The Owner and the Moral Dog meet the Lady with the Chihuahua in the Park.
Hello, says the Lady.
Hello, says the Owner.
Ese hijo de hámster me orinó, says the Chihuahua.
What if I did? I say. Those that Live by the Sword, die by the Sword, I say.
How lovely, says the Lady with the Chihuahua, our Dogs want to Socialise.
Indeed, says the Owner.
I only Socialise with Proper Dogs I say.
Preferiría sacarme los ojos con una lanza de espárragos, says the Chihuahua.
You Cannot Do That with Asparagus, I say.
Would Your Dog like to Play? Asks the Lady.
I am Sure he Would, says the Owner.
Vengo por tus extremidades, says the Chihuahua.
I am sure I would Not, I say, although only Once standing behind the Owner and checking that none of my extremidades are Accessible. You could not even Reach Them, I say. And with Extremities like Mine you Could Not Even make a Proper Stab at it, I say. Ha, I say.
Ha, says the Chihuahua.
Look, says the Lady, Chiquitita and Your Dog are Saying Hello. Isn’t it Wonderful that our Dogs make Friends? Say hello, Chiquitita.
It is, says the Owner, say hello, Hergest.
Ye y hierve tu propia cabeza, says the Chihuahua.
That was Not Hello in Dog, I say, and it is not even Physically Possible to Boil your Own Head.
He does not Look Very Friendly, says the Lady.
We have discussed the need to Reach Out the Paw of Friendship to Other Moral Persons, says the Owner. Man Up, says the Owner. Sort it Out, says the Owner.
I suppose we could Call a Truce, I say to the Chihuahua, although I say it Very Quietly in case Mogg is anywhere nearby. Mogg has been Arguing that Chihuahuas take Extraordinary Liberties with Dogness and that it is time we Proper Dogs ceded from the Generalist Dog Federation and Took Charge of our Own Dogness. Several of the Other Dogs agree and say we will Prosper Mightily without the Other Breeds. As Superdog I have a Duty to Support Them.
Con la condición de que me des tu bola amarilla, says the Chihuahua.
You must be Joking, I say, You are not having my Yellow Ball, I say. You do not get to set Conditions, I say. This is not Brexit, I say. And you are not having my Stick Either, I say.
He seems Rather Possessive of his Ball, says the Lady.
Hergest, says the Owner, you must Learn to Share, says the Owner. This Dog is Trying to be Friendly, says the Owner. Look, says the Owner. She is Saying Hello to Me, says the Owner.
Ella es más feo que el culo de un mono, says the Chihuahua.
She is not saying Hello to you, I say. She is saying you are Uglier than a Monkey’s Bottom, I say.
Oh, says the Owner.
El culo de un mono muy feo, says the Chihuahua.
Now what is she saying? Asks the Owner.
She is Clarifying that she means the Bottom of a Particularly Ugly Monkey, I tell the Owner.
I see, says the Owner, why the Moral Dog might not want to Play, says the Owner.
That’s Right, says the Lady. You tell Him, says the Lady. He is Your Dog, says the Lady. Chiquitita and I will await the Playing, says the Lady. I am Glad we have established that, says the Lady.
Alas, he is his Own Dog, says the Owner, I cannot Make him Do Anything, says the Owner. It is Well Established in Philosophy and Law that Moral Persons Cannot be Property, says the Owner. Even Lord Justice Mansfield, who attempted to Dodge the Question in the famous case of Somerset v Stewart which, in 1772, was widely understood to Signal the Death Knell for Slavery, did not think Persons should be Property, says the Owner. The whole Philosophy of Slavery was Predicated on the Assumption that Human Beings of Colour could be Property because they were not Persons, says the Owner. We have Moved On, says the Owner. To a Relationship of Equals, says the Owner. In which decisions are taken by Negotiation, says the Owner.
It does not sound Very Equal to me, it sounds to me as though your Dog has you Under his Thumb, says the Lady, Flouncing Away.
He certainly does not, says the Owner, Flouncing in the Other Direction.
Hasta La Vista, turd de camello, says the Chihuahua, Flouncing after the Lady.
Eat my Dust, I say, following the Owner. I do not Flounce, because I am a Moral Dog.
We head through the Park in Dignified but Companionable Silence.
I am Glad we have Moved On from the days when Moral Persons could be Property to a Relationship of Equals, I say.
Good, says the Owner.
There is a Little More Silence.
I am Glad that Decisions are taken by Negotiation, I say.
Good, says the Owner.
Lord Justice Mansfield was clearly an Excellent Fellow, I say. I expect he had a Dog, I say. I expect he Shared his Cheese with it on a Fifty Fifty Basis, I say. Or Something Close to It, I say.
It is time to home, says the Owner.
I do not Think So, I say. Given that we have a Relationship of Equals, I say, this is a Negotiation, I say. There is a Particularly Interesting Patch of Fox Poo over there, I say. Foregoing such a treat is worthy of a Substantial Sliver of Isle of Mull Cheddar, I say. Negotiate Away, I say. Fifty fifty, I say.
In your Dreams, Gringo, says the Owner.
And the lead is on, Lord Justice Mansfield Notwithstanding.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.