That was not a Walk, I say.
It met every definition of a Walk of which I am aware, says the Owner.
It was not as long as our Usual Walk, I say.
So then it was a Shorter Walk, says the Owner. You will note, she adds, my descriptive use of the word Walk.
We have an agreement, I say. Walks should be satisfactory in Content and Length.
You made that up, says the Owner, there is No Such Agreement.
It is Implicit, I say. Some contracts are entered into Implicitly. An understanding between parties on acceptable forms of behaviour that is not part of any formal agreement would be such a contract. Implicit contracts represent trust between parties.
You made that up too, says the Owner.
I did not, I say, I got it off the internet, I say.
Have you been signing in with my University ID again? Asks the Owner.
I might have been, I say, on the Internet Nobody Knows you are a Dog, I say.
You have Obtained Information Deviously, says the Owner.
That does not make it Wrong, I say. Implicit contracts are Morally and Legally Binding. I did make that bit up but I do not tell the Owner this. I am not the Moral Dog of a Person doing a Law PhD for Nothing.
The Owner, however, is not doing a Law PhD for nothing. I am not doing a Law PhD for nothing, she says, taking out a Pen.
What are you doing? I ask.
I am writing down the terms of our Implicit Contract, says the Owner. There is rather more to it than the Moral Dog has realised.
Like what? I ask.
Well, says the Owner, the Walk shall be to such a Place or Places as the Moral Dog and the Owner find Mutually Acceptable for the Well-Being of the Moral Dog.
That sounds fine, I say, as long as you are not going to be Tricky about trips to the Vet and the meaning of the term Well-Being. Just because I like being Tickled by the Nurse does not turn such a Hazard-ridden expedition into a Walk. Particularly not when I am Tricked into an Injection, of suffer the Moral Outrage of Discussions of my Personal Parts of the type that Dogline tell me are Personal to the Moral Dog and not even slightly Detachable.
I would not dream of being so Tricky, says the Owner. Next, the Ball may or may not be thrown at the Discretion of the Owner but, should it be Thrown, the Moral Dog will endeavour both to Fetch and to Return without Moaning about the Bushes.
Sounds fair, I say, because I have learned that if I stay back and whimper slightly the Owner will retrieve the Ball from the Spiky places. Can we not have a Clause regarding Minimum Ball Throws? I ask.
No, says the Owner, this is a retrospective Contract to Codify what is already Implicit, and you have already Accepted some walks without Balls and therefore Implicitly agreed that such walks are within our Contract.
Only under Duress, I say.
A Contract is a Contract, says the Owner. Now, the Length of the Walk shall not be Fixed, says the Owner, but shall be Amended and/or Modified according to the Needs and Requirements of the Owner and the Moral Dog, taking into account Factors beyond their Control such as Covid, Exhaustion, Cold Weather, Excessive Rain and Obsessive Demands for Ball Throwing.
This sounds both Slippery and Eely to me, I say. It allows you to Shorten the Walk to Suit Yourself.
On the Contrary, says the Owner, it is in the Best Interests of the Moral Dog. If, for example, I get too wet and cold I may cough, and if I cough we will be Confined to Quarters for a Fortnight.
I suppose I will allow you that, I say. Are you done now? Can we finish the Walk? Because it is neither Cold nor Wet, my Ball-Throwing Demands are entirely Normal for my Age and Breed, features for which I was Specifically Selected, and you cannot possibly be Exhausted or Hungry since you are not Panting and you have just finished the Chocolate Rabbit.
Not so fast Tonto, says the Owner. You have not heard Clause Four.
What is Clause Four? I ask. I get a sense that the Moral Dog is not going to like this, I say
If the Moral Dog should Leap up at Other Humans and thus oblige them to encounter Muddy Feet, Slobber, demands for affection or any kind of Bounce then Said Walk shall be immediately Curtailed without Further Discussion, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog. Admitting Defeat.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.