Politicians and their pets: Scott Douglas
Scott Douglas, Edinburgh City councillor for Corstorphine and Murrayfield, and Herbert the dog
How long have you had him?
Since he was 8 weeks old and he could sit in your hand! Hasn’t got much bigger since then to be honest…
Where did you get him?
From a lovely family in Kilmarnock. He was the first-born and runt of the litter so they weren’t sure they would be able to sell him – so of course we fell for it and chose him above his two brothers!
What can he do?
He tends to try and sleep for the majority of the day and then when it is time for a walk he hides as he cannot stand going out in any inclement weather. It’s especially tough walking him on a wet and windy day knowing that he’s enjoying it even less than you are…
What do you love about him?
He is ludicrously affectionate and will insist on being sat as close to you as possible – which means he’s been a great companion during the pandemic and home working. I talk to him frequently throughout the day and I’m pretty sure he’s beginning to understand me…
What special talents does he have?
He’s absolutely mastered the big puppy dog eyes look – meaning he can trot over to someone having a picnic and convince them to hand over any food they might have in their hand.
What’s his best trick?
Getting exactly what he wants 99 per cent of the time. He never learned sit, roll over etc., but he very quickly learned how to manipulate me. For example, pretending that he’s injured his leg so he can get carried home, only to make a ‘miraculous’ recovery as soon as we’re in the door.
What are his most annoying habits?
He is hugely protective, and despite his diminutive stature he sees it as his job to protect the house if someone ever has the audacity to ring the doorbell or walk by the window.
What’s the worst thing he’s done?
Stolen a pack of apple tarts from a shopping bag, taken them to his bed and then tried to eat as many of them as he could. The ones at the end were out of reach so he just licked the sugar off them.
Do you think of yourself as a pet parent or pet owner?
As much as I never thought I would become one of ‘those’ people, I am definitely a pet parent.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought or done for him?
We went through a period of buying him fresh, entirely natural dog food that not only cost more than the meals we made for ourselves, but often smelt better as well. I’m not sure Herb noticed the difference.
What’s your first pet or animal-related memory?
When I was about seven our family cat Misty started waking me up in the morning by sitting on my chest and purring like a V12 engine. He too didn’t have much respect for personal space…
What was the first pet you ever had?
Two cats, Misty and Holly, who were both very cuddly but were also trained killers and would bring back several dead mice/birds each morning.
What would be your dream pet?
As soppy as it is, I genuinely can’t imagine a better pet than Herb. He’s the perfect mix of having the enthusiasm of a dog, but also the affection and energy levels of a cat. He’s the first dog I’ve ever owned, and despite not being a huge fan of them beforehand, he’s converted me for life.
If you could be any animal what would you be?
It would have to be one that could fly. Probably a robin as they look pretty jolly.