Why are we not going for our Walk? I ask.
Because I wish to finish Reading my book of Dog Psychology, says the Owner. I am learning about the Five Stages of Grief, says the Owner.
What are the Five Stages of Grief? I ask.
They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance, says the Owner, although I suspect they do not Occur in a Neat and Mutually Exclusive Order.
I cannot believe I am hearing this, I say. I cannot believe you would sit and Read some Abstract Psychological Theory when we are meant to be going for a Walk, I say. This is unbelievable, I say. Surely the Moral Dog is more important than this? I say. No Decent Owner could Possible Behave in Such a Manner, I say. The Moral Dog thought you were a Decent Owner, I say. Was I wrong? I say. Was I? I say. It cannot be True, I say. I Refuse to Believe it, I say.
It helps me Better understand the Moral Dog, says the Owner.
Seriously? I say. This is an Outrage, I say. You would refuse your Moral Dog his walk on some Fabricated Claims about Dog Psychology? I say. You clearly do not know the First thing about Moral Dogs, I say. What sort of Owner Are You? I say. Dogline would have a Thing or To to say about this, I say.
Do not be so Grumpy, says the Owner, you will not get your Own Way by Being Grumpy. It is Raining, so there is Reason to Delay.
Look, I say, can you not see that you are being Unreasonable? I say. I will tell you what, I say. I will leave Dogline out of it if you simply put on a Hat, I say. That floppy one you seem to favour has the Added Advantage of Disguising your Wrinkles, I say. Particularly when we are in the Shade, I say. And once we Reach the Pond you will be Wet Anyway, I say. And Slimy, I say. Is that not a Reasonable Offer? I say. It is a Positive Bargain, I say.
It is not a Bargain at all, says the Owner, it is an Eely Wheedle, that’s what it is. It will stop Raining Soon, says the Owner. Meanwhile I am Learning a Lot about the Five Stages, says the Owner.
Very well, I say, retreating to my Bed. Read away, I say. The Moral Dog will Fade into Natural Decline, I say. Do not worry about me, I say. I am just an Eely Wheedler, I say. Such is the Lot of a Moral Dog, I say. Muscle wasting is perfectly natural as one fades, I say. The fact that I am not eating is just a consequence of the Decline in my Physical Function, I say. All Dogs must eventually Fade, I say. Life’s but a Walking Shadow, I say, a Poor Player that Struts and Frets his Hour upon the Stage and then is Heard no More, I say. It is a Tale told by an Idiot, I say, Full of Sound and Fury, I say, Signifying Nothing, I say. I pause. Nothing, I say again, on a Slight Sob.
I thought it would perhaps help the Moral Dog’s Fading to have Cheese, says the Owner, closing her book, since the Rain is not due to clear for Twenty Minutes.
Cheese would solve the Fading Admirably, I say. I think the Moral Dog can accept that, I say. Twenty Minutes is not so bad in the Face of Cheese, I say. Even Macbeth accepted his fate once Great Birnam Forest had marched to Dunsinane, I say. But are you not still Reading your Book about the Stages of Grieving? I ask. Surely you have to Complete your Learning whilst I Complete the Cheese, I say.
I am All Done, says the Owner. The Moral Dog is a Book in himself.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.