The Owner and the Man take me for a walk in Wales. It appears that, in Wales, water does not confine itself to taps and the sky, but runs along the ground in a bold and positively challenging manner.
The Owner and the Man walk along beside this water. They are talking about the Prime Minister and so the Owner is waving her arms a lot as usual. This means that she is not paying attention. I walk along behind them, watching the water carefully in case it makes any sudden moves.
Suddenly, as we reach a spot where the ground drops down and the water widens and becomes noisier, the Owner removes her wellingtons and, to my shock, she wades in. Clearly she was more distracted by the Prime Minister than even I had realised. I watch in horror as the water engulfs her entire feet.
Within moments she has realised her mistake. ‘Hergest,’ she calls as the water attempts to sweep her to her watery fate, ‘Hergest, come on.’
There is no time to spare. Even though I do not have either my cape, which we left on the bed, nor my trusty sidekick Caspar, who had told me he was being re-fluffed at the dog groomer this morning, this calls for Superdog, I leap into the roaring tide.
The Owner shrieks ever louder. ‘Hergest! Hergest! Come on, you can do it!’
All the Primeval Instincts of the Ancestral Dog are at her disposal. All the faithfulness of the Hergest Hound is hers for the asking. All the honed and combined skills of Superdog and his Trusty but Fluffy Sidekick Caspar are steaming to her rescue. I plunge towards her, the waters dragging at my body, trying suck me away. From their depths I sense the massing of angry trout and the distant threat of sticklebacks.
It’s a maelstrom. The water surges around me. My feet are wet, and my ankles. It starts to pull at my knees. I struggle forwards. The Owner seems to be getting further and further away. Her plaintive cries are ever more desperate. I cast caution to the wind. I know they say it’s foolish to jump into water after your Human. I know they say the Human is always fine and it is the dog who can’t get out. I know they say Humans have a Natural Instinct for water and they are tougher than you think, just throw a stick for them and wait for them to scramble onto the shore, wet and foolish perhaps but ultimately none the worse for wear. But when you are Superdog such cautions means nothing…. when you are Superdog the Instincts of the Superhero drive you. Who dares, says Superdog, wins. (Caspar says Heroism is in the Heart not the Fluff, but I don’t think that has quite the same ring to it).
All these thoughts run through my head. I realise too that the Man, still on the bank, is afraid to enter the water and is urging me to reach the Owner on his behalf. I realise that he, too, is dependent upon her for cheese. I am doing this for all of us….I channel the joint Superness of myself and Caspar, and force myself to push forwards into the chaos.
Exhausted, I find myself on the far shore. The Owner, wet barely to the ankles, is drying her feet with her socks. I watch in disbelief as she replaces her wellingtons and waves at the Man, as he walks over the small bridge beside us.
‘Wasn’t that wonderful?’ She says, ‘I told you you’d like it.’
Like it? A Moral Dog does not become Superdog because he likes it.
Next time she wants to throw herself into the river she may find I’m being fluffed at the dog groomer too.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.