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by Staff reporter
03 February 2023
Politicians and their pets: Cllr Beth Whiteside

Beth, Selkie and Skye

Politicians and their pets: Cllr Beth Whiteside

The Angus Council leader introduces us to Selkie and Skye. 

Pets’ name? Selkie and Skye

Breed? Black Labrador Retrievers

How old are they? Almost six years old – they are both from the same litter.

How long have you had Selkie and Skye? Since September 2018.

Where did you get them? They came from the Guide Dog Training Centre in Forfar. Both were destined to become guide dogs. However, they did not prove suitable – fortunately for me.

What can they do? They make the best pets – they are great with children and other dogs and totally good natured.

What do you love about Selkie and Skye? Their loyalty and companionship – I don’t enjoy a house without dogs. Also, we are very much on the same wavelength when it comes to what gives us pleasure: playing in the snow and splashing in the sea, or any walks in the countryside.

What special talents do they have? They’re both from the same litter but look different and have very different personalities. Skye had a few health issues and operations in the past and is naturally more timid, while Selkie is a lot more gallus. 

What’s their best trick? Selkie has a special sound she makes every morning. I’m sure she’s saying hello.

What are their most annoying habits? Mostly to do with food – they are typical labs.

What’s the worst thing Selkie and Skye have done? Again, food. Some of the things they’ve found and eaten. Rotten fish, stinking rabbit carcasses, deer legs (already dead and detached from the rest, I hasten to add).

Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner? I don’t see them as possessions but, similarly, I have plenty of children and grandchildren, so they’re not my kids. I would say I’m their faithful companion. 

Who walks your dogs when you’re working? My work with Angus Council is often done remotely, from home, so they don’t have to be left too often. I’m definitely their main walker and they’re my motivation to walk as much as I do – no such thing as bad weather where they are concerned. When I’m on holiday, I’m lucky that my daughters usually step in to look after them. I’ve definitely passed on my love of dogs, as all three daughters have their own now. 

What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for Selkie and Skye? Some might say spending a ridiculous amount of money on two operations to help alleviate Skye’s early health issues, but other dog lovers will understand. 

What’s your first pet or animal-related memory? Definitely getting my first dog, when I was five years old. I’ve rarely been without one since.

What was the first pet you ever had? Gypsy, a rough collie. Often mistaken for Lassie. 

What would be your dream pet? You can’t beat a dog. I’ve had all sorts, including rescues, crossbreeds and those that landed on my doorstep unexpectedly – you’ll need to ask my daughters about that one!

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