What is a dogneut?


It's like this: You're driving home one hot summer day and have stopped at a busy intersection when something furry bounds across the road. You squint and realize that the creature looks like a cross between Benji and a rabbit--but whatever it is, it's running for its life. So fifteen minutes and three blocks later, you're sweaty and winded, but with the help of some fellow motorists, you succeed in cornering the elusive being in a park. Upon closer examination, it appears to be a neutered dog, but rather squat, with huge, unblinking, almond-shaped brown eyes, and, quite frankly, you've never really seen a dog that looks like this one. Nonetheless, you take the "lost dog" home, place signs at the intersection, ads in your local papers, notices at the area vets, and a report with the animal shelter.

It is then that you become suspicious. Despite the creature's obvious intelligence and familiarity with the daily rituals of human life, he does not seem to understand any English and does not answer to any of the one-hundred most common dog names. You try other languages: He ignores all verbal commands, yet displays an almost telepathic awareness of what is going on around him, and a naturally authoritative nature. He seems to assume that you and your Golden Retriever will submit to his wishes without question--as if he is accustomed to being obeyed. Stranger still, weeks pass and no one calls. All indications are that this animal has had no existence on your planet prior to the instant you saw him in the intersection. In fact, the more you think about it, the more you wonder if as you approached the intersection, the creature just materialized...

Unnerved by these observations, you question the alleged dog. He feigns ignorance. Not long after, his small body is racked by spasms. You rush him to the vet, where you are told he suffers from epilepsy. What is the animal's history, you are asked. But of course, you cannot answer. Instead, you renew your efforts to find his "owners." No one calls.

Then the bill for the "lost dog" ad arrives. The ad description says "dogneut," and in a brilliant flash of insight, you realize this is not a contraction of "Dog, neutered, found 7/20...," but rather the creature's species. Confronted with this evidence, the dogneut cracks. He gives up all pretense of being a canine and admits that he is, in fact, Ralph, Prince of the Dogneuts, Supreme Ruler of Planet Ralphie. Yes, in the distant cosmos there is an entire planet of dogneuts just like him. He was captaining the Mother Ship of the Ralphie Federation when an unfortunate technical gliche occurred and he was transported through space and time, where he did, in fact, materialize in that aforementioned intersection. His Shortness, Prince Ralph, further informs you that his periodic "epileptic seizures" are actually reverberations of the disturbance in the space-time continuum that surrounds him caused by the efforts of his loyal crew to beam him back, for he is certain that his people miss him terribly and are doing everything in their power to ensure his safe return home.