Ernie & Theo Lead the Way at Aintree

It was a peaceful Sunday morning. The sun was peeping, and a warm, gentle breeze was whistling, through the hedgerow. Ernie and Theo were stretched out under their favourite lamp post. They’d had a busy Saturday at the Todmorden Agricultural Show.

“Did you enjoy yesterday, Ernie?” Theo asked.

Ernie had been looking forward to eating a hot dog at Todmorden after Theo had told him there would be some at the show.

“Well, not really Theo. I didn’t get to eat a hot dog, not even a morsel of one” Ernie sulkily replied.

Theo laughed at this. “Well, hot dogs are human food you know Ernie!?” he said.

This was little consolation to Ernie who spent most of his waking hours thinking about human food and how to get it.

“Didn’t you enjoy seeing the dog display team jumping through the hoops of fire then?” Theo asked.

Ernie frowned. “Well, yes Theo. They were very brave but they made me feel hungry. Every time I saw them, I thought of the other type of hot dog.”

Theo decided to change the subject. “Did you hear the humans talking about how their new dog leads and collars sold at the Todmorden Show?” he asked.

“I did. They were very popular, weren’t they, and they almost sold out!” Ernie replied, his tale starting to wag. “There were blue collars and leads; red collars and leads; stripy collars and leads - and spotty collars and leads. I really liked the rainbow ones! Did you like them too Theo?”

Theo was glad talking about leads had taken Ernie’s mind off the hot dogs.

“Oh yes, I liked them too. They went down so well with our customers. I have told the humans to put them on the website.” Theo knew this sort of executive decision was down to him. His name was over the door. He took this responsibility very seriously. Ernie just took the treats.

Ernie’s eyes widened. “Wow,” he said “will we not run out of room on the website for all these pet accessories we are selling now?” he asked his wise friend.

Theo decided it was too difficult, even for him, to tell Ernie how websites worked. Mind you, at least Ernie hadn’t mentioned the trade war so far today. “And they say I am the worrier”, Theo said to himself!

“No, the website won’t get full for a good while Ernie,” he replied, stifling a chuckle. “Mind you, there’ll be lots to display at our shows,” he added.

“Where is our next show Theo?” Ernie asked

Theo sighed. He’d given up telling Ernie to look on their website for this information!

“It’s the ‘Aintree Community Fun Day and Dog Show’ on 24th June Ernie,” he replied  

“I have heard of Aintree,” Ernie said. “That’s where they have horse racing isn’t it?”

Theo was so impressed by Ernie he’d have fallen over if he’d not been lying down. He knew Ernie had lots of cortical neurons like him. He was just always surprised when Ernie’s showed signs of life.

“Yes, that’s right Ernie,” Theo replied. “It’s the home of the Grand National – the world's most famous steeplechase.”

Ernie had chased ducks, sparrows, magpies, crows…you name it. But he didn’t even know what a ‘steeple’ was, let alone if he’d ever chased one. He was about to ask Theo what a steeple was. Then he remembered he asked his wise friend too many silly questions. So, he asked him a sensible one instead.

“Wow, does that mean we’ll see horses racing Theo?” Ernie asked excitedly.


“No, it would be far too dangerous with lots of people and dogs at the show,” Theo explained, realising Ernie’s cortical neurons had gone to sleep again. “Mind you, I know our humans are racing to get lots of leads, collars, dogs’ bottoms, bow ties and bandanas made in time for the show!”

“Yes, I know,” Ernie said “I went to the seaside for a couple of days to get out of the way! Are you going to the Aintree Show Theo?”

“No, I am going to the seaside myself. So, it’s all down to you Ernie,” Theo said with a stern look.

Ernie was getting distracted. He’d no idea what a steeple was but he’d been looking so hard for one he’d spotted a murder of crows in the distance. He was sure he could hear them saying, “chase me.”

“I’ll do my best Theo,” he said, “I think the humans know what they are doing though.”

“Yes, but keep an eye on them, Ernie. Remember it’s our business at the end of the day,” Theo sternly replied.

“Okay Theo. I know, I’ll keep an eye on things. I won’t let us down,” he stammered.  

“Oh, and I forgot to tell you Ernie, I’ve found a café near us called ‘The Lamp Post Cafe,’ " Theo said. But by the time he finished his sentence, he could see Ernie galloping off after the crows.

“I’ll tell you about it when I get back from the seaside…” Theo shouted.

“Yeo Theo, have fun. I will look after everything while you’re away,” Ernie shouted back.

Theo got up and started to trot home. Deep down, he knew Ernie would do his best to look after everything whilst he was away…if he remembered.


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