Sunday, July 14, 2013

UK Trip #17: Scotland's Famous Dog: Greyfriar's Bobby

Tom and the statue of "Bobby"
   One of our favorite attractions in Edinburgh, Scotland involved a dog (no surprise there). As we walked up and down the "Royal Mile" we kept seeing postcards with a statue of a little dog and wondered what it was about. So, we asked someone and were directed to a graveyard. 
 
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on January 14, 1872.

THE STORY OF GREYFRIAR'S BOBBY:
The best known version of the story is that Bobby belonged to John Gray, a nightt watchman for the Edinburgh City Police. John Gray died after only having Bobby for 2 years, but the dog had bonded to his master. John Gray was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby, immediately homeless, became known locally, spending the rest of his life sitting on his master's grave where townspeople would feed him. 





"Bobby" and Robby :)
Nearby pub called the "Greyfriar's Bobby"
In 1867, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir William Chambers — who was also a director of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — paid for Bobby's city dog license, and gave the dog a collar which is now in the Museum of Edinburgh.
   Bobby is said to have sat by the grave for 14 years.  Bobby died in 1872  and was buried just inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard, not far from John Gray's grave (because local ordinances didn't allow pets to be buried in the same cemeteries as people. The ordinance said it was because it was "sacred ground" - what a lot of hooey.)



Bobby's tombstone, about 100 feet from his master's

STATUE TO GREYFRIAR'S BOBBY
A life-sized statue of Greyfriars Bobby was created by William Brodie in 1872. This was paid for by a local aristocrat, Baroness Burdett-Coutts and unveiled on November 15, 1873. It stands near the south (main) entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard, at the southern end of the George IV Bridge. The monument is Edinburgh's smallest listed building! 


A plaque on the statue reads "A TRIBUTE TO THE AFFECTIONATE FIDELITY OF GREYFRIAR'S BOBBY. IN 1858, THIS FAITHFUL DOG FOLLOWED THE REMAINS OF HIS MASTER TO GREYFRIAR'S CHURCHYARD AND LINGERED NEAR THE SPOT UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1872 WITH PERMISSION, ERECTED BY THE BARONESS BURDETT- COUTTS" and on the statue is written "GREYFRIAR'S BOBBY, FROM THE LIFE JUST BEFORE HIS DEATH" and "W.H. Brodie Sc RSA 1872


tombstone of John Gray, Bobby's master

Although we didn't know it at the time, several books and films have since been based on Bobby's life, including the novel Greyfriar's Bobby (1912) by Eleanor Atkinson and the films Greyfriars Bobby (1961) and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006).

That's one dog we'll remember for a long time, just like the people of Edinburgh have. 

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next