Dead Dog Changes Colour

From the Victorian era until after World War Two, charity collection dogs were a popular sight in British train stations. They continued their charitable calling even after death.

“Though dead, Jack is still on duty and solicits a continuance of your contributions in support of his good work for the Orphans.” So reads the plaque in London Jack’s glass display case at the Bluebell Railway museum.

The black retriever has spent almost a century – eight of his living years and a further 83 years as a stuffed corpse – collecting for good causes.

Once famous for patrolling London’s Waterloo station, he was one of a group of celebrity dogs who made thousands of pounds for charity from the mid-Victorian era until the 1950s.

He and others like Brighton Bob, Bruce of Swindon, Chelmsford Brenda, Wimbledon Nell and Oldham’s Rebel mixed with commuters, sometimes boarding trains on their own to encourage more giving by passengers. They barked, “shook hands” and performed tricks for money, their exploits frequently reported in the national and regional press.

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