The Owner hopes she is past the Worst because her temperature has come down. There was a Turning Point in the night, she says. Mind you, she is still coughing, and about as Cheerful as Mr Darcy in the start of that film, even before he fell in the Pond.
That is excellent, I say. When can we go to the Park?
We Cannot, says the Owner. The Prime Minister is cross with the people going to the Park in Large Numbers who do not stay two metres apart, so he has ordered people not to go. It is not Socially Responsible to Go Against General Advice for Personal Enjoyment. We must all show Solidarity and Self-restraint and Act in the Community Interest. When I am well we may have one short walk a day. but not yet. I am still coughing. And I am still Languishing.
But you will not give anyone the Virus now, I say.
That is not true, says the Owner, and whilst it will be true in a few days time, the People having their Rationed Exercise in the Park will not know that. We would still set a Bad Example, and possibly inspire Fear and Resentment.
Perhaps there should be a Sign, I say, that People who are Recovered could wear.
That would be wrong on so many levels, says the Owner.
Why? I ask. Surely if one labels people who are Socially Acceptable and People who are Not, then the Socially Acceptable People could go to the Park.
And what would happen to the Other People, asks the Owner, were they to Venture Out to buy Basic Supplies as one Must?
Ah, I say. I see where you are going with this, I say.
Mankind has a rather poor history when it comes to Publicly Labelling those who are Not Considered Socially Acceptable, says the Owner. We must all behave as a Community. We cannot pick out those lucky enough to have recovered from Covid, nor pick out those who are not. But the Immune can Make Themselves Useful.
Indeed, I say, Bercow tells me that some of them are doing extraordinarily helpful things such as, for example, Walking Other People’s Dogs in Quiet Places in the Evening for those Stuck Inside. It is an Unselfish Act of Community Solidarity. Marx would say from Each According to his Ability, to Each According to his Needs.
That is a good way to think, says the Owner. Were you, perhaps, thinking that I might, once well, demonstrate such Community Solidarity myself by, for example, offering to walk some Other Dogs?
What a Very Good Idea, I say. How very Clever of you. Whilst I would not with to put the Recovering Owner out in any way, there must be many Isolated Persons who would welcome a Covid Immune Person to Walk their Dog.
There must be, says the Owner. What was the Moral Dog planning to do whilst I perform this Community Service?
Well, I say, you may need help maintaining Control at All Times, particularly where the Playing and Ball Retrieving is Concerned. You never know with Other People’s Dogs. I could help in all Aspects of Dog Management since, being a Dog, I am something of an Expert. This way the Moral Dog would be Playing his Part in Community Solidarity too.
I thought you might think that, says the Owner. Whose Dog shall we offer to take?
I thought perhaps Caspar, I say, and Bercow. And I believe Houdini has had no walks since the Unfortunate Incident in Regents Park, yet it was not His Fault. He did not expect the Giraffes to react so Unreasonably.
Are they not, coincidentally, Particular Friends of the Moral Dog? Asks the Owner.
They Might Be, I say.
I am sure the Moral Dog is not Making this Suggestion out of Ulterior Motives, says the Owner.
Surely you cannot Imagine that the Moral Dog would suggest we go Against General Advice for Personal Enjoyment, I say. We must show Solidarity and Self-restraint at this Time.
Of course not, says the Owner. It never crossed my mind.
I am going to ignore the slight hint of irony I caught in her tone. She has still got a virus, after all.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.