I believe I read this story in a short-story anthology, possibly in the 70s. I have no memory of the main body of the story other than it probably involved "different realities". At the end of the story, the protagonist awakes from anaesthesia in a hospital where a (dog-like?) doctor congratulates them on their newborn litter of puppies, suggesting that the preceding story was in fact a dream under the anaesthetic. This is an extremely sketchy description of the story, I know. I just remember the ending coming completely out of left-field.

EDIT: Additionally, I'm fairly sure that the protagonist was depicted throughout the story as being a human male; not specifically, but the way the story was written made the character seem to be some guy in a situation. This was what made the ending feel like a double punch... the character in the real world was a "dog-thing"(?) mother.

  • 2
    Was the doctor shaggy in appearance?
    – Spencer
    Jun 20 at 13:19
  • Hi Spencer. I really can't remember how the doctor was described. I read this story a LONG time ago. I remember that the rest of the story never implied anything regarding dogs, puppies or hospitals, and the ending knocked me sideways. Jun 20 at 14:13
  • Perhaps described anthropomorphically? Jun 20 at 14:15
  • @RobertO'Neill At the risk of over-explaining, Spencer was cracking a joke about "shaggy dog" stories that have no point other than the time it takes to read them (which is, itself, the point, as the situation of there being no satisfying conclusion is unexpected enough to cause amusement).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 20 at 20:27
  • Yeah FuzzyBoots, I kinda got that impression, but figured my story outline was so vague that perhaps it was a genuine query. I'm very new here 😉 Jun 20 at 20:31


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