Theo was met by a very strange sight when he arrived at his and Ernie’s favourite lamp post early on Wednesday evening. Unusually, Ernie had arrived before him. He was running around the lamp post with a long piece of bright red ribbon between his teeth.
He had obviously been doing this for some time because much of the ribbon was tightly wrapped round the lamp post. Theo asked Ernie where he’d got the ribbon from and what he was doing with it:
“Well, my human has got a lot of ribbon,” Ernie explained. “She uses it in making the treat jars and lots of he other pet accessories on our website. Anyway, I sneaked some out of the house when she wasn’t looking.
You see, Theo I saw on the telly that it’s May Day soon. The man on the telly said some people celebrate May Day by dancing around the Maypole with long bits of ribbon. Do you want a go?”
Theo’s eyes looked slowly up to the sky, “No, it’s fine thanks Ernie. Anyway, you are running out of ribbon. You’re going to have to run the other way soon or you’ll bump your nose on the lamp post.”
Ernie had already stopped his May Dance. He’d remembered how chewable ribbon was. He hadn’t yet had his tea. The ribbon made a tasty starter. Between chews, Ernie reminded Theo he was going to tell him all about the Huntley Country Fair and Dog Show which they were going to on 7th May.
“Oh yes, I remember now,” said Theo. “Well, I think we are going to have a great time. There is so much going on. There are dog shows, dog obedience demonstrations, falconry displays, sheep dog demonstrations, and lots more.”
Ernie had been listening carefully. “So, lots of our mates will be there. I bet Ernie and Theo’s will be busy displaying their dogs’ bottoms plaques, bandanas, bow ties and treat jars.”
“Yes,” said Theo “our humans will be very busy – especially if the sun shines.”
“What are we going to do Theo? Are we going to take our blankets and have a picnic” Ernie asked - food was never far from his mind.
“Yes, we can,” Theo replied “but we should look at all the shows and demonstrations that are going on too”.
Ernie thought about this. He’d been to dog obedience classes before. He liked playing with his mates but he wasn’t keen on the obedience bit. He certainly wasn’t going all that way to be told what to do – especially by a bossy stranger,
He’d been in dog shows on his holidays last year and won a couple of rosettes for walking around in circles when he prefers running in them.
He’d also seen sheep dog demonstrations. He had been very impressed but a little bit puzzled by them too. How those dogs could not just play chase me with the sheep was beyond him. That left just one thing.
“Theo, what is a falconry display?” asked Ernie.
“Well, falcons are birds. In a display, they might fly from their owners into a tree and back and they get treats for doing it,” Theo explained.
By now, Ernie’s tail was wagging that much it was almost a blur. “Oh, that will be great fun. You know how much I love chasing birds Theo. We could join in. We might even get treats ourselves if we catch the falcons” Ernie said excitedly.
“Have you ever seen a falcon Ernie?” Theo asked.
“I haven’t Theo. Are they like pigeons and sparrows? I’ve had lots of practice chasing them – although I haven’t caught one yet” replied Ernie.
“Well, not really Ernie,” Theo explained. “They are bigger and they are all much faster and more agile than pigeons. They are known as birds of prey because they often kill and carry away small animals for food.”
A worried look suddenly appeared on Ernie’s face. “I am a small animal Theo, I don’t want a big bird carrying me away. I don’t think I want to go to this fair anymore,” he said.
“Ernie, they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. We just have to sit quietly and watch them,” Theo said, trying to reassure his little friend.
“Does that mean I’ll have to be quite good then?” Ernie asked.
“For some of the time yes,” Theo replied “but you know what happens when you are well behaved don’t you?”
Ernie saw lots and lots of treats coming his way, perhaps even a whole jar of them.
“I am really looking forward to this fair now,” Ernie said excitedly. By this time, he was getting very hungry indeed; ribbon was not a proper meal for a busy dog. “I am off for my tea now Theo – see you at the Huntley fair!!”
Ernie ran off homewards, Theo turned to go too. As he was leaving, he saw that Ernie had left the ribbon round the lamp post. He went to call to Ernie but he was long gone. The ribbon could wait for another day.