Fareham Mr Pine businessman Navid Assar has a 'friend for life' with his unusual pet pigeon

A SOUTHSEA businessman has found a ‘friend for life’ in an unusual feathered pet that comes to work with him every day.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 11:26 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 4:10 pm

Navid Assar who founded the Mr Pine and Sons furniture shops in Fareham and Southsea has become known for bringing his beloved pigeon Petra with him everywhere he goes.

Four-month-old Petra, who Navid hand-reared from birth, chooses to sit with him in his van on the way to work before hopping on his shoulder to come into the Fareham store, in West Street. From there Petra will fly around the shop or sit outside watching people go by.

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Navid Assar with Petra the pigeon in Fareham Picture: Habibur Rahman

She is the fourth pigeon 62-year-old Navid has trained in this way, since he was gifted his first bird as a child in Iran by his grandmother.

Navid said: ‘When you have pigeons you’re never alone.

‘They are very friendly and they never just fly away like a canary or a budgie would.

‘They bring me a lot of joy and can be quite calming, in the way people like to have cats or dogs as pets.

Navid Assar with Petra the pigeon at Mr Pine in Fareham Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘If you keep pigeons you’ll have a friend for life.’

When Navid travelled to the UK in 1975 he continued looking after pigeons by raising them on the roof of his boarding school at the time. Now, he has around 40, which he keeps at the back of his store in Elm Grove.

But Petra – Navid believes she is female although it is difficult to tell with young birds so she may yet be Peter – is the only one that stays with him all the time.

‘She is very well behaved,’ he said.

Petra the pigeon in West Street Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘I’m not entirely sure of the sex yet because it’s hard to tell when they are this young.

‘She sits on my roof until I am ready to go to work and then hops on my shoulder to get into the van with me.

‘When we’re in the shop the customers love her and ask about her all the time.

‘I will be picking up a friend soon from the airport and Petra will come with me.’

Navid Assar with Petra the pigeon Picture: Habibur Rahman

Southsea resident Navid has run Mr Pine and Sons for more than 30 years. His son operates the Elm Grove store.

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Navid Assar with Petra the pigeon Picture: Habibur Rahman