USEFUL PETS: Pegasus, winged horse (kicked a hole in a mountain and created the Hippocrene spring which inspired the Muses); Cerberus, good guard dog unless bribed; geese who saved Rome by cackling when Gauls attacked in 390BC; goose that laid golden eggs; Whittington's cat (helped Dick become Lord Mayor of London); Simon, Royal Navy cat who carried on rat-killing duties though wounded by shell in 1949 Yangtze River incident, plus 31 pigeons, 18 dogs and 3 horses who also received Dickin medals for war-time bravery; Pickles, dog who sniffed out stolen World Cup in time for England to win it in 1966; Solo the Alsatian, who found Jacqueline Greaves, missing in the Cairngorms.

DUMB FRIENDS: Greyfriars Bobby, watched over master's grave in Edinburgh for 20 years (1852- 72); Bill Sikes's bull terrier in Oliver Twist led lynch mob to him after he'd murdered Nancy; Sir Isaac Newton's dog Diamond, upset a candle and destroyed records of years of experiments.