Meredith Vieira: My Husband's Never Warmed to the Dog

Meredith Vieira, Richard Cohen Talk Book I Want to Kill the Dog on Today Show

11/03/2012 AT 07:15 AM EDT

For her last appearance as host of the Today show, Meredith Vieira kept dog Jasper at her side – something her husband, Richard Cohen, can't seem to fathom.

"I find it mind-boggling that anybody can be as affectionate and pay as much attention to [him] as Meredith does," he says during a taped segment for Wednesday's episode of the Today show, in which he and Vieira reflect on his new book, I Want to Kill the Dog.

"I don't think that Richard has ever really taken to Jasper the way one would hope," Vieira adds, "and also maybe there's a little jealousy."

With host Matt Lauer serving as mediator, the affectionately sparring duo weighed in on their opposing attitudes towards the family dog, whom Cohen says became the inspiration for his latest piece of writing after he realized he was ready to move on to a lighter topic.

"I was beginning work on a much more serious book, another book about chronic illness," says the journalist, who has battled multiple sclerosis for most of his life, "and the dog started barking. I was talking to my agent, and I said, 'I'd really rather write a book about how I would kill the dog.'"

Making it clear that the tome is written in jest, Cohen points out that he would never harm an animal, but found his irritation with the dog – his barking is a major point of conflict – a light-hearted jumping off point to write about his condition and marriage.

"Meredith and I both use humor as a coping mechanism," he says. "It's really what gets you through the day. I had a fabulous time writing this book."

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