TODAY | November 01, 2012
>>> back now at 8:15 with a familiar face when meredith left the "today" show last year, she said she wanted to spend more time with her husband richard . but if you ask him, meredith 's focusing most of her attention on another family member, their dog jasper .
>> well, i hear the word jasper , every muscle in my body tightens, my jaw clenches, and i almost back away because i expect a hideous shriek to follow. and i rest my case.
>> i think he's doing it from a good place. i think he's doing it because he's a protector.
>> i think jasper is just narcissistic and doing that to hear himself bark.
>> i don't think that richard really has ever really taken to jasper the way one would hope. and also maybe there's a little jealousy.
>> i'm not jealous of the dog because i don't think i want to be the dog. i find it mind boggling that anybody can be as affectionate and pay as much attention to it as meredith .
>> obviously i'm attracted to a type. richard 's all bark and no bite. and this one's more bark than bite.
>> jasper is very possessive. and really thinks he owns meredith .
>> i don't think the dog thinks in those terms. i think the dog sees me as his best friend .
>> if i approach the bed, he goes crazy and he goes for my neck.
>> i don't think he's ever broken his skin.
>> i can't get into my own bed because the dog won't let me do it.
>> i think it's when richard lunges, you know. like one of those quick, in for a quick kiss. the dog doesn't know if it's a kiss, he has no idea.
>> meredith is a very stubborn person. she would never admit that the dog's a pain.
>> look at him now. have you heard one bark?
>> i hear jasper and it -- i find it piercing. it goes through me, and i look at meredith and it's like she didn't hear a thing. i never figured out whether it's total denial.
>> perfect animal. perfect. okay. so now there's a little moment of -- good boy. jasper -- jasper .
>> this is a way of life around here.
>> meredith , richard and jasper are with us now. richard is the author of the new book called "i want to kill the dog." i had forgotten just how dysfunctional you two were. you know, when you left, it was a weight being lifted. and now i'm reminded of what goes on in the household.
>> may i point out that the dog's quiet?
>> sitting next to some yapping --
>> oh, thanks a lot. that just set me up. that's just great. how did the book come about?
>> you know, where i was beginning work on a much more serious book, another book about chronic illness . and the dog started barking and i was talking to my agent and i said i'd really rather write a book about how i would kill the dog. now, i would never kill a dog.
>> let's get that out. there's a lot of animal lovers out there who are going to say that's a horrible title for a book.
>> i would never hurt an animal, but if a meteor landed on his head --
>> it would not upset you.
>> no fingerprints.
>> do you think it's possible you are a little blind to jasper and some of the dog's more irritating habits? because i have to say, the dog did spend a lot of time around here, and i know --
>> excuse me, what are -- the dog has a barking problem. but i have long felt that it's not the dog that has the problem, it's we as trainers and being -- we didn't do good enough job training the dog. and i take responsibility for that.
>> here's what richard writes in the book. and these are comments about you. my wife is a happy puppy prisoner and unreconstructed animal pologist. miss "m" --
>> how do you plead?
>> basically guilty and proud of it. i love animals and like i say, bugs in the house, i free them. that sort of thing. i don't like to harm things.
>> isn't there a limit to what we can do for this dog on this show? i remember back -- i mean, first of all, you dragged him out here on your last day of the show as your security blanket .
>> i didn't drag him.
>> we gave the dog iq tests , genetic tests, weeks of dog training by expert trainers, jasper even got a photo shoot as a result of the show. what more can we do for this dog?
>> i think the dog's -- excuse me, the dog speaks for himself. he's perfectly well-behaved. perhaps he's a little bit off.
>> richard writes some things about you in the book that are nice. okay, mrs. doolittle. he says she is a fabulous mom, a real friend and a great journalist. and i will tell you that's more in keeping with the guy i know who says these things. because he's an awfully sweet man. has this created some friction in the house? real friction other than come sell the book friction?
>> not really.
>> she tunes me out. you know?
>> ear plugs ?
>> no. in one ear, out the other ear. she just doesn't hear me. and you should hear jasper when the doorbell rings. i mean --
>> nobody in america believes a word what you're saying.
>> submarines in the indian ocean are picking this up.
>> you mentioned you've written other books, was this a nice break, richard , all kidding aside ?
>> yeah, it was. it was a really nice break. i've written a lot about my m.s., other people's chronic illnesses, and, you know, meredith and i both use humor as a coping mechanism, i think. it's something we have shared with our kids who have really adapted too. and it's really what helps get you through the day. and i had a fabulous time writing this book.
>> and just in case there are people out there who still think you are two of the most uncaring people by writing this book --
>> me? i have nothing to do with it.
>> there's a portion of this --
>> the proceeds will go to the aspca. yeah. there's a hot line set up with the humane society to help people given what happened with the hurricane to relocate their pets and also there are a lot of animals out there that need a home. and i'd gladly take several more, wouldn't you think?
>> again, the book is called "i want to kill the dog."
>> he doesn't.
>> he's kidding.
>> meredith and richard and jasper . the best behaved jasper has ever been here on the show.