I arrive home from dog day care after an exhausting set of activities, only to have the Owner open the fridge and declare in tones of sorrow which, I must say, sound slightly unsurprised, that we are fully out of cheese.
How can we be fully out of cheese, I ask, when we were fully in cheese this morning?
Well she says as if cheese is a thing that can wander off by itself in the early afternoon, there were only two slices left this morning and they are clearly gone now.
She seems oddly nonchalant. I cannot understand it. I say if there were two pieces left this morning then, unless an evil master criminal has burgled the fridge, there should be two pieces now. The cheese would not leave me like that. We had an understanding.
Well, she says, it appears to have done because there isn’t any. Never mind.
Never mind? Between being in cheese and being out of cheese lies a chasm of such enormity that the canine mind just cannot contemplate it. I say that I understood the fridge to be a sealed fortress, as impregnable as Alcatraz itself. Surely, I say, Indiana Jones himself could not have obtained that cheese if you did not want him to. Not even if he had James Bond with him.
That is all true, she says, but it is possible that the cheese had Other Plans. Have you ever seen the movie with Indiana Jones and James Bond in it?
I sense a subtle attempt to divert my attention. A suspicion is forming in my mind but I suppress it valiantly. Cheese does not make Other Plans, I say, that would be ridiculous. Perhaps Indiana Jones used particular ingenuity, I say. Perhaps he abseiled through the roof window, cracked the fridge with safe tools and a stick of dynamite, repaired the damage so as to render it undetectable and fled the scene with the cheese?
No, she says, fiddling with Squeaky Cat, Indiana Jones did not take the cheese. I notice that Squeaky Cat (who has been reborn looking much newer and with all his stuffing renewed and a working squeaker) is squeaking rather half heartedly.
Then who, I ask, trying not to look at Squeaky Cat, fearful of the doubt I might see reflected in his eyes, broke into the kitchen and kidnapped my faithful cheese? It must have been distraught.
Look, she says, the cheese was not distraught. I ate the cheese. I like cheese, and I needed lunch and you were at Dog Day Care having fun with Bercow and Houdini and that Bassett Hound from Westminster who wears the coat. What’s his name?
Mogg, I say, and you do not have fun with Mogg, you have to concentrate too hard on trying not to chew him. It is extremely difficult and I was sustained in it only by the thought of my cheese, waiting for me and only me. What sort of dog wears a Barbour? I cannot believe you ate the Moral Dog’s Moral Cheese.
No she says, Cheese is not Moral, it is Just Cheese. The Cheese showed no loyalty whatsoever, it simply offered itself to me as soon as I opened the fridge. That is why I ate it. To spare you from its faithlessness. The Moral Dog should not be subject to Amoral Cheese.
How could I have imagined such terrible things? The Owner saved me from the Amoral Cheese! And to think I suspected her of stealing it! I express my gratefulness in the usual way and when she has got up off the floor and changed her sweater I settle down on my cushion with an old bone and Squeaky Cat, who is almost as faithful as the Owner. It’s lucky I am a Moral Dog, I tell the Owner. Otherwise I might have interpreted things entirely the wrong way.
The Owner says she unaccountably has indigestion and will need to go for a lie down.
Probably, says the Man, who has heard the tail end of our conversation, you have eaten too much cheese.
This is what you risk when eating Amoral Cheese for the sake of the Moral Dog. What an Owner I have.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.