Enough meat and blood remained to satisfy them for many days. Baby Lassie’s puny corpse provided dessert.
The dogs licked the bones clean and then gnawed at them until they were broken into small bits and finally white speckles that were spread across the carpet.
The owner of the house eventually showed up. Rent was three weeks late. He called for Lionel, and then Kelsey, but all he heard was barking dogs. He returned later with a master key.
The stench of urine and excrement masked the rancid smell of the carpet. He took his sweater off and covered his nose and mouth before following the loud barks into the room that housed the dogs.
They ran up to greet him. He surveyed the room in horror.
“Damn swine,” he said. “Ruined the place and skipped with the rent. Poor dogs, you must be starving.”
He went into the kitchen and opened some cans of food for the dogs. When they finished their meal, he took them home with him.