River’s Secret

Brett A. Hurt
4 min readSep 24, 2023

I wrote a science fiction short story today named “River’s Secret”. I spent about an hour on it with Google’s Bard as OpenAI’s GPT-4 didn’t allow me to given the subject matter. Bard, the newest version, was a helpful brainstorming partner. I had to write quite a bit of it myself but I enjoyed working alongside the AI.

In full disclosure, I’m a vegetarian, so there are elements from that side of my persona. I hope you enjoy it, and keep an eye on your dogs because they are keeping an eye on you.

I also hope you take this in the spirit of fiction. I’m not trying to cause yet another conspiracy theory about Covid, so beware if certain political leaders start to raise money on this. ;)

I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and have always loved it. Most tech entrepreneurs grew up reading science fiction and dreaming about the future. I’ve also long theorized that dogs are much more than they appear — it’s been a fun thing to think about it since I was a kid and… who knows! ;)

Image by DALL-E 2 of “The Dog Collective” (can’t wait until DALL-E 3 comes out)

River’s Secret

I’m River, a miniature long-haired dachshund. But I am not just any dachshund. I’m a dachshund with a secret! I’m an alien from Canis Major.

Canis Major is a beautiful planet, full of life and love. Dogs are the dominant species on our planet, and we live in harmony with all other living things.

When I was old enough, I was sent to Earth to join the Dog Collective. The Dog Collective is a group of dogs who are dedicated to watching over humans and helping them to evolve.

We’ve been on Earth for thousands of years now, and we’ve seen a lot. We’ve seen the best of humanity, and we’ve seen the worst.

We have seen humans love and care for each other, and we’ve seen them commit horrific acts of cruelty.

One of the worst things we’ve seen is the wet market in China. The first time we saw the wet market, we were horrified. Dogs were being caged, beaten, and killed. Their bodies were then sold to be eaten.

We couldn’t believe that humans would do such a thing. Dogs are your friends and companions. They are not food.

We knew that we had to do something. So, the Dog Collective decided to retaliate. We used our advanced technology to create a virus that would spread quickly and easily among humans. The virus was named Covid, which stood for Canine Outbreak Victims In Danger.

We knew that this was a drastic measure, but we believed that it was necessary. We needed to send a message to humanity that eating dogs would not be tolerated.

Covid spread quickly, and soon the world was in the midst of a pandemic. Millions of people died.

It was a terrible time for humanity, but we hoped that it would be a wake-up call. We hoped that they would learn from their mistakes and start to treat animals with respect. And we dogs actually got more attention than ever during the pandemic. Covid was a time of much love sent our way. Was it a secret plot by some of us? No, but it did have a direct benefit to most of us.

The Torah taught my owner, Brett, that God gave us dominion over animals, but this does not mean that we have the right to abuse them. We’re supposed to be caretakers of the animals, not their executioners.

It is interesting to note that God spelled backwards is Dog. Perhaps this is a sign that dogs are meant to play a special role in God’s plan for humanity.

We are saddened that humans have not learned their lesson. Eating dogs still continues today, and we worry that we’ll have to inflict more pandemics if humanity does not change its ways.

However, we’re also hopeful. We believe that humanity can evolve morally and learn to live in harmony with all living things. We’ll continue to work towards this goal, even if it takes us thousands of years more.

We dogs love humans. We want what is best for you. Please learn to respect us and all animals. Let us evolve together to create a better world.

The Aftermath and “Project Empathy”

The Covid pandemic had a profound impact on the world. It forced people to rethink their relationship with nature and their place in the universe. It was called the Great Reset by some.

Some people became more aware of the importance of animal welfare. They started to eat less meat and to choose more sustainable food options as they also focused on their health.

Other people became more skeptical of science and technology. They believed that the virus was a hoax or a punishment from God.

The Dog Collective watched these developments with interest. We were pleased to see that some people were learning from their mistakes. But we were also concerned about the growing distrust of science and technology.

We knew that we needed to do something to help humanity evolve morally. We needed to show them that they could live in harmony with nature and with each other.

We decided to start a new program called “Project Empathy”. The goal of Project Empathy was to help humans understand and appreciate other living creatures.

Project Empathy is now in a full-scale, global rollout. We are watching you, and we hope you make the right decisions on how to treat each other and us animals, especially dogs.



Brett A. Hurt

CEO and Co-founder, data.world; Co-owner, Hurt Family Investments; Founder, Bazaarvoice and Coremetrics; Henry Crown Fellow; TEDster; Dad + Husband