If you’re going to be a Scottish emu, surely there couldn’t be anywhere better than to be an Ecclefechan emu.
Even finer, and with a right Royal ring to it, I can only hope the Borders bird which hit the news last week might have been called Erchie the Ecclefechan emu.
For those who didn’t catch him – as his owners are still trying to – said emu hot-footed it from the care home enclosure he shared with assorted non-native animal chums and was last seen heading for the hills.
Or possibly in the south westerly direction of another famous friend of those parts, the wee Kirkcubridght centipede.
We in the media love animal escapees, the more exotic the better for the purposes of pet puns, moggie-related misdemeanours or shaggy dog stories.
In my time I’ve seen many, and if the Eccelfechanites think they’re a special breed then I’ll clip their wings with a reminder that Forfar’s golfers used to frequently encounter flightless birdies which had made good their escape from the emu enclosure of an Australian restaurant bordering the Cunninghill course.
We also had Bob the Glamis Castle pheasant, a cock ‘o the north with such an avian aversion to red cars that he’d lie in wait for them at the entrance to the historic attraction before getting himself all in a flap for a noisy attack.
The measure of Bob’s fury and fame was such that visitors from around the world could buy bottles of beer named after him in the castle gift shop – once they’d run his angry gauntlet at the gate, of course.
Much more well behaved on the sun-kissed sands of East Haven last week were a pack of Airedale Terriers gathered for the unveiling of another stunning piece of Angus public art.
Renowned Kirriemuir sculptor Bruce Walker’s monument is a tribute to the breed which became Scotland’s first dogs of war at the turn of the 20th century when they were trained by high-ranking local officer Lieutentant Colonel Edwin Richardson for various roles in the theatre of combat.
The story of these special animals is as magnificent as the tribute carved into a 30-tonne chunk of granite, and both deserve appreciation by a wider audience.
Thanks to the determined efforts of those who raised the funds for the memorial, and the skilled hands of Bruce Walker, the Angus Airedales will be remembered long after a fleeing, flightless fugitive – no matter how emu-sing his antics.