Hergest, look who is here! Says the Owner in the kind of excited tone that the Moral Dog might expect if Caspar, Houdini and Lucifer had all come to the front door at the same time carrying a large piece of Cheese, wishing to inform me that Mogg was stuck in a rabbit hole and needed to be rescued.
I rush to the door. Where are Caspar, Houdini and Lucifer? Where is the Cheese? What is to be done about Mogg?
It is the Dog Day Care Van.
I gaze at the Owner in Astonishment. Is the Moral Dog and his companionship to be cast aside as if of no Consequence? I ask. Is the Moral Dog to be flung like so much jetsam onto the stormy seas of life, his daily companionship and adoration rejected in favour of some kind of Dog-free day whose nature he can only guess at? I ask. Are the Owner and the Man are planning some sort of Cheese Fest to which Other Dogs are invited, before embarking on a whole series of tasks which rightfully belong to the Moral Dog? I demand. What betrayal is this? I say.
It is not a Betrayal, says the Owner, but a Matter of Great Personal Sacrifice on my part. The Lovely People from Daycare have come to take you to Play with your Friends.
I cannot believe you are serious, I say. We are in the midst of a Covid Pandemic and you are spending your days on the Telephone talking Doctorishly to Poorly Persons. How will you manage without the Moral Dog?
I am not sure, says the Owner, but I will Bear it Nobly.
But who will bring you a Ball when you least expect it? I ask.
I suppose, says the Owner, with the expression of one bearing it Nobly, that I could fetch the Ball myself when I am between patients.
But it will lack the Slobber of Authenticity, I say.
We all have our Crosses to Bear, says the Owner.
Who will share your Cheese when you pause for Sustenance? I ask.
Cheese holds no interest for me without the Moral Dog, says the Owner.
Who will jump on the picnicking people in the park, stealing their Balls and Pursuing their Small Humans into Bushes? I ask.
I fear Anarchy will rule in the Park, says the Owner, but the Occupants of the Park must not rely entirely on the Moral Dog. Indeed if their Children do not have the Moral Dog to shriek at they may become Eerily Quiet and Content.
Who will rescue Mogg from a rabbit hole, should he be accidentally pushed into one by Bercow and Jeremy the Beagle? I ask.
Alas, says the Owner, Mogg may have to ask Lucifer for assistance.
And what about the Lollies? I ask. Who will protect them from accidental consumption in my Absence?
I will personally take responsibility for all seventeen lollies, says the Owner, and ensure that they are still here when the Moral Dog returns.
Nineteen actually, I say. And a half, I say.
Silly me, says the Owner.
It sounds as though nobody can fill the shoes of the Moral Dog in his absence, I say.
Indeed, says the Owner, nobody at all. I will try to survive the Pining, although it will be difficult.
The Owner has given All the Right Answers. I am prepared to go to Day care now.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.