Sir Reginald Moonface was a pretty labrador. He had bright eyes, a wet nose and an inoperable tumour. The tumour billowed impressively from underneath his jawline, not dissimiliar from the distended bulge of a croaking frog. Reginald lived in a kennel fashioned from toothpicks, mud and an assortment of dry leaves. He had a red collar and a pleasingly shiny nametag. The nametag read: Sir Reginald. His owner had neither the time nor inclination to add 'Moonface'.
He was, by any standards, a forward thinking labrador. Reluctant to urinate in public, unimpressed by frisbees and cautious around water, his owner thought him a curious specimen - bordering on dull. Perhaps one of Reginald's most notably progressive and distinguishing traits was his tolerance of cats. Tired and frankly insulted by the expectation that a dog should chase a cat, that canine should be matched against feline, that pooch should be enraged by a fluffy tailed whiskered nemisis, and the entailing charade of cartoon connotations of an ultimately humiliated, salivating and panting dog - Reginald instead strived to pioneer a more sophisticated perspective. On seeing a cat (nextdoor there was a paticularly smug and eccentric siamese, named Isobella), he would craft a profound look that, neither confrontational nor hospitable, suggested 'you do your thing...I'll do mine'
Reginald was an indulgently ecclectic soul. His palate was paticularly obscure, favouring as he did, the taste of anchovies on toast, pienapple yoghurt (increasingly hard to find - to Reginald's dismay) and of course an array of varied faecal dishes. He had, from an early age, been an avid collector. In his delightful cabinet of curiosities, Reginald had proudly amassed a small gallery of oddities. He had gathered acorns, a blue polythene bag, two Tanzinian postage stamps dated from '98, one prophylactic sheath (ribbed), a pair of half moon spectacles, a photo frame - without a photo, a long dead juvenile crow, a fraying length of rope, three average sized marbles, a stuffed trout, anonymous love letters found in a small casket by the river, one train ticket to Bognor Regis, a partially chewed scarf, and...a much coveted collection of Portugese military memorobilia. Each night, before turning in two anti-clockwise circles and collapsing to sleep with a sigh, Reginald would behold his treasures with near paternal pride. In a nightly perusal of his gathered trinkets, he would pay closest attention to the military memorobilia; nudging each medal, badge or propaganda based pamphlet into prime position with the delicate inching of his wet nose.
Reginald lived in the small town of Snodland, situated on the A228 in the reasonable county of Kent.Snodland was formerly home to Thomas Fletcher Waghorn (1800-50) a postal pioneer who courageously shortened the overland route between England and India to a, back then astonishing, brevity of 45 days. More recently it has been the cherished hometown of white reggae singer Judge Dread (real name Alex Hughes 1945-98). Reginald never cared for the Dread's music, but was humbled by the monumental success of Waghorn, in the parameters of his postal service. Sir Reginald Moonface would often, with the aid of port and good company, wax lyrical regarding the overlooked merits of Chopin's chamber pieces. However come midnight he could be found rolling in a puddle of his own making, slurring the words to 'Mr Brightside' and other such overplayed wonders.
Without warning Reginald would often disappear, disturbingly this could render whole weeks un accountable for. At least once a month Reginald would find himself face down in a foreign hedgerow with no recollection of where, why or how. On returning home he would take heightened comfort in his toothpick kennel, hoard of acorns, marbles, long dead crow and military memorobilia. It was in those moments, with great and undiluted affirmation Sir Reginald Moonface took great pleasure in reacquainting himself with himself.
Sir Reginald Moonface - he let the phonetic opulence of his title languish on his pink ham tongue. Sir Reginald Moonface was an undeniably singular labrador. Sir Reginald Moonface. An accomplished dog. Reginald. Lathered in the echoes of aristocracy. Sir Reginald. Perfumed in the nuanced aromas of smeared scents. Moonface. A deity unto himself. A labrador. Sir Reginald. Content and established. Himself, no other. Sir Reginald Moonface. A rare example of an animal at ease with its own transgressive being, far exceeding the conventional labrador template...and with such pride, such dignity, such assured aplomb! Sir Reginald Moonface - how you impress. With a satisfied grunt Sir Reginald Moonface settled into the pillow of his ungainly tumour. Both silken eyelids drooped, and before long he was twitching in that way only dogs can; the somnambulant jerk of the dog dream. Not even Reginald was beyond that. In dream, he liked to speculate, we are all equal and rightly revert ,with hedonistic abandon, to our instincts...and so, with a sizeable globule of saliva dangling from his awkwardly placed head, front paws scrabbling at the air, he whimpered into the night: a dog like any other.