We are walking along in our usual fashion, mine one of Bounding Enthusiasm, the Owner’s one of Landminish Avoidance of Others when we encounter Another Dog with His Human Person.
We exchange signals – the type of Signals Moral Dogs have used since Time Immemorial. A wagging tail. A wuff of the right Pitch and Timbre. We Sniff the Air. Then we leap towards each other with the Unfettered Joy of which Moral Dogs not required to Socially Isolate are so Admirably Capable.
I Stub my toe on the Other Dog, which Squeals and Yelps.
Hergest, says the Owner, do not Bully that Tiny Dog.
I was not Bullying, I say, I was saying Hello. It is what Moral Dogs do. It is an Act of Solidarity.
When you Leapt towards him, says the Owner, you put him in Imminent Danger of being Crushed . You did not even Know Him.
I did not realise he was Extremely Small, I say.
He was right in front of you, says the Owner. Although I am surprised you could actually see him at all without Binoculars.
You are being Sizist, I say.
I am being Descriptive, says the Owner. He was a Dog so Small that he would have trouble playing scrum half against Squirrels.
So would anyone, I say, it is well known that Squirrels always Misbehave in a Scrum. But although he was right in front of me, his Scent was much bigger than he was.
Look, says the Owner. It must have been Obvious that he was about a Tenth of your Size.
He might have been a Tenth of my size on the Outside, I say, but Moral Dogs recognise one another by what is on the Inside. One can be a Squirrel on the Outside and a Rottweiler on the Inside. But sometimes it is the Other Way Round. Lucifer with the Nose Cage, for example, conceals beneath his rather fetching Snarl a Small Lost Dog who needs Constant Affection. One does not need to be Acquainted with Him to see this if one is a Dog. One then shows Solidarity with the Dog on the Inside in order to show Solidarity with the Dog on the Outside.
Gosh, says the Owner, I understand. Rather like the Dog whose Bark was worse than his Bite.
We Dogs do not use that Outdated and Doggist Expression, I say with Hurt Dignity. We Recognise that a Small Dog has every right to Self-Identify as Large. Surely it is the same for people?
It Actually Is, says the Owner, although we do not do it through Sniffing and Leaping, at least not usually, we do it by Exchanges of Conversation.
I actually noticed that, I say Profoundly, that whilst I was greeting the Externally Small but Internally Large Dog…
Like a Tardis, says the Owner.
Do not be Facetious on matters of Dog Identity, I say, I am being Profound.
David Tennant was my Favourite Dr Who, says the Owner.
Whilst I was greeting the Externally Small but Internally Large Dog, I say, disregarding the Owner’s David Tennant-orientated Ramblings since I have been Subject to them ever since we watched the re-run of the Episode when the Doctor lost Rose and the Owner cried so much that her Nose turned into a Tomato, I noticed you exchanging many Pleasantries with its Owner, even though you did not Know Her any more than I knew him.
I did, says the Owner, to do so offers Some Comfort in these Times.
Why would you need Comfort? I ask. You have the Man and the Moral Dog.
Indeed, says the Owner, but for Humans to Exchange Pleasantries is also to Express Solidarity, to share our Common Experience, and to Support One Another. During these strange times it is Particularly Important since most of us that appear Strong on the Outside are also Soft in the Middle.
We are all like stones in an arch, I say, and all must stand fast and hold together or the Arch falls.
That is very Profound, says Owner, you are Right, we must all Show Solidarity, Moral Persons and Moral Dogs.
It is Simone de Beauvoir, I say.
That is very Impressive, says the Owner.
Even a Moral Dog can Embrace Feminist Thinking, I say.
I suppose it possible to be a Feminist on the inside and a Moral Dog on the Outside, says the Owner.
Simone was writing about the Shared Ambiguity of Being Human, I say, but she would have been thrilled to know that her Words applied so equally to Moral Dogs, I say.
It is also Possible to be Too Good to be True both on the Inside and the Outside, says the Owner. Did you eat another Chapter of my Bertrand Russell book?
I might have done, I say. Thankyou, I say.
Don’t mention it, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog. Too Good to be True both on the Inside and the Outside.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.