Author Allison Ziegler

A laboratory creature recounts his experiences in the lab up until his eventual rescue. Photo from

A laboratory creature recounts his experiences in the lab up until his eventual rescue. Photo from

I am different.

From what? I don’t know. That’s just what They tell me. Or...I guess it’s more like They say it around me when They don’t think I can hear Them.

Which is always.

All I know is that They are humans, and I am not.

They say I’m like a dog, but also kind of not. I get confused sometimes, and I try to ask Them what they mean. I don’t think They understand me though. They only understand a few things I say, like “Hello” or “Yes” or “No”. I guess I can’t blame Them. I can only understand some things They say too.

I don’t know how long I’ve been here, but it’s all I can remember. Nothing else. Just this clean white room with the humans and the clean white pelts They wear because They don’t have fur of their own. My fur is clean and white too, but it’s real, I think.

Like I said, They confuse me a lot. They don’t treat me like one of Them, but I think They don’t love me like a pet either. They call me “it” instead of “him”. For some reason, They think I’m a “what” instead of a “who”.

I think it’s okay though, because sometimes They pet me and give me treats. I’ve always liked the treats. They make me a little sleepy, but it feels good. Whenever I hear that They’re going to “analyze” something about me, I get excited because that means the treats are coming. The “analyze”ing is usually scary, but the treats make it seem not so bad, and sometimes even make me want to go along with it, which makes things here better.

I don’t like the cage They keep me in though. I mean...sometimes I do, but only when I go to sleep. Other than that, it’s boring staying in it. I’m in here now, actually, and I’m bored. I guess that’s why I’m thinking about everything. I don’t have anything else to do.

Wait. Here comes one of Them.

He unlocks the cage and starts talking to me, and even though I don’t understand most of it, I know he said the word “analyze”. He also said “Jack”, which is me. They called me by a number at first for some reason until I told them my name. I was really proud that I remembered how to say it.

He gives me treats.

In a few minutes, I feel sleepy and good. Maybe what happens today won’t be so bad. I think it’s a good idea to follow him and not fight him. Maybe I can get more treats that way.()()()()

They give me food to eat, but it’s not treats. They called one thing They gave me “choc-o-late”. I liked it, but it hurt my stomach. The “grapes” did that too.

After that They give me food that’s supposed to be for just dogs. I’m confused because I know I’m sort of a dog but also sort of not. I eat it anyway. It doesn’t taste good, but at least it doesn’t hurt me.

I don’t think this “analyze” thing is so bad. Whenever the food hurts me, They pet me until it stops. It makes me like Them more when they don’t treat me badly.

Today is definitely better than when they did what they called “surgery”


My days go kind of like this for a long time. They do a lot of tests to see what the dog part of me is doing, or the “cat” part, or the “rabbit” part, or the “horse” part, or even the human part. They say I’m a “combination” of different parts of different things. I don’t know where They’re getting the idea of all these parts from, though. I just look like a dog.

But they do tests, and more tests, and more tests for so long. Everything is the same every day. Nothing ever changes.

Until the day it does.

More humans come, these ones wearing blue pelts instead of the white ones They wear. The new humans say They are “under resting” or something like that. I don’t hear them that well.

But I think that They weren’t supposed to be doing what They were doing. And that’s why the new humans take Them away. I don’t feel sad

One of the new humans comes over to me and opens my cage. He looks at me for a long time. He seems sad.

I tilt my head because I’m confused. Why would looking at me make him sad? Does he not like dogs?

He starts talking, but just like with Them, I don’t understand all of it. I hear “Jack”, my name, and the word “brother”. He acts like he knows me, but I don’t know him.

Then he hugs me, which is more confusing. None of Them ever did that. Why is this new human doing it?

No one ever explains it to me. The new humans take me and leave the clean, white place. The human that knows me keeps me close to him. He seems scared that I’ll leave.

But I don’t think I will. I kind of like this new human, even though I just met him. He calls me his “brother”, and I don’t know what that means, but I like being called that. It feels right.

The new human still seems sad, but he puts me into a thing he calls a “car”. Then he gets in too. I look up at him. His eyes are wet. I wonder where we’re going.

Though I didn’t say anything out loud, he answers my question. He says we’re going “home”.


I think I like that.

The December Low-Down

The December Low-Down

How Students Endure Failure

How Students Endure Failure