I have a new coat. It is bright red and makes me look like a tomato. This is not dignity.
What am I to tell the Owner? She is so proud of it.
Lucifer offers to chew it to shreds, if I feed it in through his nose cage, but the Owner might see. When Lucifer chews stuff, owing to the nose cage, the shreds are spread all over the Park like a confession.
Houdini says if I go through a hedge backwards I will probably lose it. I say Houdini does not understand how many parts of me are tied into this coat. I do not want to lose any of my parts in the hedge.
Jeremy the Beagle says I should tell the Owner she is oppressing me and demand my right to remove it, even if it means I stand in the wind until the parts the vet is always talking about freeze solid. I say the Owner says if I quote Jeremy one more time on oppression she will change my name to Nigel.
Mogg won’t even talk to me. He says the coat is Plebeian. This actually endears the coat to me in an odd sort of way.
Bercow says if I shout a lot things have a way of working out. I have discovered, however, that if I shout the Owner thinks something is wrong with me and takes me to the vet, where the parts Jeremy suggested could one day freeze are discussed in a potentially disparaging manner.
I sigh. What would you do, I ask Caspar?
I don’t see that the problem is, Caspar says. You are a Moral Dog with a Moral Owner. Think of the coat as the price of love.
The Owner says love does not have a price, I say. She was very plain about it. Even in song. Piercingly. Apparently the Moral Dog does not Howl Along to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It is true that love does not have a price, says Caspar. It is also true that dignity does not have a price. However, and this is the paradox, sometimes love and dignity have to be exchanged. Pricelessly.
You mean dignity is given up for love for free? I ask.
Exactly, says Caspar.
He should know. His coat has flowers on.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.