Politicians and their pets: Carol Monaghan
Whilst her name is officially Jean, she is also called Wee Jean and Jeannie Mac (my Irish husband calls her this)
Good question! Jean is a rescue so we’re not sure. We think she is part Staffie and she certainly has the wonderfully loyal and affectionate traits.
Age? We think around seven years old.
How long have you had her?
Where did you get her?
My friend owned a hair studio and literally rescued Jean from the street outside where Jean’s previous owners were beating her up. Jean was in a terrible state from regular beatings and was badly malnourished so my friend had to nurse her back to health. When my friend emigrated to Hong Kong for work, we adopted Jean.
What do you love about her?
Jean’s a proper dog! She’s incredibly fast, super fit and is very demanding of affection. When I return from London each week, she greets me as though I have been away for a year. She considers herself a proper family member and when we go out for walks, gets anxious if her ‘pack’ is split. She will run back and forward between us and our girls and only settles down when we’re all within a few metres of each other – maybe she’s part sheepdog and is just herding us up!
What special talents does she have?
She loves trees and branches and will climb them to try and get a stick. Her most impressive skill is her ability to jump to grab any low-hanging branches in her jaws. She can spend several minutes just dangling from branches by her teeth.
What are her most annoying habits?
She likes to bite her lead and drag us around with it. We have tried to train her out of this, including by using a metal lead, but to her it’s a great game.
What’s the worst thing she’s ever done?
Jean loves cuddly toys and tried to play with my niece’s guinea pig, probably thinking it was a teddy. I heard the squeaking and assumed it was one of Jean’s toys. Thankfully, although slightly traumatised, the guinea pig was not harmed. Jean is now banned from any guinea pig contact.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for her?
A witch Halloween costume. My girls loved it, but Jean was not amused
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or a pet owner?
Pet owner, although my husband definitely considers himself a pet parent. The first time he had to phone the vet, he introduced himself as Jean’s dad.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory?
I always wanted a dog as a child but my parents wouldn’t allow it. In the end, they let me keep a goldfish that I had won in a fair, although ‘Big Eyes’ the goldfish was a rather poor substitute for a puppy.
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
I think a dog is an ideal pet as it is a mutually beneficial arrangement, Jean certainly considers herself an integral part of the family. Of course there are animals that are far more impressive, like whales for example, but I can’t imagine they would make great pets.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
A golden eagle – flying is a passion of mine so until I can get a jet suit, I can only dream of the freedom and spectacular views enjoyed by eagles.