Welcome to the World of Dogs
You can find coverage here of all types of dogs, including pure-bred, so-called 'designer' dogs and ordinary mutts. It is probably fair to say that dogs are our closest and also our oldest animal companions. People were travelling and hunting with dogs long before farming began, with our links to them extending back at least 30,000 years, and possibly much longer.
Pickles spares England's World Cup blushes!

World Cup 2010The world of football owes a significant debt to the canine community - and specifically, a collie-type dog called Pickles. It was 1966 - when England hosted and ultimately won the tournament - that the famous Jules Rimet trophy was snatched in an audacious raid from the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, in the heart of London where it was on display. It appears that the aim was to blackmail the football authorities into paying up for its return.

A deal was set up, but the thief became suspicious of a van being used by the police to observe the hand-over, and ran off. He was soon caught, but there was still no sign of the missing trophy, with the start of the tournament growing ever closer. The trail went cold, in spite of Scotland Yard having more than 100 detectives working on the case.

A week after the arrest, Pickles found a brown parcel which had been left in the front garden of his home in the brown paper parcelLondon suburb of South Norwood, as he was being taken out for a walk. Only when Pickles' owner, David Corbett saw the names of former winners as he took the paper off did he appreciate the significance of the discovery. Unfortunately, David himself then became the prime suspect for a time when he took the Cup to the police. In fact, he believes that in spite of the massive publicity surrounding their find, the whole episode was in some way cursed.

A sad story

Pickles himself met a tragic end in an accident during the following year, being strangled when his choke chain became entangled around a tree as he set off chasing a cat. The football negotiator involved passed away shortly after the cup was recovered, and the thief, who was jailed for two years, then died almost immediately after he was released from prison. Even the cup itself was ultimately lost. It was stolen again in 1983, when it was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has never been seen since. It is thought to have been melted down for its gold.

Pickles did, however, enjoy a brief film career, starring in the film The Spy with the Cold Nose, alongside the much-loved British comedy duo of June Whitfield and Eric Sykes. Both he and David were also guests of honour at the England team's celebratory dinner when they won the cup in July that year, and Pickles was even allowed to lick the plates clean!

And finally ... wet playing conditions!

Four years earlier, in 1962, an un-named dog had hit the headlines at the World Cup quarter-finals in Chile, when it ran on to the pitch and stopped the game between England and holders Brazil.

The dog evaded the attempts of the Brazilian goalkeeper to catch him, but was mesmerised by the off-the-ball skills of England player Jimmy Greaves. He went down one all fours in front of the dog, who responded by coming closer until Jimmy could grab him and pass him over to a steward.

Unfortunately, the dog was so overcome by being tackled in this way that he urinated over the England player, soaking his shirt! But undeterred, the Brazilian star Garrincha decided to adopt the dog after the game, which Brazil won 3-1.