Bob the Wonder Dog

NEWS FLASH [May 2024]

Very rare footage procured from NFSA of Bob performing in 1926 has been appended to the original video below.

Bob was a black and tan Kelpie sheep dog.

While still a young pup he became the pet and constant companion of Albert Ide, a blacksmith and general tradesman of Grange. Bob was beside Albert every day.

Early in his life Bob began performing at the Henley carnivals and after 10 years had a repertoire of 30 tricks which when performed lasted for 45 minutes. He would jump, do balance tricks, retrieve and collect items. Albert would often put several articles together, walk away and tell Bob to go back to collect one particular item – and Bob never made a mistake!

Albert never charged for these performances, but collection bags were passed around amongst the spectators and over a period of 10 years a total over £600 was collected which was used to provide playgrounds on the Henley and Grange beaches. These funds were substantial for this ten-year period spanned the Great Depression when, for example, a school teacher was paid only £10 a week.

Bob became more than just a pet, a dog, an animal. Not only his owner, but the community treated him as one of the family. When he died aged 11 and a half years in 1936 the community recognized its loss. Bob was buried in a metal coffin in the back garden where he lived.

Albert forwarded formal notice of Bob’s death for publication in ‘The Advertiser’ newspaper but was informed that only ‘human’ deaths could be published and his cheque for 5 shillings was returned.

Lorna Worrall, Albert’s daughter, reminiscenes about Bob with George Willoughby from the H&GHS c. 1990. (2m 43s)

Image credit: Henley & Grange Historical Society


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