The Coughing Dog

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Terrifying urban legend of a single woman who wonders why her guard dog starts acting so strangely. Collected and Adapted by Craig Dominey.

Kristin had always been the “black sheep” of her family. She came from a rural and very conservative Middle Georgia clan, and had fought constantly with her parents since she was a child. Kristin wanted no part of the settled and routine life her parents had lead – she was an impulsive free-spirit who would travel to the far corners of the earth at a moment’s notice, sometimes not even knowing where she was headed, or why.

So it came as no surprise when, a few weeks shy of her 30th birthday, Kristin announced that she was leaving her high-paying job at a major corporation to fulfill her life’s dream – to become a professional sculptor. She sold her expensive suburban apartment and moved into an abandoned mill in one of the rougher areas of Atlanta. She planned on converting part of the space into a full-time studio and living area.

Her parents were horrified, especially when they learned that her studio was just a few miles down the road from the county jail. And Kristin didn’t see the need to rig her studio with an expensive alarm system, for her neighbors seemed nice enough. But like every other discussion Kristin had with her father, his words of warning went in one ear and out the other.

So on her 30th birthday, her father took matters into his own hands and bought Kristin a guard dog – a Doberman named Bishop from the local humane society. The dog had been abused by his former owners, and had become mean and distrustful of humans. But Kristin always had a strong love for animals, and she took the poor dog into her care. In a matter of weeks, Bishop became very attached to Kristin, and extremely protective whenever anyone else would approach her.

Atlanta Goat Farm Tunnel

One morning, Kristin came home from a trip to the hardware store to find Bishop lying in the middle of the floor, coughing and wheezing uncontrollably. She immediately rushed him to the local veterinarian, who performed a series of tests. After a while, the vet was satisfied that Bishop wasn’t dangerously sick, but he couldn’t figure out why the dog was still coughing.

“Don’t worry,” he told Kristin in his calm and soothing voice, “Bishop looks perfectly healthy. But I’d like to run some additional tests on him this afternoon. Why don’t you go home and I’ll call you when we know something. There’s no sense in sitting in the waiting room all day.”

So Kristin got back in her car, made a trip to the health food store, then returned home. As she walked through the door, she could hear the phone ringing in her bedroom. Loaded down with shopping bags, she decided to let her voice-mail catch the call. But no sooner had the phone stopped ringing then it started ringing again. Thinking it may be an emergency – or perhaps an annoying telemarketer who needed to be yelled at – Kristin dropped her bags and ran to the phone, catching it on its last ring.

“Hello?” she breathlessly answered.

She was surprised to find her veterinarian on the other end. “Kristin, we have some results on Bishop. We need you to come back to the office.”

“Okay. I’ll be there in an hour or so…”

“…No, Kristin,” interrupted the vet in a barely controlled voice. “We need you to come down now.”

Kristin was taken aback by the sound of his voice. She could hear the tension lurking behind his words. There was something he wasn’t telling her. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “Is Bishop okay?”

“We’ll talk about that when you get here,” answered the vet, his voice growing louder and more agitated. “Just get in the car now.”

“Why can’t you tell me over the phone?” asked Kristin.

The vet suddenly blurted out, “Are you in the house alone?”

A chill ran through Kristin’s blood. She slowly sat on her bed and replied, “Yes. Why?”

She could hear the vet taking a deep breath on the other end of the phone. Then, barely able to contain the tremor in his throat, he said in a hushed voice, “Listen to me carefully. We found out why Bishop was coughing.”

It was then that Kristin noticed her bedroom window. A hole had been punched through the glass, and it was unlocked.

“Kristin, are you there?”

“Yes,” Kristin answered, her voice starting to shake.

She then noticed drops of blood on her carpet. They stretched across the room and underneath her closet door. “I don’t know how to tell you this, but what we found in your dog’s throat were fingers. Human fingers.”

As the vet spoke, Kristin sat frozen as she watched the closet door slowly creak open on its rusted hinges. “Did you hear what I said? He bit the fingers off somebody’s hand!”

Kristin still didn’t answer. In the darkness of the closet, she swore she could see the hand of a large man, blood dripping from where his fingers had been gnawed off. And on his arm was the orange sleeve of a prison uniform.

“There’s somebody here,” Kristin whispered into the phone.

“Get out of the house, Kristin! For God’s sake, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!!!!”

The phone line went dead.

– THE END –

Story Credits | Story Background


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  1. Kristin is such a pompous character not only leaving her high paying career to become something she has no past experience with, and she decides she’ll do it in an abandoned mill. Not only that but she kept questioning the vet when he told her to come to the clinic, what if the hospital calls you too come immediately are you going to question them as well? The fact of the matter is that Kristin really had it coming being such a rebellious character. Smh

  2. soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo scary i dont want to go to my closet

  3. OMG I CANNOT EVEN I AM SOOOO SCARED RN LIKE ON A SCALE FROM ONE TO EVEN … I CANT.WHAT IF I GET MY HAND BITTEN OFF BY MY BETA FISH.I AM SHOOKETH TO THE CORE.

  4. This was so cool and scary at the same time and if there was a book That had this I would definitely read it.! Really freaky!?

  5. Me and a friend were listening to this on October 31,2012 , and at the end when the phone line went dead our screen went black. Scary thing is though its so close to Halloween now and she just moved to a bad are o the outskirts of Alanta.

