I am baffled and concerned but I better start by introducing myself. I am in my fifth summer; a large blonde dog and my two-legged ‘owners’ call me Boris. I know not why but whenever they tell other two-leggers my name, the newcomers burst out laughing, which I think is rude.

Anyhow I am setting down my worries because I am puzzled and alarmed by the very strange behaviour change of my two-leggers who look after me and my little friend Donald. He is a tiny, hairy dog with a ridiculously long back and very short legs. We are mates and he uses me for sleeping and sitting on.

I digress. Back to my worries. It all started in the Spring when my two-leggers Martin and Darling, who is sometimes called Andrea, began behaving strangely. Until they started going off the rails they were for ever rushing about, hitting big balls with racquets, little balls with long clubs, having lots of other two-leggers coming to see us all to enjoy delicious smelling meals (if only we had them too) and for ever abandoning us in the evening and driving off to I know not where.

Us dogs like consistent behaviour by two-leggers even if much of it doesn’t make any sense. However, suddenly life changed dramatically. Nobody visited any more apart from delivery vans. They both stopped driving. Darling started coming on Martin and our walks – which also got longer.

Of more concern, and annoyingly, we weren’t allowed to approach other walkers for some attention. And this is really odd. Martin and Darling started moving away from other two-leggers coming towards them. They no longer appeared to like other two-leggers.

I was really fearful. Would they stop liking us too, avoid us and even stop feeding us? A world of no strokes and hugs would be death by a thousand cuts.

Then I realised they were spending more and more time talking to their favourite toys that talk back to them. I have never understood why these toys are so important to them and why panic arises whenever one is temporarily mislaid. They also kept shouting “zoom” and disappearing into a darkened room for ages. In the old days zooming meant they must rush as they were late going to something. What would happen if one day they never came out of the darkened room?

I was starting to conclude that this must be what happens when two-leggers reach a certain age – but what is the prognosis? Should we run away or just hope and pray normality returns? But then my fears got a whole lot worse when last week they appeared wearing masks, put us in the car and disappeared into the local farm shop still wearing them. How embarrassing!

I have no idea how this will end up. My nightmare scenario is that whatever illness they are suffering from turns out to be infectious for us dogs and we become mad, or as their condition worsens and we run away we find all the other two-leggers have succumbed too. We are praying to our God of healing, Damu.

Boris Beaumont, July 2020

Martin Beaumont (Temple 67)