Rory Cellan-Jones' beloved dog who went viral last year dies aged 14

Rory Cellan-Jones and Cabbage
Journalist Rory Cellan-Jones’ dog Cabbage has died (Pictures: Twitter/ruskin147)
A former BBC journalist’s dog who went viral when she was stolen but recovered hours later thanks to a Twitter campaign for sightings has died aged 14. Cabbage, the collie cross of ex BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, trended on Twitter in mid-November when she and five other dogs were taken in a dog walker’s van in Acton, west London .

The 63-year-old, who quit his role at the broadcaster after 40 years in August 2021, thanked his 198,000 Twitter followers when all six dogs were found safely the same day.

On hot summer days, walk your dogs before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. — or walk them only in shady or grassy/dirt areas.

He has now shared the sad news that his family have ‘had to say goodbye’ to ‘lovely, energetic’ Cabbage.

‘For 14 years she was a lovely, energetic and really smart member of our family,’ he wrote on Twitter.

‘It was time for her to go but we miss her so much.’

We have some very sad news. We’ve had to say goodbye to our much loved Collie cross Cabbage. For 14 years she was a lovely , energetic and really smart member of our family. It was time for her to go but we miss her so much. pic.twitter.com/ZDY9XgdFHO— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147)
British journalist Rory Cellan-Jones (centre) at the 2013 T3 Gadget Awards
Rory was a fixture at the BBC as a tech specialist for 40 years (Picture: Will Ireland/T3 Magazine/Future via Getty Images)
Cabbage already had an online following before she was stolen as Rory regularly documented their early morning walks with pictures posted to his feed.

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On Friday morning he shared a final picture, writing: ‘Home after a gentle stroll.’

He thanked his followers for their support, adding that the park on his daily walk this morning ‘felt empty’.

BBC Breakfast host and Strictly Come Dancing star Dan Walker and broadcaster Sophie Raworth offered their condolences.

Home after a gentle stroll pic.twitter.com/pnN6tNmuZv

— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147)

For me and Cabbage an early walk was an essential part of our daily routine, good for our mental and physical health. This morning I went out as normal but the park seemed very empty. Thanks so much for all your kind messages pic.twitter.com/jE6ZUISzrz

— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147)

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‘So sorry to hear that Rory,’ Dan replied, while Sophie said she ‘loved Cabbage’s adventures’. Radio presenter Simon Mayo also offered sympathy, adding: ‘I loved your daily walk photos.’ Cabbage’s plight went viral last year after her dog walker left his van’s engine running with the key in the ignition in west London and it was stolen. Presenter Rory quickly appealed to users online for any sightings, garnering thousands of likes and retweets.
Rory Cellan-Jones and Cabbage
Rory wih his beloved Cabbage (Picture: Instagram/rorycellan)

‘Something terrible has happened,’ he wrote at the time.

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‘Our dog walker’s van with our dog Cabbage in it has been stolen while he was picking up another pet… Please look out for a black Ford Transit.’

‘This was (an) extraordinary outpouring of concern… Social media has lots of negative sides, but you can use it for really good purposes,’ he told the PA news agency at the time.

After hearing the story, Ford’s press office got in touch to alert the dog walker that the van had a feature which enabled drivers to track the vehicle through an app.

Morning all – for much of yesterday we thought there’d be no more morning walk photos. So grateful to all those who helped bring #cabbage home pic.twitter.com/ZDv4uTcNoU

— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147)

Here’s looking at you. Dogs have three eyelids, an upper lid, a lower lid and the third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” which helps keep the eye moist and protected.

‘Ford would not have known about this before the age of social media,’ Rory said.

The van was located in Park Royal, around a mile-and-a-half from where four of the dogs were soon found, with the other two located the same evening.

More than 60,000 Twitter users celebrated Cabbage’s safe return by liking the journalist and author’s celebratory tweet and photo of his dog back home.

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