Politicians and their pets: Brian Whittle
The Conservatives MSP for the South of Scotland introduces his spaniels Bailey and Fern
Working Cocker Spaniel and Sprocker Spaniel
Both 20 months
How long have you had them?
Bailey belongs to my youngest daughter Emma and Fern belongs to my middle daughter Rachel – so they are not always with me. They have had them since they were 8 weeks old.
Where did you get them?
Bailey was from Scotland and Fern was from England
What can they do?
They can run flat out forever! Fern has more tricks up her sleeve – roll over, balance on hind legs. Bailey is very good at coming back when called – Fern has selective deafness if there is another dog in the vicinity!
What do you love about them?
I take them out for a run and they are just the happiest couple of dogs in the world. They charge through the woods – usually carrying the same stick between them – running in the same general direction I am plodding! They are both the most affectionate dogs you could ever meet.
What special talents do they have?
They have a special talent of muddying up my kitchen floor having been charging around the garden!
What’s their best trick?
Blaming each other for their misdemeanours
What are their most annoying habits?
They are dogs of perpetual motion! Wanting to climb all over me if I am not paying attention to them
What’s the worst thing they’ve done?
Destroyed my back garden during an extended game of chase with each other.
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner?
They are definitely part of the family
What’s the most exorbitant thing you’ve ever purchased for your pet?
My flipping car! I had to change my car (which I loved) so I could take them about!!
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for your pet?
Again the car issue springs to mind (not that it still pains me!).
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory?
We used to have rough collies (Shep, Shane and Lassie) – I remember the way they were so protective of me as a child.
What was the first pet you ever had?
The first pet I had personally that was my own was a Border Collie called Kim. She used to train with me, back when I was an athlete – she ran about 40 or 50 miles a week with me as well as doing repetitions on the beach or hills. She was with me every day and was quite an amazing dog – very intelligent. She would run to heel until we either got to the beach or golf course and would not cross a road unless I said she could. I remember running along Troon beach one day and all the dogs on the beach decided to come with us. I ended up with a pack of dogs running along with Kim, all their owners chasing after us calling out their dogs’ names. I met them on the return journey back from Prestwick with a much-reduced pack – many trailing in our wake. Many red faces, heavy breathing owners not best pleased! I had just got fed up having to continually about turn and return their dogs to them. They all made it back, rather more tired than normal (and the dogs too!). She made it to 18 years of age.
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
Another Kim the dog please!
If you could be any animal what would you be?