“ruff?” asked Rocky.
“Yes I am, Missy,” I said, “and I’m also very disappointed in you. You are four years old now, Missy. You should know better.”
“Rocky’s right, Missy. Sorry’s not good enough. Being retroactively sorry for your behavior isn’t an excuse to get me to vote for… err I mean… excuse your transgressions. There’s no excuse for what you did and did and did and continue to do.”
“Gosh, Marica. Don’t you think you’re being sort of hard on me?” Missy asked me.
“No. Missy, this blog is literally littered with tales of your inability to control your own behavior.”
“No, Rocky,” I said, “I know she is your mate and you’d like to take the blame but you are too short. No one believes you jumped up on the table and took those tortillas.”
“I did that. I admit it,” said Missy.
“We all know that, Missy. Even Mr. Big Food knows, tough he pretended not to.”
“What do you want me to say? I hate it when you’re mad at me, Marica. How can I make it up to you?”
“Missy. There’s no making it up to me. What’s done is done.”
“I say, Rocky! You might be on to something. Let’s give it a go!”
“RUFF!!” said Rocky.
“Missy! You remember Aristotle, don’t you?”
“sniff. sniff. oh of course. Aristotle. The Golden Mean. Of course I remember him, my dear dear Marica.”
“What did Aristotle teach us, Missy, about habits and behavior?” I asked Missy.
“Well… I think he taught us that it was okay to at first just learn and develop the good habits that were associated with the virtues. And by doing so, behaving virtuously would become habit, even if a person wasn’t, per se, virtuous.
“That’s my understanding, too, Missy! Don’t you see how that applies to you? You want to be virtuous, don’t you?”
“Oh! My Heavens I do indeed! I would like nothing more in life that your unconditional love, Marica– and that of Mr. Big Food of whom I am particularly fond, and Sister Daughter C and Miss M and that lovely young woman, Kat– and to be considered an Excellent Dog in an Aristotelean sort of Excellence way.”
“And so you can see that stealing food from the table is a vice, right?” I asked Missy.
“Oh,” said Missy.
“Stealing is a vice.”
“Okay. Okay. I get it. My goodness. I do not need to be hit over the head.”
“Well, apparently you do because we’ve been trying to tell you this for the past four years, Missy.”
“Ouch. I see your point.”
“You’re not going to let me get away with this anymore, are you?” Missy asked me.
“No, girl. We just can’t. We, too, want to be virtuous.”