The Owner and I head into the Park. The Sun is Shining and there are Moral Dogs everywhere. Balls are being Thrown and Chased, Squirrels are Hanging around the bottom of Trees Seductively, Ducks are Chorussing Smug Insults as if they think a Moral Dog cannot Swim, Small Humans are holding Delicious Lollies in an inviting manner and being Rather Slow to Consume them, Ladies in Pink Trousers are engaged in a Group Therapy that involves Standing on their Heads beside the Pond, just ahead stands a Friendly Looking Man reading his Phone, oddly Bereft of Attention from Other Moral Dogs, Jeremy the Beagle is lecturing a group of young Spaniels about the Benefits of Common Pond Ownership and in the distance I can see Mogg wearing his best Summer Barbour being pursued by a Chihuahua who is shouting eres tan feo que haces llorar a las cebollas and other equally unpleasant onion-related insults.
This is The Day, says the Owner.
It is a Wonderful Day, I say. Let us run through the grass, let us celebrate the Joys of Freedom, the Wind in our Hair, the Ball in the Air, let us Explore the Multitude of Welcoming Possibilities and Persons which Await us in so Many Shades of Pink.
I am Busy, says the Owner, I have to do my Plank.
That will not take long, I say, and then we can celebrate the Joys of Freedom, the Wind in our Hair, the Ball in the Air, let us Explore the Multitude of Welcoming Possibilities and Persons which Await us in so Many Shades of Pink.
That’s What You Think, says the Owner, and heaves herself onto her Elbows, looking for all the world like a Whale that is trying to see over the top of another Whale.
May I assist…? I begin.
Do Not Even Think About It, says the Owner.
But you may need the Moral Dog’s support, I say.
Go and Play Quietly in a Moral Fashion, says the Owner, concentrating determinedly on her Elbows and her Stopwatch, and Do Not Disturb my Muscle Tone if you entertain Any Dreams of Future Cheese Whatsoever. Give me Six Minutes. A Moral Dog cannot cause Any Trouble in Six Minutes.
The Moral Dog is Nothing if not Obedient. I give the Owner the Space she desires, and I head into the Park in order to entertain myself in a Moral-Dog-Appropriate Fashion, and to Explore the Many Possibilities that the Park offers, this morning, to a Moral Dog in his Prime.
After Six Minutes I return to the Owner. ’10, 9…8, 7, 6….5…4321!’ says the Owner, collapsing face-down on the Floor. Wow, she says.
Can we go now? I say.
Wait, says the Owner, gasping for breath, I wish to Enjoy my Triumph. This is a Huge Achievement. I hope the Moral Dog has been Good.
Indeed I have, I say.
Then that is also a Huge Achievement, says the Owner holding her Stomach and Patting me, although it is Clear that she does not think that the Moral Dog’s Achievements in the Park can possibly Compare to her own Achievement of Lying on her Elbows Doing Nothing for Six Minutes.
Thankyou, I say graciously, thinking of all the Delightful Balls that I rescued from Other Dogs who failed to Pick them Up Fast Enough, of All the Squirrels now at the Top of the Trees, with All the Ducks, of the many Small Humans I assisted with their Inconvenient Lollies, of the Ladies in Pink Trousers now lying in a Life-Affirming Group Heap beside the Pond, of the Friendly Looking Man now Doubled Up in Delight at the Warm Leaping Greeting he has Received to his Solar Plexus, of the Admiration of Jeremy the Beagle and the young Spaniels when I led them into the Pond, of the Gratitude of Mogg for my Targeted Weeing on the Chihuahua and, overall, of the Huge Amount of Moral Dog Achievement I have managed to Accomplish in Six Minutes. I have managed to Accomplish a Huge Amount of Moral Dog Achievement in Six Minutes, I tell the Owner.
Six Minutes and Ten Seconds, says the Owner, standing up. The Park does seem unusually Noisy this Morning, she says. There is an awful lot of Quacking and Squirrel Noise.
It is quite Noisy, I say, somewhat Proudly.
Perhaps it is because Lockdown is Lifting, says the Owner.
That could explain part of it, I say.
There seem to be a lot of people in the Bushes, says the Owner.
I think they are hunting for Balls, I say.
Have you seen their Balls? Asks the Owner.
Not recently, I say. They are probably in the Pond, I say. There are a lot of balls in the Pond, I say.
The Small Humans seem to be leaving the Park, says the Owner.
I believe they may be seeking to purchase Extra Lollies from the Man by the Gate, I say. It is good to Support Local Traders, I say.
That is Very Moral of them, says the Owner. Why do you suppose all those Ladies over there are Shouting? Asks the Owner. And what is wrong with the Friendly Man? He seems to be bent over.
I think the Ladies are Releasing their Pent-Up Energy whilst Recovering from Group Therapy, I say, and the Friendly Man is almost certainly Stretching and Taking in the Morning Air as a part of his Yoga.
It is good to see People Exercising so Vigorously, says the Owner, even in Trousers of a Somewhat Ill-Chosen Hue. Is there some kind of Rescue going on down by the Pond? It seems to be Full of Spaniels.
Spaniels are known to Like Ponds, I say, I expect they were pursuing the Balls.
The Owner Squints into the Distance. That Lady appears to be holding her Chihuahua under the Sprinkler, she says. And is that Mogg I can see lying on his Back? Is he all right?
She might be, I say, I think some people Do That to wash their Chihuahuas. They tend to Attract the Dirt. And Mogg is Well Known for Lying Down down a lot. I think he is just Laughing.
I hope he will not spoil his Barbour, says the Owner. I am glad that the Park appears such a Happy Place Today, but having Achieved So Much with my Plank I do not think I will go down there to Join In. I am exhausted my Effort.
That is a Very Good Idea, I say. So am I, I say.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.