Politicians and their pets: Pauline McNeill and her German Shepherds
How old are they?
Charlie is 20 months and Harry three and a half
How long have you had them?
Charlie since he was six weeks old and Harry since he was four months old.
Where did you get them?
From dog breeder Hugh Se Souter we know for breeding a German Shepherd he has. Charlie’s mother is Harry’s sister.
What do you love about them?
Where to start? Very interactive. Both howl to a police siren. They go mad when you come home or even after a few hours if they haven’t seen you. They are full of love. They try to sit on your lap as they can’t get close enough to you and don’t realise how big they are. They bark at the hoover. Harry loves water. Charlie is scared of the water. They play with one another and are inseparable. Charlie always teasing Harry that he is up on the chair and Harry is not. When I come in late from a gig Charlie opens the laundry room door where he sleeps and they both try to climb on me when I have a rucksack and guitar on and try to get over each other to get to me. It’s only been a few hours since I saw them. I give them a biscuit and then send them to bed and they dutifully do.
What special talents do they have?
Charlie can open doors, which I used to think was with his paw but the other day I saw him doing it with his mouth. They both wake me up in the morning and creep in the bedroom and lick my face then creep out. Harry uses his nose to nudge me. Harry can catch a ball from any height or speed whilst jumping a sizeable height. Harry pulls my hand if he needs water or out for the toilet.
What are their most annoying habits?
They stare in the window hoping to get inside even for five minutes. They fight to get in the door first and knock me over. I have to make them sit and wait, which they do when I use my stern voice.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for them?
Bought cars that they can get into.
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or a pet owner?
Oh, parent, I think. I get anxious if I’m not home for them. I get worried if they are out in the rain too long. I feed them always before myself.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory?
I think an Alsatian tried to bite me when I was very young. When my husband brought our first ever German Shephard, Megan, home, I was too scared to pet her. She ate my pink shoes and the dog breeder said she was lonely, so we got another one called Lucy. They both swam in the River Kelvin and would run away and be found in the local laundrette.
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
A dog always, but if not, I love all animals. Lion cub maybe, a tame one. I met Timba the lion cub at Glasgow Zoo many years ago. Very scary.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I love dolphins but don’t fancy being under water, so a German Shephard probably.