updated 01/21/2011 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/24/2011 AT 7:45 AM ET
What’s a dog to do with 18,000 golf balls?
Sell them, of course.
Tilly-Miss, a 5-year-old Jack Russell terrier in England, has vending machines in pubs, clubs, golf courses and garages all over Europe. They are full of the bags upon bags of Titleists, Callaways, Top-Flites and Srixons that Tilly has been picking up since she was a 3-month-old puppy.
Naturally, the dog also has a website, and a blog written by her owner, Gary Carr. “Lots of Nike and Callaway balls retrieved today, adding to the huge selection we have in stock,” Carr wrote on Jan. 20. “At this rate, come the start of the golfing campaign, we will have more than enough to last through the season.”
Carr, a former truck driver, lives in the Berkshire area of England, where there are 15 golf courses within a 10-mile radius. So, there are lost golf balls everywhere – in the woodlands, in the bridleways, in the fields. Tilly’s gift is that she not only loves picking up golf balls, but she also she can carry them in her mouth without damaging the surface. This makes them reusable – after a good washing, of course.
“What we are doing is recycling golf balls,” Carr tells PEOPLEPets.com. “We clean them, we check them, and they go back into the market. This hasn’t been done before. With the planet, we’re doing our little bit.”
To keep up with the demand, Carr and Tilly are walking through the woods for two hours a day, seven days a week (And it’s a lot of exercise –Carr has lost 40 pounds since he started his golf ball business with Tilly).
“Believe you me, it’s a lot of hard work and effort to sustain, just walking around and picking up the balls,” Carr says. “Then when it comes to selling the balls, the whole of the washing has to be completed, then they have to be wrapped. There’s not enough hours in the day, really.”
While it’s challenging for Carr, his dog is having – well, a ball. She waits by his feet every morning, ready to go for her walk, and when she can’t go out, she gets upset. “She’s got a fantastic personality,” Carr says. “She is so good. When she finds a ball, we have a ritual where she starts jumping around and dancing and she’s chasing it, and then she’ll bring it back to me.”
In the cold English winter, there aren’t as many golfers out on the courses, but they still manage to collect upwards of 30 balls a day. On warm summer days, Tilly brings back up to 100 golf balls. This means there are balls in every corner of Carr’s house – “pink ones, black ones, white ones, orange ones,” he says. “Every cupboard in the house, there’s a golf ball. Maybe a dozen. Which causes a great deal of agony for my wife. I’m always in trouble.”
Read about other talented animals on PEOPLEPets.com:
Border Collie’s ‘Vocabulary’ Includes 1,022 Toy Names
Re-purr-ters Create First-Ever Movie Filmed by Cats