The world was not always as it is today, so manicured and tidy, with bags for poo and packets for cheese and Owners who needs to be taken around on leads to stop them from running in the road. Once the world was new and savage, a place of trees and running water, of creatures that grunt and flap in the undergrowth, of survival and hunting and teeth and prey. A world in which dogs and people came together for their mutual benefit, in mutual cooperation for survival and warmth.
I am reminded of the long history of the dog-human partnership this morning in the park when, venturing through a gate, we find ourselves back in the primeval jungle. Immediately, my instincts spring forth. I tear from tree to tree, eating everything I can in order to clear a path, pursuing everything I can in order to remove the threats, wallowing in everything I can in order to better disguise my mysterious, knowing presence. At one point I dig, deep and fast, in case a hiding place is needed from whatever lurks here. The soil flies fabulously and a wildness takes me as I dig and dig….
The Owner follows. She looks nervous, as well she might. She looks muddy, as well she should. Frequently she calls my name, seeking reassurance, for who knows what lurks in the undergrowth?
Together we creep, through the green and mysterious bush. Parrots and squirrels are oblivious to our approach. Almost oblivious to our approach. If she would stop shouting ‘no, Hergest’ they would be completely oblivious to our approach. I am Machete Dog, finding a path through the dangerous unknown, and I am reminded of the words of Sir Henry to the rightful King of the Kukuanas in King Solomon’s Mines: “It is far, but there is no journey upon this earth that a man may not make if he sets his heart to it. There is nothing, Umbopa, that he cannot do, there are no mountains he may not climb, there are no deserts he cannot cross; save a mountain and a a desert of which you are spared the knowledge, if love leads him and he holds his life in his hand counting it as nothing, ready to keep it or to lose it as Providence may order.” How much more true would this be with his faithful Dog beside him?
Quatermain would never have got himself sealed in the mines if I had been there.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.