Before you write off Meredith Vieira’s husband, Richard Cohen, as the worst person in the world for writing a book called I Want to Kill the Dog, keep in mind that the title is a joke and all in good fun. He would never kill an animal … but wouldn’t be too upset if his dog, Jasper, happened to get struck by a meteor.

The couple appeared on the Today show last week to talk about the book and even brought the furry subject of Cohen’s ire to the set. Surprisingly, Jasper was very quiet while they chatted with host Matt Lauer. But it seems his calm demeanor was out of the ordinary — the dog has a barking problem.

“I hear the word ‘Jasper’ and every muscle in my body tightens, my jaw clenches, and I almost back away because I expect a hideous shriek to follow,” says Cohen.

“I don’t think that Richard has ever really taken to Jasper the way one would hope,” Vieira teases in defense of her furry best friend, “and also maybe there’s a little jealousy.”

During the interview, Cohen (who has had multiple sclerosis since he was 25 years old and battled colon cancer twice) explains that he was inspired to write the book because he was starting to work on a more serious book about chronic illness and then the dog started barking, so he told his agent he’d rather write about his annoying canine.

All kidding aside, a portion of the proceeds from the book will go to the ASPCA. Proof that deep down, Cohen is a true animal lover. (Or Vieira is very, very persuasive.)