It was a warm, breezy Saturday evening. Theo and Ernie were lying under their favourite lamp post. They’d been at Rawtenstall’s “Dig for Victory” Clog Market most of the day.
It had been a very busy day. Ernie and Theo had sold lots of dogs’ bottom plaques and bandanas. In addition to all the usual pet accessories they make, they’d launched their little ‘Pet in a Box’ and the children had loved them so much that they had sold out. Ernie and Theo had met lots of mates and been for a big run in a hilly park. One of their favourite dog treat makers (“Millie and Ruby’s”) had been at the market too.
Neither Ernie nor Theo had spoken since they arrived. Theo knew they were both tired but thought this was unusual for Ernie. His little mate’s constant chatter and questions drove him daft but he found the silence even worse!
“Did you enjoy the Clog Market then Ernie?” Theo asked in an effort to get his friend’s tongue, if not tail, wagging.
Ernie’s head remained flat on the floor. He raised his eyes to acknowledge Theo’s question. As he did so, a group of sparrows landed in the hedge. Ernie didn’t even turn to look at the new arrivals. This got Theo worryed that his little mate was under the weather and so he asked if Ernie was okay.
“Yes, I am just a bit tired,” Ernie explained, “and my tummy is very full Theo.”
Theo was relieved Ernie wasn’t really under the weather but had just been eating too much. He knew exactly what had happened but decided to have some fun at Ernie’s expense.
“We had lots of exercise and you didn’t get your tea until you got home,” Theo said “so why is your tummy full Ernie?”
“I haven’t even eaten my tea, Theo” Ernie sulkily replied. “My tummy was too full. I didn’t even ask for any of my humans’ food either” he replied. Ernie was looking so sorry for himself that Theo thought he was going to cry (Ernie that is, not Theo – he was trying hard not to laugh).
“Well,” Theo said pretending to be very puzzled, “I don’t understand Ernie. We had lots of exercise today and you haven't eaten your tea, so why on earth have you got a full tummy?! It is a complete mystery to me!!”
Ernie looked very sheepishly at Theo. He had a confession to make to Theo. “I think I know what it was Theo. I had a lot of Millie and Ruby’s treats” he muttered.
Now, for once in his life, Theo was a bit naughty and told a little white lie. “Sorry Ernie, I didn’t quite catch what you said then,” he replied.
If he’d been human, Ernie would have groaned. But he isn’t, so he didn’t and just gave a little growl under his breath instead.
“I said,” Ernie replied more loudly “I had a lot of Millie and Ruby’s treats. You see, my human kept going over to chat with them and I just couldn’t resist the free samples – and they said they couldn’t resist my puppy dog eyes. They are some of the tastiest treats going – I just couldn’t help myself!”
“Well that’s the problem Ernie - you did help yourself!” Theo replied roaring with laughter. He was surprised Ernie didn’t have sore hind legs given the time he’d spent resting his front paws on Millie and Ruby’s stall staring at the goodies.
“I know, I won’t do it again – I promise Theo,” Ernie said apologetically. Theo shook his head. He knew he had more chance of flying the spitfire they had seen at the market than Ernie not eating too many treats again.
So he decided to give his best mate something to think about...
“You do need to be careful Ernie. You don’t want to end up going to WeightWatchers,” Theo explained. As soon as he said “WeightWatchers” though, Theo regretted it. He knew what was coming next.
“What’s ‘WeightWatchers’ Theo,” Ernie asked.
“It is a place you go to lose some weight if you have been eating too much. They help you to cut your calorie intake and increase your exercise,” Theo explained.
Ernie didn’t have a clue what a “calorie intake” was but cutting it sounded a bit painful. He'd had things cut before and it hadn't been fun. In fact, he'd had to wear a cone for weeks afterwards. He was suddenly feeling a bit better and a lot less sorry for himself. He had finally spotted the sparrows and decided it was time to play. He got up and started running towards the hedgerow.
“Ernie where are you going?” Theo asked.
“I am going to increase my exercise Theo” Ernie shouted back as he gathered pace.
“Okay, Ernie, enjoy the Great Harwood Country Fair on Monday, I can’t go,” Theo shouted back.
“Yeo, Theo – I’ll try,” Ernie barked back as he gave full chase – his big ears flapping in the wind.