Leading Article: A dogged hero

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The Independent Culture
CONGRATULATIONS TO Egg. The nine-year-old cocker spaniel has just retired after a magnificent career sniffing out drugs. He is reckoned to have discovered pounds 26 million worth of drugs in the past six years - including 360kg of cocaine in a single haul.

Of course, retrieving narcotics hasn't always been fun for Egg (so called because he arrived at Battersea Dogs Home at Easter). His was a dangerous job. He had to have his stomach pumped out when he inhaled heroin from a burst bin-liner. Brave stuff. True, Egg is not the first or the most novel of canine heroes. During the Communist era, a Stasi Alsatian was decorated, stuffed and placed in a Czech museum for its role in preventing dozens of people from escaping to freedom.

But Egg was a democratic hero, and one of the greatest canines of our era, up there with Lassie and Shep. So why was he not invited to the gathering of the supposed great and good at the Lord Mayor of London's millennium lunch? This would have been a fitting reward for his energy, determination and dedication. Perhaps not at the top table, but surely space could have been found underneath to ladle a dollop of Winalot and a tasty beef marrowbone into a bowl. After all, his was a record not to be sniffed at.