“Did you enjoy the Farnworth Fire Fighters’ Fete?” Theo asked Ernie as they sat in the shade under their lamppost on another hot June evening.
Ernie hadn’t quite caught Theo’s question, a pigeon had been distracting him. “Sorry, what did you say Theo?” he asked.
“I said," Theo replied, taking a deep breath, "...did you enjoy the Farnworth Fire Fighters’ Fete?”
The fete had been over a week ago. That is a long time for Ernie, so he had to think for a minute before replying.
Theo patiently tapped his paw while he waited.
“I think I did Theo. It was very warm. I remember meeting lots of friends and getting treats of some of them,” Ernie finally replied.
“Yes, we did, I enjoyed it too. The fete made £800 for the Fire Fighters Memorial Trust!” Theo said.
Ernie fleetingly wondered how many treats he could buy for £800. He didn’t know but thought it would sound uncharitable to ask Theo. So, instead, he asked his old mate if Ernie and Theo had a craft fair coming up. He loved the fairs but was worried they’d all be cancelled because of the trade war. To Ernie’s surprise, Theo said they were going to the Todmorden Agricultural Show on 16 June.
“Are you sure?” Ernie replied, “I thought it would have been cancelled.”
“Why?” Theo asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Well, because of the trade war,” Ernie answered with a worried look.
“I told you last week, the trade war probably won’t affect us,” Theo explained with a chuckle. “We don’t use a lot of steel or aluminium in our pet accessories!”
“Phew,” Ernie sighed, “that’s good news.”
“Mind you,” Theo went on, “we will use more metal in future Ernie.
“Why is that?” Ernie asked between scratching his chin and eyeing up a group of ducks heading to a nearby pond for a swim.
“Haven’t you heard? We are expanding our pet accessory range. We are now doing dog leads and collars,” Theo said.
“They’re being launched at the Todmorden Show. Then they’ll be on the website! Isn’t it exciting?”
Ernie’s tail twitched. Indeed, it was very exciting. He loved his dog lead – dog leads meant walkies.
“Yeo Theo, do you think we will be able to model them at the show?” Ernie asked. “I hope so, because of we do we might get some extra treats if we do a good job.”
“If you behave as you usually do at our fairs, I am sure you’ll end up with an Ernie and Theo lead on your collar” Theo said, laughing.
“Will there be much to do at the Todmorden show?” Ernie asked. Theo can’t remember what he used to do before he started answering Ernie’s questions.
“Well. If you look at their website,” Theo sighed, “you’d see there’s lots going on. I am really looking forward to the H&M Dog Training Centre’s display team in action.”
“We’ve seen quite a few of those now haven’t we Theo,” Ernie said. He knew the display dogs were very clever but, honestly, he thought, “Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.”
“Well, yes I know we have Ernie,” Theo said. “But this team is pretty special. It has its own fire brigade section and their show could end with a fire jumping display”.
“Wow,” Ernie gasped. “I have heard about hot dogs but I have never seen one, that will be fantastic.”
“No, no!!” Theo said. “A ‘hot dog’ is a sausage in a long bun. Humans eat them - sometimes with onions and ketchup,” he explained.
Ernie cortical neurons were now running hard to keep up. He had never heard of sausages or buns before. And he was hearing for the first time that humans ate hot dogs. He didn’t want Theo to think he was a bit slow but he had to ask another question;
“So, what do you call a dog who jumps through fire then Theo?” Ernie asked.
“I don’t think you’d really call them anything Ernie,” Theo replied.
“Well, if they aren’t hot dogs I’d call them ‘very brave dogs’,” said Ernie. “You wouldn’t catch me jumping through or over fire! It sounds very scary.”
“Oh, it could be,” Theo said, “but they are trained to do it – they know what they are doing.”
All this talk of training and fire was making Ernie thirsty. He decided it was time to visit the nearby pond. He wasn’t a big swimmer but he’d get a drink and could play chase with the ducks.
“Okay Theo, are you going to the show?” Ernie asked.
“Yes, I am. Are you going too?” Theo replied.
By now, Ernie was trotting pond-wards. “Oh yes, I’ve got to try a hot dog,” Ernie shouted back. “I’ll see you there. Got to go Theo. I need a drink.”
Theo shook his head, chuckling to himself. He lifted himself up and trotted homewards.