Politicians and their pets: Jenny Gilruth introduces Brodie
Breed? Show cocker spaniel (golden)
Age? 18 months
How long have you had him? Since he was ten weeks old.
Where did you get him? From a farm in Fife, just outside Dunfermline.
What can he do? Brodie can wait very patiently for toast and not so patiently for roast chicken.
What do you love about him? He is just delighted to see us - whether we have been at work or have been to take the bins out, Brodie provides unconditional love.
What special talents does he have? Kez has taught Brodie to ‘spin’ and to ‘switch’ when giving a paw. I am not convinced this is a special talent, but it is certainly different.
What’s his best trick? The howl. Cocker spaniels are well known for this, but the howl has now become a family trick whereby Kez and I will howl and eventually Brodie will join in (probably out of annoyance more than anything). If you ever come to our house for tea you can be sure to be treated to this experience.
What is his most annoying habit? Undoubtedly, the wakeup call. This involves Brodie nutting us in the face every morning until he is fed. I have become adept at hiding from him; Kez less so. Now that he recognises she is the weak link, he always goes to her. Mission accomplished.
What’s the worst thing he has ever done? Where to start...he ate a whole pack of Lurpak, he consumed an entire tub of cod liver oil tablets, he munched my Ted Baker glasses which now means I can only see out of one eye, he destroyed my Clarins primer and he also took out a new book I had bought. Kez says all of this relates to my unwillingness to put things away... however he did also consume a fair chunk of cheese at my Mum’s house over Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such indignation than in the phrase ‘That’s £3 worth of cheese, Jennifer!’
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner? Pet parent, 100%. I had no choice in it; Brodie is our ruler now.
What’s the most exorbitant thing you’ve ever purchased for your pet? There’s a couple of things, both of which are the fault of the fabulous Harry’s dogs treats in Portobello. First up - the cheese bone. This is Himalayan yaks milk, which is cold pressed into bone format. £10 of investment for countless hours of peace. Secondly, there is the Mediterranean wood block I bought him. It’s not just any lump of wood...it’s olive wood from the med. In my defence, the wee monkey had feasted on a pair of my stilettos for work the night before so I was in desperate need of a solution.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for your pet? This is the Kez department. Every pay day she buys the dog a new toy. Every pay day he tears the toy apart and it goes in the bin. The cycle then repeats. Last month it was a raccoon. Poor raccoon has now lost an eye and his stomach stuffing is being slowing removed...
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory? We had a springer called Kerry when I was growing up. Kerry was the first word I said because my Mum used to shout at him to get him away from my high chair. We lived on a farm and Kerry used to run away a lot. One night, the next door farmer caught him and put him in his shed. Bill the farmer was also a painter and the next day when he opened the shed, Kerry was covered in green paint. He was a daft dog, but he was great.
What was the first pet you ever had? Not counting Kerry, it was Flopsy the Rabbit from the Dog Food shop, which was a pet shop in Dundee. Randomly it is also now the location of Joe Fitzpatrick’s constituency office.
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be? I think a dog is enough for us...
If you could be any animal what would you be? Some sort of bird so I could fly away on holiday on demand.