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The 13-year-old rescue border collie loves to fetch the litter for owners David Grant and Yvonne Faulkner-Grant to recycle on their daily walks around Nuneaton. Yvonne realised her pup had a passion for picking up plastic shortly after collecting Scruff from Wales in 2010 – instead of herding sheep he rounds up litter.
He made a beeline for plastic bottles they came across in fields, parks and streets near their Warwickshire home.
Yvonne, 47, said: “He would see a bottle that somebody had tossed out and he’d go pick it up, play with it, then drop it and leave it at our feet.
“We’d praise him, and he’d go look for another one, but we started to feel bad about leaving the bottles.” David, 48, added: “Even though they weren’t ours to begin with, we thought of it as littering.”
They began taking a sack along on their jaunts – and last year Scruff removed 1,334 plastic bottles from the area.
Withing minutes of the Daily Express taking Scruff out on a test plastic patrol he had sniffed out Fanta and Vimto bottles.
His skill has brought him thousands of online followers via #Scruffsbottlepatrol.
Yvonne said: “He really is a celebrity now. He has been featured in numerous newspapers across the world [and] on TV in Dallas in America.
It’s funny because Scruff has only been recognised once over here in Nuneaton when walking past a shop down the road.”
David added: “People have said he should be working for the council, and everybody loves it when they see him with a bottle in his mouth in the street.”
There is no sign of Scruff running out of bottles to recycle in 2023.
Yvonne said: “It’s heartbreaking but we love this area so much, and we really want to do our best to keep it clean.”
David hopes Scruff will inspire other owners to use their dogs to help clear up – and will remind litter dumpers to stop.
He said: “It’s sad there are so many bottles for Scruff to find.
“It’s very quiet around here…yet there is so much rubbish.
“We’re glad that Scruff enjoys picking them up and can help set an example of how to care for the planet. If a dog can do it, anyone can.”
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