I ask the Other Dogs if we should still be Licking. Caspar and I are in Favour. However Bercow says he is maintaining a two metre rule, whilst Houdini says he makes a point of never being in the same room, or even street, as his Owner for more than an hour. Caspar points out that this is Nothing New for Houdini, who is not usually to be found even in the same County as his Owner, but Houdini observes that he does not yet have Covid so it must be working. Lucifer says he has not licked his Owner since he was given the Nose Cage, out of Principle. Jeremy the Beagle says Licking is a Sign of Historical Oppression and we should Never have been doing it Anyway. We must stand together, says Jeremy. All for one and one for all.
This is all very well, I tell Caspar, but the Owner may need the Licking. It may be Important for Solidarity. We agree that we will not be swayed by Political Rhetoric. We will decide for ourselves.
Do Dogs get Human Viruses? I ask the Owner, later.
Sometimes, says the Owner. Rabies, for example, can affect both Dogs and Humans. But I do not know much about Dog Viruses. You should ask the Vet.
I do not want to ask the Vet, I say. Every time I see him he Fails to Respect my Personal Boundaries and initiates Inappropriate Discussions regarding bits of the Moral Dog he seems to consider Optional. I do not want to Give him an Opening. I am asking about Covid, specifically.
Ah, says the Owner. I see. Ask away.
Can Covid infect Dogs? I ask.
It is not infectious to Dogs, says the Owner. It was passed from Bats, probably, or possibly Pangolins, to Humans.
Were they very Amoral Bats? I ask.
Not at all, says the Owner. They were just minding their Own business. It was a matter of closeness. It is incredibly rare for a Virus to survive in a place where it is a stranger, even rarer for a Virus which has done that to succeed in spreading there. It is about as likely as you being accidentally sent to Mars then discovering that you alone among Moral Dogs have been born with the ability to live and breed there. However when two species live close together, Viruses have many Billions of Times more Opportunities to Try out new Hosts than when we do not.
I move imperceptibly further from the Owner. How close together are we talking about? I ask.
The Owner sighs. Very, she says. It appears that, in China, bats and pangolins were sold in Markets for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. That is very close contact indeed. That is being Eaten. If Dogs were to use Humans for Traditional Dog Medicine the same risks might well arise. It gave the Virus many opportunities for very close contact. It is a Very Good Reason for Dogs not to Eat People on a Regular Basis.
I see, I say. Are we in Close Contact? I ask.
Fairly, says the Owner. There is some Shared Slobber, although to be fair it is Mostly Yours. But as long as I use a Wet Flannel there seems little Real Prospect that it will Digest me.
So the Virus which has been in you could have spent the last two weeks Plotting to find a way to leap to the Moral Dog via his Slobber? I ask.
Viruses do not Plot, says the Owner, but indeed I imagine that several Billion Viruses landed on the Moral Dog last week, particularly during the More Slobbery Contacts, and Gave it a Shot. These shots would of course have failed. This is the nature of most such attempts.
Billions, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner. Although the Virus was in My Slobber rather than yours, and you may have noticed that I generally refrain from Slobbering on the Moral Dog.
I did steal your Scone though, I say. That may have had Slobber on it.
Almost certainly, says the Owner, since you stole it whilst I ate it.
I think I have a Temperature, I say.
You do not, says the Owner. The overwhelming probability is that is will take hundreds more years before this Virus manages to Leap to a Moral Dog. If you tell me you have a Temperature in Hundreds of Years I might believe you.
Hundreds of years? I ask.
Yes, says the Owner, that is how it generally works. In the Meantime, the Most important thing the Moral Dog can do is help Humans survive this crisis with our Emotional Souls intact.
Moral Dogs are good at that, I say. Although it does involve Slobber.
I have a Wet Flannel, says the Owner. It is fine.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.