Politicians and their pets: Jim Fairlie
The SNP MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire introduces us to retired co-worker, Jack.
How long have you had him?
Since he was a pup.
Where did you get him?
I bred him from my own dogs. He is probably the last one I’ll have in a line of breeding I’ve had for nearly 30 years, and his bloodline can be traced back to roughly 1918. He is a great pet dog now but he was definitely bred to work.
What can he do?
He can gather sheep and cattle but he’s pretty good at going deaf when I try to slow him down.
What do you love about him?
His fabulous nature. He’s one of most lovely natured dogs I’ve ever had.
What special talents does he have?
Apart from being a good working dog, he’s very good at picking wild berries. We have a lot of wild rasps growing around us when we go walking in the summer, and something we both love doing is stopping and having a good feed of them. He’s incredibly delicate while he’s picking them.
What’s his best trick?
He’s very good at riding on the back of a quad bike. Granted, it’s a part of his work training but still a pretty cool thing for a dog to do.
What are his most annoying habits?
He has a nose for a bitch in season and will sneak off at the drop of a hat. I very rarely have him on a lead and his recall is unfaltering, however, just last week he took off and ignored me completely because there was a bitch in season in the village about three quarters of a mile away.
What’s the worst thing he’s done?
To be honest, he’s never really done very much that’s been wrong.
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner?
To be honest, he’s really a retired co-worker.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for your pet?
I tend not to do that.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory?
Picking up my first dog at the age of eight.
What was the first pet you ever had?
A golden Labrador called Pepper. I used to keep two lofts of racing pigeons as a boy and Pepper was a great guard dog for keeping cats away.
What would be your dream pet?
Just a really good dog.
If you could be any animal what would you be?
As a boy I always fancied myself as either a peregrine falcon or a wolf, not sure what a psychologist would say about that.