Well, it finally happened. After Kevin, my son, spent months begging and pleading to get a dog, I gave in. And lo and behold, it has been an absolute nightmare. Part of me thinks the reason is my son’s lack of responsibility, and the other part of me thinks that it is because the dog we adopted is Black Shuck, the canine harbinger of death.

I figured that when I was my son’s age, my parents let me get a dog on the condition that I was the one who took care of it. I thought, why not let my son have the same opportunity? I had a German Shepherd named Lucky, but one of the key differences between Lucky and Black Shuck is that Lucky was a living, breathing creature and Black Shuck is a ghostly apparition fueled by bloodlust.

Every night, like clockwork, at midnight Black Shuck leaves to stalk and hunt a sinner. Then he brings them back to our yard.

The fact of the matter is training a dog is hard work. The other night, when Black Shuck dug up an entire cemetery and resurrected an army of the dead to do his bidding, what did Kevin do? Absolutely nothing.

Today it’s just resurrecting diseased people, but what happens when he calls upon the black-hearted demons that roam the depths of Hell to enter the realm of the living and unleash true suffering upon all of humankind (as the Black Shuck has routinely threatened)? Knowing Kevin, he’ll just give the dog some treats and tell him what a good boy he is.

And getting a good night’s sleep is a thing of the past, what with Black Shuck’s midnight hunts for the unjust. Every night, like clockwork, at midnight he leaves to stalk and hunt a sinner. Then he brings them back to our yard, opens a portal to Hell and drags the sinner into it. Why he can’t open a portal to Hell in the sinner’s yard instead of ours, I do not know.

And you better believe these people do NOT want to go to Hell. They scream. All. Night. Long. I’m lucky if I can get three hours of sleep a night!

Recently, I’ve tried to take it upon myself to train the dog, since Kevin refuses to do so. For example, earlier today, when Black Shuck began levitating and chanting incantations of death, I got out the old spray bottle and spritzed him in the face. The flames in his eyes grew larger and more powerful, which is weird because water should put out the fire, but I suppose hellhounds don’t follow the same laws of nature that us humans do.

Since that didn’t work, I bought Kevin a dog-training book in hopes that it would motivate him to get Black Shuck under control. But when I tried to give it to him, Kevin just told me, “Black Shuck says that any book that is not bound in human flesh is not worth reading.” This is certainly not true, as I have ready many excellent books that were printed on paper, like The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane and my collection of Garfield comics by Jim Davis.

And just the other day, I came home to see that Black Shuck was sitting on the sofa, even though Kevin promised me that he would keep the dog off the furniture. Unbelievable!

Something problematic that I could never have foreseen is that we are physically incapable of giving Black Shuck his vaccinations since he is a ghost and solid objects simply pass right through him. While Black Shuck may be able to render his prey incapable of movement with simply the sound of his bloodcurdling howl, that doesn’t mean that he’s not susceptible to common canine diseases, such as rabies, hepatitis, and the distemper virus.

And though Black Shuck certainly makes me mad, I must admit, I am starting to warm up to him. Often, the dog will come home and drop a severed arm or two at Kevin’s feet. And when I see him staring up at Kevin with those doggy eyes, (which, to be fair, are as red as the fires of Hell) looking for approval, I can’t help but remember Lucky staring at me just like that when I was a boy.