Ernie and Theo's little lists

It was an early January evening. A chill lay in the air but the light breeze kept the mist and frost at bay. Ernie and Theo were lying under their favourite lamp post catching their breath. They’d just got back from a run on the golf course with their pet-humans.

They hadn’t seen each other since well before Christmas. They had a lot to catch up on.

“Did you have a good Christmas, Ernie?” Theo asked his little friend.

“I was glad of the break Theo, I went to so many craft markets in December, I lost count!” Ernie replied. “I enjoyed them all but they were long days for a little Cavapoochon like me!  I didn’t do my last event until the Thursday before Christmas!” he went on.

“Oh yes, you were at our pop-up shop at the ‘Siphon Espresso and Brew Bar’ in Rawtenstall weren’t you? How was it?”

“I had to have a bath,” Ernie replied.

“In the Siphon café?  Why?” Theo asked in a puzzled voice.

“No, not in the café!” he exclaimed. “I got very muddy running in the park. One of my pet- human had to find somewhere to wash me. We found an old sink in the park and I had a bath.  My pet-human said he’d have got told off if I’d gone back to the Siphon all dirty.  It was very chilly!”

Theo gave a “why am I not surprised?” sort of chuckle and then asked Ernie again how the pop-up shop had gone.

“Oh, it was great fun. I met lots of friendly people,” Ernie explained excitedly. “Some of them gave me treats and Wilf, one of our instagram competition winners, popped in for a chat.  We posed for a few photos. I got a bit tired towards the end though.”

This wasn’t quite what Theo wanted to know. So, he asked Ernie again, spelling out exactly what he was interested in:

 “Yes, but how was business?” Theo asked.

“Well, we sold some of our pet accessories if that’s what you mean,” Ernie replied in a crestfallen sort of way. “I don’t know how many but we met lots of people too,” he added.

Theo saw he’d taken the wind out of Ernie’s sails. He’d look at the figures himself. More people had heard about “Ernie and Theo”. That was good news so he changed the subject:

“2018 was a big year for our little enterprise Ernie. What were your memorable moments?”.

Ernie wasn’t used to this. He usually asked all the questions, not Theo. And, of course, he always found it harder to answer Theo’s questions than Theo did to answer his. He needed some time to think. He sat up and scratched his chin.

“Well, it would have to be going to Winter Droving at Penrith and the Holmes Mill market in Clitheroe,” Ernie replied.

“Yes, we did very well at those events Ernie,” Theo nodded. “They also had lots of visitors which helped to raise our profile. It’s all about marketing Ernie, all about marketing.”

“Oh, I never thought of those things,” Ernie said in a puzzled voice.

“Why were those two events your highlights then?” Theo asked in an equally puzzled voice.

“Well actually I loved all the markets because I met many lovely people and lots of my mates at them,” Ernie replied. “But I liked those two the best because we were next to Millie and Ruby’s Dog Bakery. Their human Diane kept giving me lots of her treats…and boy did I need them to keep out the cold!” he explained. “What was your favourite memory Theo?”

Theo stopped chuckling and thought about how to answer Ernie’s question.

“Where do I start? There was so many!” Theo replied. “Launching our website; getting a giant bowtie on the ‘Countryfile Live Show’; the charity events we did to raise money for our less fortunate mates – and growing Ernie and Theo’s pet accessory range,” he went on.  

“Oh, I forgot about our products Theo!” Ernie replied excitedly. “I loved modelling the new bow ties and bandanas for the website. And I had great fun testing our new sniffle ball,” he went on excitedly, “it took a while to find the treats in it but I did in the end!”

“Yes, it was a very busy year – but very exciting too wasn’t it?” Theo chuckled.

“Yes,” Ernie said nodding in agreement, “I wonder if 2019 will be as fun and frenetic? What are you looking forward to Theo?” he asked.

“Ooh, now you are asking!” Theo replied. “I’m looking forward to visiting places where we’re doing markets for the first time and developing new ideas for our exciting product range. I’m also looking forward to visiting some good food establishments, setting up my own Instagram page and doing some beer-tasting. What are you looking forward to?”    

Ernie had begun to look very concerned whilst Theo was talking.

“Did you say you wanted to drink beer Theo?” Ernie asked. “I’ve had doggy beer a couple of times you know. It can make you quite sleepy if you drink too much!!”

“Yes, but don’t worry,” Theo replied. “I only want to taste it. I won’t drink too much. Someone needs to keep a clear head to steer HMS Ernie and Theo on the right course, don’t they?!”.

“Phew, that’s good news,” Ernie said in a relieved tone.

“So, what are you looking forward to in 2019 then Ernie?” Theo asked.

“Like you, I’m looking forward to meeting our old friends and making news ones at the markets as well as seeing what new products our pet humans develop,” he replied. “I’m also really excited about going to stay with my brother Erik when my humans go on holiday. We have great fun now he doesn’t chew my ears so much.”

Theo looked skywards…but Ernie hadn’t finished.

“In fact,” Ernie went on, “I got him to try modelling our bowties at Christmas. I was going to ask you if he could come on the books to help me out. What do you think Theo?” he asked.

“That’s a great idea Ernie,” Theo said. “We’ll just have to check what his rates are. Do you know who Erik’s agent is? If you do, I’ll talk to him to make sure we can afford him.”

“Oh, there’s no need to worry about that Theo,” Ernie explained. “I took some of Millie and Ruby’s treats with me when we took the photos. I’ve already agreed with his agent that we’ll give Erik a bag of treats for every photo of him we use on the website.

“Well Ernie,” Theo said, “I’m impressed! You’ve struck a good deal there. We’ll make a businessman of you yet!”

Just as Theo was speaking, Ernie spotted a rabbit scuttling through a nearby hedge and had launched himself after his prey.

“Yeo Theo, I’ll try. I’ve got to go, see you tomorrow” he shouted.

“Yes, see you tomorrow, enjoy your exercise and tea” Theo shouted back. He turned homewards, chuckling to himself. Ernie  had never caught up with the other little animals he chased and would probably be scared of them if he did catch up with them. He never gave up though.  Theo liked that.       








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