Ernie and Theo "Go Walkies" for Manchester Dogs' Home

Summer had started early. There’d be no rain and lots of sunshine all week. Great weather for a Royal Wedding! Ernie slowly trotted around the corner to meet Theo at their favourite lamp post. Theo was waiting for him, lying in what shade he could find.

“Yeo Theo,” Ernie called “I am so looking forward to going to the Royal Wedding aren’t you Theo?”

 Theo had been wondering why Ernie had his union jack bandana on. “Ernie, I told you last week, we can’t go to the Royal Wedding,” Theo explained “we haven’t been invited!”

Ernie looked crestfallen. He’d started packing his bag. He was so excited; he’d even saved some of the treats he’d got that week to take with him. That took some doing.

“Well, what are we going to do Theo?” Ernie asked, “I was so looking forward to a big day out!”

“Well Ernie, if you’d just look at our website once in a while you’d know we’ve got a great day out coming up this Sunday,” Theo said with a long sigh.

Ernie looked very sheepish (for a dog). He was always forgetting the website. He was just so busy (when he wasn’t sleeping). Time flies when you are chasing sticks and sparrows, eating treats, chewing your blanket and helping to fill the dishwasher. No wonder he forgot about Ernie and Theo’s website. He’d even forgotten about his dreams of being a sheep dog.

“Sorry Theo, where are we going on Sunday then?” Ernie said, trying to avoid Theo’s glare.

“We are off to Manchester Dogs’ Home’s ‘‘Go Walkies’ event at Debdale Park in Gorton,” Theo epitomised patience. He knew what was coming next and started to count.

Ernie had heard of dogs’ homes but he didn’t really know what they were. He had so many questions for Theo.  He didn’t know where to start:

“Theo, what’s a dog’s home? Is it like our homes?” Ernie asked.

“No, not really Ernie. You see, there are lots of dogs who aren’t lucky enough to live in lovely homes like ours so they need somewhere else to stay,” Theo replied. He explained that Manchester Dogs’ Home looks after 7,000 dogs a year.

 “Theo, I bet that home is bigger than mine and yours! Why don’t we go and live there just imagine how many mates we’d have to play with,” Ernie said excitedly. Ernie also wondered where Manchester Dogs’ Home kept all the treat jars but he didn’t mention it.

As soon as Ernie said this, Theo realised his little friend didn’t know anything about dogs’ homes. “Ernie,” he said “do you know what dogs’ homes are for?”

Ernie said he’d heard of dogs’ homes but wasn’t really sure what they were for.

“Well,” Theo explained,” they are places for dogs who haven’t got homes like ours”. He waited for Ernie’s next question. It wasn’t long coming.

“But Theo,” Ernie asked “why are there dogs without homes like ours?”

Theo explained that, for many reasons, some humans couldn’t look after their dogs. He also explained that very occasionally, humans didn’t want to keep their dogs and might even put them out on the streets or not look after them properly.

Ernie started to get a little bit upset when Theo told him this.

“Theo, that is awful,” he said “just imagine leaving your humans – no treats or cuddles and no warm bed”. He eyes were filling with tears. Theo was getting a bit upset too. Ernie was used to seeing Theo worry a bit but knew that was because Theo thought a lot about things. He wasn’t used to seeing him get upset though and asked Theo what the matter was.

“Well, you see, I don’t have to imagine what it is like Ernie, I lived in a dogs’ home for a while when I was younger,” Theo explained.

“I don’t like talking about it much as it was a sad time. I will always be grateful to all the lovely people who looked after me in the home, they really did look after me so well.  I was also very lucky that my lovely humans came and adopted me. As you know, they love me so much”.

Ernie wanted to ask Theo lots more questions about living in a dogs’ home but he didn’t. He was just pleased the home had looked after Theo when he needed it and that he was happy now. He quickly changed the subject and his tail started to wag again:

“So, Theo” he said, “what are we going to get up to at the ‘Go Walkies’ event then?”

Theo reckoned that if he’d had a treat for every question Ernie asked he’d have to widen the door because he wouldn’t get through the front door. He couldn’t help smiling though and his tail started wagging too

“Well,” Theo explained, “there are going to be hundreds of our mates there and I am sure we’ll have a good run around. I think there’ll be lots of surprises and there’ll be some dog shows for us to enter too! But the most important thing is we are going to raise money so Manchester Dogs’ Home to help them look after the dogs who aren’t as lucky as us, there may even be some dogs from the dogs’ home there too. We are going to donate some of our pet accessories to the home to help them raise more money”

“Sounds like the dogs’ bottoms of a day to me” Ernie replied. He really had been listening to Theo but was slightly distracted by a squirrel peeping out of the hedge. “I’ve got to go now Theo but I’ll see you at Debdale Park!” and with that he was off, ears and paws flapping.

“Okay, Ernie, see you then” Theo chuckled as he got up and started to trot homeward himself.


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