Another beautiful day in early May was coming to a close.
It was just the sort of evening when Ernie and Theo usually met to chat beneath their favourite lamp post.
But the Coronavirus had put a stop to this. Now, nobody sat beneath the lamp post. The roads were eerily quiet and people who were out moved briskly along and kept out of each other’s way.
Ernie and Theo hadn’t seen each other or been to a market for weeks. Ernie was missing his routine. He wondered when Theo and he would be back under the lamp post and things would get back to normal.
He constantly pestered his human about seeing his best friend. Even handfuls of treats didn’t shut him up about it…well, not for long anyway.
Then, everything changed. Ernie discovered FaceTime.
Well, that’s not strictly true. He’d often see his humans FaceTime each other. But he didn’t see the point of it. He soon lost interest in looking at his humans on a screen when he learnt they couldn’t give him any treats or other titbits.
Using a screen to talk to Theo, though…well that was different.
So, he asked his human to let him FaceTime Theo. She asked Theo’s human if Theo would like to do this. Although he was very busy, Theo was really keen to catch up with his little mate.
So, the following day, the boys were sat in front of their lap tops looking at each other as they’d never done before.
Ernie zooms in on Theo
Theo zooms in on Ernie
“Yeo Theo, how are you doing?” Ernie shouted to Theo.
“I am well Ernie,” Theo replied, “and there’s no need to shout. I can hear you perfectly well! How are you?”
“Sorry Theo. I thought I’d have to shout because you’re so far away!” Ernie replied, a little quieter. “Are you okay?”
“Well to be honest Ernie, I’ve never been busier,” Theo replied.
“But Theo, everything is shut and all our markets have been cancelled,” Ernie said, “so why are you so busy? What have you been doing?”
Theo frowned. Ernie’s questions had started already.
“Trying to make sure ‘Ernie and Theo’ gets through this crisis!” Theo replied.
“Is that why you had me modelling our new drying robe then?” Ernie asked.
“Well yes, that is part of our survival plan,” Theo said. “I thought getting the robe on our website would attract our customers’ attention,” he went on. “It seems to have worked. We’ve had a few orders for it already.”
“But I did all the modelling and the humans made the robes, so what have you been so busy with?” Ernie asked.
Theo looked at Ernie almost in disbelief.
“Where do I start!??” Theo exclaimed, “our very survival is at stake, Ernie!”
“Why, I thought we couldn’t get the virus?” Ernie said in a very worried voice.
“No, not you and me, we can’t get the virus,” Theo replied, “I mean the business’s survival.”
“Sorry Theo, I don’t realise it was that serious,” Ernie said quietly, “what have you had to do?”
“Well, the first thing was ensuring we’ve the money to get through the lock down,” Theo said. “I’ve stress-tested our business plan and had endless zoom meetings and video conferences with the bank to arrange a loan facility and keep our investors on board.”
Ernie was usually bored by Theo talking about finance because he didn’t understand a word of it. If they’d been under the lamp post he’d have started looking for sparrows and squirrels at this point.
But Theo had mentioned something Ernie knew all about.
“Oh, I’ve been doing lots of zooming too Theo,” he explained.
“Really Ernie,” Theo said trying not to sound surprised. “Who have you been zooming with and what about?”
“Well, mainly with my mates around and about the golf course where my humans and I go for our daily exercise,” Ernie explained.
Ernie in full zoomie mode
eo knew straight away what Ernie meant. He’d seen him giddily run round in circles dozens of times.
“That’s a ‘zoomie’ not a zoom meeting, you dafty!” Theo replied, laughing.
“What’s a zoom meeting?” Ernie asked.
“Well it’s like FaceTiming but for more people who are in different places,” Theo explained, “it’s been a big help to business in the lockdown.”
Ernie decided to change the subject and impress Theo into the bargain.
“Have you heard about the Government’s furlough scheme Theo?” he asked.
“Yes, I have,” Theo replied. “It’s pretty much essential, with so many businesses closed during the lockdown.”
“I know Theo,” Ernie said, “I’m going to use it to get my hair cut whilst my groomer is closed,” he added.
Theo looked puzzled until the proverbial penny dropped.
“Ernie, the furlough scheme’s not a dog grooming service,” he said exasperatedly, “it’s for paying people who can’t work during the lockdown.”
“Oh,” Ernie replied in a puzzled voice, “well how am I going to get my fur cut then, it’s getting very long?”
“Like the rest of us!” Theo replied. “Get your human to give you a trim!”
Curly Ernie needs of a groom
“Yes, that’s a good idea,” Ernie replied, “I don’t really like going to the groomers anyway – even though she gives me lots of treats!”
“Still, I’ve some good news amidst all the gloom,” Theo said. “A couple of pet shops have said they may want to sell our products when the lockdown ends.”
“Oh that’s good,” Ernie said, “If you like, I’ll deliver any order we get from them. I know how busy you are with your strategies and spreadsheets.”
“That’s kind of you Ernie,” Theo chuckled, “I am sure you’ll be duly rewarded.”
“Anything to help,” Ernie said.
Just as he finished, Ernie had something ringing at Theo’s end.
“I’m sorry Ernie, I am going to have to go,” Theo said, “I’ve got a call coming through from our insurance broker. I need to take it.”
“Yeo Theo,” Ernie replied, “it’s been good catching up! I hope we’ll be under the lamp post again before too long.
“Me too, Ernie”, Theo replied, “we’ll FaceTime again soon. Take care of your humans in the meantime!!”
“You too Theo,” Ernie shouted back just as Theo’s face disappeared from the screen.Ernie jumped off his chair and ran into the kitchen to find treats and a cuddle.