A dog has picked up a collection of more than 100 tennis balls thanks to his remarkable ability to sniff them out from 20ft away.
Bertie, a six-year-old golden retriever, has found hundreds of lost balls over the last three years after developing a nose for their rubbery smell.
He has accumulated two black bags’ worth and emptied swathes of Ashdown Forest in Sussex, the inspiration behind Hundred Acre Wood.
Owner Michael Carden, 72, from Crowborough, West Sussex, said: “Since I’ve retired I like nothing better than a long walk in the Ashdown Forest with Bertie.”
“Being a retriever he frequently brings me his ‘finds’, which are usually lost balls.
“I would say the collection has gradually been building up for about three years.
“It started in a small way, and gradually Bertie got into the swing of it and was finding about three balls a week in Ashdown Forest.”
“It is a huge area, so eventually we would empty a certain space and then move else elsewhere where Bertie would start finding them again.
“They are not always tennis balls that he finds – sometimes it is rubber balls. I find it really amusing and strange.
“I used to do a lot of gundog training, but in certain areas of the forest you know Bertie will invariably pick up a ball.”
He added: “We keep the balls in two great big bags in the front porch, where we are waiting for him to hit the 200 mark.
“I can imagine when the ferns start to collapse in the forest there are balls that are thrown in there and not found again – until Bertie comes across them.
“I’ve never had a dog that can smell a ball from 20 feet away.
“We see people throwing balls all around the forest while people are walking their dogs and they clearly can’t find them.
“People collect litter, and Bertie collects balls.”