  6. This was ScARy!! Although it needed a better ending. Is there a part two? I needs more of story!!!! I was really good although like I said before, it needs a better ending. Other than that,…. IT WAS REALLY REALLY GOOOD!!!!! (starts kissing computer LOL!) 8-| um… I wasn’t doing that…

  7. This book is quite a interesting horrific story, i enjoyed it quite a bit it made me shiver below. That gard dog, oh how terrifying.

  8. I’ve always been a fan of urban legends and this one is so creepy that I get chills each time I hear this one. Please do more urban legend stories!

  9. seriously, how many of you look for blood on your carpet every time you walk into you house?! it was a good story. thou i think there could have been a longer ending.

  10. okay, this isn’t even scary. how didn’t she notice the broken glass/ bloody carpet immediately? and why didn’t she listen to the vet? she must have a room-temperature iq.

  11. This story is not scary Even a single but was funny . This story looks as it is an uncomplete story . Also the people who say that this story is scary are full of fear

  12. Before this story: one pocket knife on my desk
    After: Three swords, two knives, and a bow and arrow.
    And thats just my bathroom

  13. Same here bane… holy crap… now im scared somethings in my closet! i felt as if though my heart just… i dont know wut when the doctor called… O_o im scared… lol

  14. This is stupid because how can a dog eat human fingers? it will die! <:o
    i dont like this story its soo babyish its not evem scaryy 🙂 ohh well ByE

  15. i know right we didnt know what happend and this is not realy scarry and it is stupid a dog cant bite off a finger from a human! <:0

  16. this is not scary because we didnt get to know what happened with kristie? i think she died? Lol well byee!!! YEAA BUDDY

  17. that was scary and funny at the same time and to think that i already had enough hard times with partialy closed closets

  18. OMG!! this story was ssssssssssoooooooooooo scary but what happen to the doggie!!! his he ok? did kristin die?? i sure hope not!!

  19. the one I heard about One under the bed and say Human can licking as the dog can and she found her dog dead in the bathroom shower.

  20. although this story is based on an urban legend… it was still pretty awesome! i would hate to have my hand eaten off by a dog though… that would suck. 🙂

  21. Funny story. Probably true, or at least I hope it is, the dog did its job. But I didn’t like the ending. If it was me, there would have been a second Doberman named “Knight” and if he didn’t get the job done then Mr. Prisoner would have met Mr. AK-47.

  22. The kristen girl is so stupid. why would she keep questioning the docter after he told her to come. Why is she so dumb? My gosh…she kind of deserved it for not listening.

  23. that story gave me chills espeially at the end when she see’s the hand in the closet and finds out that someone is at the there and i think she go killed or something

  24. But then what happens?why does the phone line go dead? It really needs a better ending. It was a good story though.

  25. dudes you are asome with this succesful website you rock not like a rock but like rock and roll that kind of rock you get me

  26. who knows what is going to happen without the gurad dog i was totally scared when they found the fingers

  27. That was so scary!!Selene:If you live near a prison with no lock on your door,and alone w/o any pets,you can be afraid.lol

  28. MAN THAT STORY ROCKED… it was scary especially when the lady saw the blood then the man was coming out of the closet… but it was kind of a cliff hanger (the phone went dead)

  29. HAHAHAHA! That was so funny! The dog ate human fingers!! All i could do was laugh!! Hahaha that was awsome! 🙂

  30. woOOOooowww… our dog did something like that to another dog who (unfortunatly) killed our guinea pig which our dog was very attached to. both dogs are fine… R.I.P. einstein!!!

  31. ….why is it always the closet! im already scared enought of pple hiding in my closet! no need to add more to my fear! TT-TT…i hear of one kinda like this except there is no dog and the friend is the one who tells the person who lives in the house that the killer is hiding under their bed…creepy!

  32. this was an awesome story, not really scary but still really good. i have a min-pin and full grown doberman but the min-pin is more aggressive than the full grown which is funny

  33. I heard a similar tale in Memphis back in the 80’s. In this case, the burgular was caught and the apartment dwellers were saved, though.

  34. why didn’t the guy just grab the dogs bottom jaw and pull down toward its chest. He could have saved his hand. Anyway, its still a cool story, mostly because it could really happen. There was a guy in prison, in burgaw n.c. , who mailed himself out of prison. they caught him in the post office. Thats funny:)

  35. I didn’t find this story scary, I knew when her father bought her the dog where this story was going. This story is based on a well known urban legend about the choking doberman/ dog, so having heard that legend is a story spoiler. It’s still a good one though.

  36. omg that was actually pretty scary. but that dog seemed so crazy he bit somebody fingers off, remind me enver to mess with a dog.

  37. That was so freaky!!!!!!!I was so scared.I sware my heart skipped a beat.That was so scary,I was so terrifed!Im glad that it wasn’t me.It was cool for Bishop tried to pretect Kristin!:)The guy still creeped me out.:(

  38. now it’s ok! thanks for the explanation… but anyway, do u mean that there was a stranger (prisoner) who wants to hurt kristin… so in other word the dog saved kristin from the prisoner???….

  39. ok oliver santos the prisoner was trying to break in and the dog bit his fingers off to keep him from hurting kristin hence the fingers in his throat and the mans fingerless hand.

  40. I cant understand… what’s the connection of the dog & the prisoner’s hand? I cant seriously get it!
    Can somebody explain it to me?