I am a Friendly Dog, I say.
There is a difference, says the Owner, between being a Friendly Dog and being Anybody’s for a Biscuit.
The Moral Dog is not Anybody’s for a Biscuit, I say. The Moral Dog is as Discerning as he is Moral, I say.
The Moral Dog attempted to Leave the Park with the Gentleman with the Bassett Hound, says the Owner. It appeared to be because he was Offered a Biscuit, says the Owner. Was it a Cheese Flavoured Biscuit? Asks the Owner.
You are Casting Aspersions on the Judgement of your Moral Dog, I say. It may have been Cheese Flavoured, I say. But I did not Offer to Accompany the Gentleman because of the Biscuit, I say. I merely Sought to enjoy Further Discourse with a Moral Being of considerable Moral Worth, I say. He Displayed Noble Qualities, I say. Kant would have Approved, I say. He was Nice, I say. I liked him, I say. Put that in your Pipe and Smoke It, I say.
What Noble Qualities? Asks the Owner.
Well, I say, there were Many, I say.
Apart from the Biscuit, says the Owner.
I cannot think of Any Others immediately, I say.
The Moral Dog is So Shallow, says the Owner. I suppose if we had a Burglar the Moral Dog would offer to Go with him Too, I say.
Not necessarily, I say.
You mean if he had a Biscuit, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog would take it into Consideration when making a Global Judgement regarding the Burglar, I say. A Moral Dog cannot Jump to Conclusions, I say. One has to Take Account of All Aspects, I say. Drawing on All Sources of Evidence, I say. His Motives and Intentions, I say. His Mode of Entry, I say. The Furtiveness of his Demeanour, I say. And the Flavour, I say. Of the Biscuit, I say.
Let us Try an Example, says the Owner. Imagine that the Burglar informed the Moral Dog that he had Come Intending to Burgle in the Traditional Fashion, says the Owner. Would the Moral Dog chew his Ankles in an Appropriately Savage Fashion? Asks the Owner.
The Moral Dog is Imagining Away, I say. But a Truly Moral Dog needs More Evidence before launching a Common Assault, I say.
I see, says the Owner. Imagine that the Burglar has Entered Via the Chimney Carrying a Bag marked Swag, says the Owner.
We Do Not have a Chimney, I say.
Imagine we do, says the Owner, and the Burglar attempts to Steal the Owner’s Most Precious Possession, says the Owner.
Surely he could not Steal the Moral Dog! I say.
I did not mean the Moral Dog, says the Owner. I meant the Second most Precious Possession, says the Owner.
I would like to see him get the Piano up the Chimney, I say.
We do not Have a Chimney, says the Owner.
Then he is Most Resourceful, I say. Albeit Reprehensible, I say. But you have not explained his Motive, I say. Does he have a Thin and Hungry Grandmother? I say. Or a Cruel Creditor? I say. Or a German Shorthaired Pointer with an Appetite for Particularly Expensive Cheese? I say. Or a Huge Hernia demanding a Rare and Expensive Solution? I say. This is what happens when you are forced to take Pianos up Chimneys, I say. The Poor Fellow, I say. Have you no Heart? I say. How will he Manage with a Limp? I say.
He has None of those Things, says the Owner. He is Motivated Entirely by Greed, says the Owner. His Coffers are Bulging, says the Owner. He does not Even Have a German Shorthaired Pointer, says the Owner. He has an Overindulged Cat, says the Owner. And a Huge Grandmother, says the Owner.
He is Starting to sound like a Bad Fellow, I say. The Moral Dog is Considering his Burglar Chewing Position, I say. I am Veering Towards his Ankles, I say. But I still require more Information, I say. Just a little, I say. Critical Stuff, I say.
Like What? Asks the Owner. He is On His Way Up the Chimney Carrying the Piano to his Cat, says the Owner. What more do you need? Asks the Owner.
You have Not Explained how the Burglar approaches the Moral Dog, I say.
The Owner acquires what the Moral Dog can only call her Leary Look. Imagine he has Biscuits, says the Owner, and there is a Pregnant Pause.
I am Trying, I say. But my Brain is Empty, I say. Give me Something to Work With, I say. This is not Method Acting, I say.
The Owner fixes the Moral Dog with an Unwavering Gimlet Gaze. Cheese Flavoured, she says.
The Moral Dog senses a Test. He thinks Carefully. He weighs up the possibilities. He considers all the Angles. And the Ankles. Of the Nice but Wealthy Burglar with the Cheese Flavoured Biscuits who is so Burdened by Tyrannical Cats and Greedy Grandmothers that he feels Obliged to Carry a Piano up a Chimney.
No Moral Dog can be Expected to chew a Nice Burglar, I say. You should be Ashamed of Yourself, I say. I don’t know why you did not Get a Chihuahua in the First Place, I say. It is Well Known that they Chew Anything, I say. Indiscriminately, I say. The Poor Man, I say. And you a Doctor, I say.
So you would Go with Him, says the Owner.
It seems the Least I can Do, I say. Given his Tragic Burdens, I say. I could perhaps Relieve him of the Biscuits, I say. That should make the Piano a little Easier to Shift, I say.
I do not know why I Bother, says the Owner.
There really is No Pleasing Her.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.