The Moral Dog is growing fast, says the Vet. His Parts Suggest he will soon Hit Puberty.
I don’t Subject Others to Common Assault then make Unfounded Accusations of Violence on the Basis of Prodding at their Parts, I say.
Goodness, says the Owner. I assumed he had Hit it Already. His version of Stairway to Heaven has to be heard to be Believed.
That is true, I say, modestly. I am rather good at the Falsetto, I say.
What can I expect of Puberty? Asks the Owner.
A Trying Time, says the Vet. Squeaky Cat may not Survive it.
Excuse me, I say, I can hear you. Even Dreyfus was not found Guilty in Advance, I say.
I think the Moral Dog has been Hitting Puberty since the Day he Came Home, says the Owner.
I certainly have not, I say. Show me the Jury that would Convict. It must have been Some Other Dog.
When we get outside I Spread myself upon the Pavement so that the Owner is Unable to Move Me.
What is it? Asks the Owner.
I Demand to Know what Hitting a Dog I have Never Met has to do with my Parts, I say.
Sadly, says the Owner, Puberty is Very Concerned with the Moral Dog’s behaviour being Changed by his Parts. When the Moral Dog hits Puberty he may in fact become a Slave to his Parts.
You mean my Parts may become Unreasonable? I ask. Is that why I will hit this Unfortunate Dog, Puberty?
That is the Gist of it, says the Owner.
Surely, I say, I have Moral Parts, since they are attached to a Moral Dog.
One would think so, says the Owner, but the Parts unfortunately trigger one of the more challenging stages of Moral Development defined by the Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg. That is what Puberty is.
What are these Stages? I ask.
The First is the Premoral Stage, says the Owner, orientated to punishment and obedience and driven by Hedonism.
You are referring, I presume, to the period of the Cheese, I say, when the Moral Dog was persuadable to do all manner of things for Cheese without considering the Moral Consequences Himself.
Exactly, says the Owner. The Premoral stage is Puppyhood, when the Moral Dog was a Malleable Delight, looking to the Owner for Moral Guidance.
I am no longer Persuadable by Cheese, I say. I have Definitely Moved On. What comes next?
The next stage is of Conformity, says the Owner, when the Moral Dog seeks Approval for his Actions and Follows a Firm but Predetermined Moral Code. The Moral Dog is Learning the Rules.
You mean the Moral Dog comes when called and walks to Heel? I say. And the Moral Dog accepts he may be Rather Less Moral if he Takes a Modest Diversion on the Journey Home and Apologises for it? The Moral Dog who ran up a Large Dry Cleaning Bill but eventually learned the Rules about Pale Pink Trousers? I did that Long Ago. I am No Longer a Slave to Trousers.
Indeed you are not, says the Owner, but sadly you have Recently Shown signs of Approaching Kohlberg’s Final Stage, in which you no longer Obey, Conform or Apologise but instead decide for yourself the Morality of Accepted Moral Principles. The Moral Dogs Parts are Responsible.
Aha, I say, so when the Parts and I reach Puberty I become a Fully Autonomous Dog and May decide that Some Rules Can be Morally Disobeyed?
Exactly, says the Owner. At Puberty the Moral Dog develops an Individual Conscience and can Opt to Diverge from the Moral Rules where it is Morally Right to Diverge from them, developing such characteristics as Arguing Back, Running After Other Dogs, Feelings of Adulthood and Maturity, and a Certain Air of Always being Right. The Moral Dog becomes a Pain in the Proverbial.
Excellent, I say. I am Looking forward to Puberty. I think I will Hit it Right Now.
I feared as much, says the Owner. Shall we Go Home now?
I will have to decide if my Conscience Allows it, I say. On the One Hand there is a Moral Rule that says I should Acquiesce to the Moral demands of an Adoring Owner.
Indeed, says the Owner. Although Adoring may Possible be an Overstatement, given that I sense you have More to Say.
Indeed, I feel the Butcher is Missing Me, I say. And I am not sure, in any case, that the Decision on when to go Home should be Yours Alone. The Pubertal Dog can no Longer Avoid the Challenge of Conflicting Moral Perspectives. I must Make a Stand. You do not Know Everything. I know I am Right.
But I want to go Home, says the Owner.
Do I look Bothered? I say.
I cannot believe you said that, says the Owner.
That wasn’t me, that was my Parts, I say.
I knew it, says the Owner, as I Pull her to the Butchers where the Moral Dog would like to Discuss Bones like a Grown-Up. I should definitely have Chopped them Off.
I am going to Pretend I did not Hear That, I say.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.