Have you heard the story about Greyfriars Bobby?

Greyfriars bobby

By Michael Reeve | GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Wikimedia Commons

On 15th February 1858, in the city of Edinburgh, a man named John Gray (better known as Auld Jock) died of tuberculosis.  He was buried in old Greyfriars Churchyard. John had worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a night watchman for many years.

He had a dog called Bobby, a small Skye Terrier, and they were virtually inseparable.  Bobby even led his master’s funeral procession to the grave at Greyfriars Cemetery, and later, when he tried to stay at the graveside, he was sent away by the caretaker.

But the little dog kept coming back and would not leave, whatever the weather conditions. Bobby refused to be enticed away from the grave and because of his loyalty and devotion, he touched the hearts of the local people.

Although dogs were not really allowed in the graveyard, because of Bobby’s devotion, everyone got together and helped to build a shelter for him. He stayed there for the rest of his life, for 14 years, guarding his master. He died on January 14th 1872, aged 16.

He left only for food. At 1.00 clock when he heard the gun salute from Edinburgh Castle, Bobby would leave his post, and run to the eating house where he used to go with Auld Jock. But once he had eaten, he always returned to Jock’s grave.

News of Bobby’s loyalty soon spread, and people would travel far and wide just to see him. Crowds would gather for the firing of the gun, to see Bobby run for his midday meal.

Bobby’s grave is in the same place, just 75 yards from his master’s grave. He has a red granite headstone, which was unveiled by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Gloucester CCVO, in 1981

The inscription reads :

“Greyfriars Bobby – died 14th January 1872 – aged 16 years
Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all”

There has been many films and videos made about this remarkable story, including a Disney movie. It has touched the hearts of many people.

The statue of Bobby, beside the pub named “Bobby’s Bar” is a popular tourist attraction, with visitors from all over the world coming to Greyfriars to learn about him. Edinburgh is a wonderful place, so rich in culture and history, but nothing touches the heart like the loyalty and devotion of this lovely little Skye Terrier.

About the Author: Carole Langman works behind the scenes at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs as the Business Manager. Her office is always a hive of activity, and with the vast amounts of work Carole has, we never really know how she gets through it all! To unwind, she loves gardening, hikes around Bowerland, travelling and writing.

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