Monday 26 May 2014

A question about a pet passport

To: Alex Salmond, The First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party.

26th May 2014

Dear Mr Salmond,


First of all, I want to apologise for making cheap jokes about your name, your physique and your horse-riding ability, in my post a short while back. On reflection, my owner Gail had a point, I was guilty of being trivial.

Well today, Mr Salmond, I want to address a genuinely important issue.

I am sure you will agree that one of the things that has made Scotland great is that so many of our intrepid and adventurous citizens have performed with distinction on the world stage.

I am thinking of David Livingstone, John Muir, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Glover, to name but a few.

Oh I too would so love to travel, to visit my friends beyond these island shores, and to show the world what Scots born creatures can accomplish. (One can only go so far with an internationally renowned blog).

I am imagining a tour of continental Europe, for starters.

Can you believe that I do not yet possess a passport? I know for a fact that my predecessor Hamish the Westie had one, as I remember overhearing Gail tell a friend that it had cost a small fortune and never was used.

Well surely nobody will dispute that I am worth it, but there is another complication - one that I hope you can address.

So please, Mr Salmond, can you tell me what will happen if I go to the vets and obtain a British passport and then, in September, the human citizens of Scotland vote for independence?

Will my British pet passport still be valid? Will I need a Scottish passport and have to show it at the border when we visit Human Granny in England? Will I still be entitled to a British passport on the grounds that my owner was born and bred in England? How much will it all cost?

I have searched long and hard through the Scottish National Party's policy documents, but found nothing, absolutely nothing, about the crucial issue of travel documentation for dogs.

I would like to think that, even as I type (or rather, dictate to my human assistant) you will have a phalanx of dedicated policy wonks addressing this gaping hole in your supposedly comprehensive 'White Paper' on Scotland's future. I have to tell you that Gail feels less confident of this, saying, somewhat uncharitably, that there are many other glaring gaps in the SNP vision of Scottish Independence that do not appear to have been properly thought through...

Mr Salmond, I am a terrier, hard-wired to be independent minded but also trusting.

I am sure that you can give me the answers to all my questions and that they will be satisfactory.

I await your reply with eager anticipation.

Yours sincerely,

Bouncing Bertie (wire-haired fox terrier),

PS I know you are a busy chap, but perhaps you would enjoy a break and a wee peek at some photos of my recent weekend in Torridon.


  1. Crivens Bertie - Travelling with an invalid passport. You might be deported !

  2. Looks like ya got into some mud dere!

  3. Well, if passports are going to put money in the government's coffers then you can be sure you'll need one (or two)....

    Love that mud.

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  4. LOL at Angus' comment. We agree with Scotsmad Bertie. Have a marvellous bank holiday Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. Crikey Bertie .... I don't know much about passports but I do want to come and visit your beautiful country. S'pose I'd need more than a passport though. Our Lucy used to get muddy just like that! Looks like fun!!

  6. Bertie: We feel you have raised an important concern and are certain that it will be addressed by the candidate. Can you not apply for dual citizenship?


  7. I hope you will get an answer soon ( the spawning season is over for salmosn now, so I hope he has time) and a passport. Imagine you could visit me! I think even with Scottish Independence your passport will be valid, because it's an eu-thingy now. have a great monday! ( do you have spring bank holiday today too?)

  8. dual citizenship is the answer - get passports for both countries :)

  9. Hari OM
    As a global trotter myself, dear Bertie I can assure you that holding two passports has definite advantages. It is a leftover legacy of earlier times that in certain quarters the term 'British' is used in place of 'English' (indeed many will say 'England' when they mean 'Britain') and the welcome is luke-warm. When it is declared that one is Aussie and/or Scottish, things get altogether warmer.

    That's my tuppence worth. Loving the looks of that last photo. Might have a go at that myself... Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  10. Bertie just enter other countries illegally. If you have to tunnel under the borders. A bunch of paper just scrambles the mix.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  11. I agree duel citizenship is the answer

    retro rover

  12. Wowza, Bertie. You got real issues going on over there. Surely a "phalanx of wonks" will be able to sort it out? If not, we say sod it all and go wherever your heart desires!!

  13. Bertie...I, Madi, think we need to start a petition for you to obtain your passport. No matter the outcome of the vote on the Isles you will be allowed to travel...after all you are BERTIE and known all over the world. Heck just saying I'm Bertie and this is Gail should be sufficient in my opinion. Dear sweet handsome Bertie your feets were MUDDY I bet that was fun.
    Hugs madi your bfff

  14. Yes definitely duel citizenship. Choosing loyalties is overrated :-) Just ask the kiddos, they are duel citizens!

  15. Hey, Bertie! We're easing back in as mama's infirmities allow. We don't know Coccolino B, but he/she has a point about dual citizenship. After all, you were born in Scotland but your legal guardian is English, so you should qualify for dual citizenship. We don't travel, but here you can go all over the U.S. [well, not sure about Hawaii] and Canada with just a current rabies certificate. At least you could the last time mama had occasion to check, back in the Dane days.

    Mazel tov on your progress in agilities! Your training of Gail is really coming along well.

    1. Hi Jed and Abby. Great to hear from you. How are you doing. Gosh, your pearls of wisdom are much needed in this debate about Scotland's independence...

  16. Dear Godson,

    Here's what I recommend:
    1. Get a British passport.
    2. Come to Switzerland and stay here for a while so we can hike together.
    3. Get a Swiss passport (it takes 12 years for humans but it's a lot faster for us).
    4. If Scotland votes for independence and your British passport is no longer valid, you can travel with your Swiss passport.

    Please note that a Swiss pet passport is very inexpensive (I believe it costs about 20 pounds).

    Godmoma Tootsie