I have heard a Terrible Rumour, I say, that people in India are abandoning their Dogs.
I am afraid it is true, says the Owner. The fear of Covid is leading people to do these things.
But I thought you said that Dogs did not get the Covid? I say.
That is what we thought, says the Owner. It seems that two Dogs in Hong Kong have tested positive for the Virus.
Seriously? I ask.
Yes, says the Owner. And a Cat, in Belgium.
Do you think they had been eating Bats? I ask.
No says the Owner, they had probably been licking their Owners faces. The public have been asked not to exchange licks with their Dogs.
Yeugh, I say.
Do not pretend, says the Owner, you try to do it all the time.
Only when you have been eating Cheese, I say, and I thought you said the Covid could not jump another species barrier again. You said it would take a Hundred Years.
I thought it would, says the Owner, but there is one Possibility.
Now you tell me, I say.
Well, says the Owner, if the Original Covid Virus that made the leap was already capable of Surviving in both Persons and Other Creatures like Cats and Dogs, it would be no Surprise. We have much in common.
Why did nobody think of this? I ask.
They did think of it in Hong Kong, says the Owner.
And what happens to Dogs with the Covid? I ask. Am I going to cough and cry and Play the Piano endlessly as you did?
I did not cry, says the Owner.
It must have rained on your Face then, I say. But tell me about the Dogs.
The Dogs had no Symptoms, says the Owner. They neither Coughed nor Cried nor Played the Piano. They were tested after they were Quarantined because their Owners had Covid. It was in the Slobber. One of the Dogs is Home and Well.
And the Other Dog? I ask.
He was well till he went Home, says the Owner.
Then what? I ask. Do not make me Lick your Face for an answer, I say.
Do not make Empty Threats, says the Owner, you are on the Far Side of the Room and have glued your Lips Together. You are about as Likely to Lick my Face now as you are to go to the Moon.
Slightly less Likely, i say, as if I got an offer to go to the Moon now I might take it, I say. What happened to the Other Dog? I ask.
It was a Very Old Dog, says the Owner. It tested weakly positive and it was well.
You are saying was and old too much, I say.
I know, says the Owner. Sadly, it was returned to its Owner, and then it died mysteriously. Its Owner declined to allow it to be examined to see why it died.
Oh good grief, I say.
Hergest, says the Owner, why are you trying to hide under the fridge?
No reason, I say.
Look, says the Owner, I am not about to murder the Moral Dog. The Dogs in Hong Kong were not ill. It seems likely the Virus passed to them from their Owners. This means we have to investigate whether it is the Same Virus. If Persons Can pass the Virus to their Moral Dogs then we have to determine whether Moral Dogs could pass the Virus to other Humans, in the Slobber. This is why, in Hong Kong, they have advised against the Mouth Licking.
No Moral Dog would lick the Mouth of a Stranger, I say, We have some standards, I say. We do not go Clubbing you know, I say.
I know, says the Owner. We have much to Learn. For now, we must all learn from this that Kissing our Dogs is not sensible, lest we give them our Virus. And for Moral Dogs, kissing Strangers is no less Inadvisable than it ever was. And perhaps if we ever get any working tests in this extraordinarily strangely-run Country we should be testing our Dogs. And our Cats.
And if they do what will happen to the Dogs? I ask. Will we be cast out as the Dogs in India have been, or meet Mysterious and Possibly Terrible Fates as in Hong Kong?
No, says the Owner, we must show Solidarity with our Dogs as we do with each Other. We would not abandon our Children if they had Covid.
Personally, I say, I would not abandon my Pangolin.
Exactly, says the Owner. We are in this Together. We must cease sharing Slobber, and we must find out the Truth. But we must not Abandon One Another when things are tough.
The Truth will set you free, I say.
Or possibly not, in this case, says the Owner
Indeed, says the Owner.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.