THE LEGEND OF GRAYFRIAR'S BOBBY

Many years ago, there lived a special dog, a Kyleakin Skye Terrier named Bobby, who was the embodiment of devotion and undying love. His best friend and master, John Grey, was a policeman in Edinburgh, Scotland, with whom Bobby would walk his rounds every day. The two were inseparable and familiar figures in Edinburgh.

When John died in 1858, he was buried at the Grayfriar's churchyard. His faithful dog Bobby followed the funeral procession and then lingered at John's gravesite, choosing to remain at his master's side to watch over him. The town's efforts to provide him with a new and permanent home proved to be futile, as Bobby would sit day and night, through all the seasons, guarding his beloved master's grave. A man named James Brown, who was the caretaker for the Grayfriar's cemetery at the time, bent the rules and allowed Bobby to stay. Furthermore, when the weather got bad, he would coax him inside to warm up at the fireplace.

As the years went by, Bobby began to leave his master's side on a daily basis to walk with another policeman, a Sergeant Scott. This Sergeant trained him to respond to the town's cannon that was fired once a day at exactly 1pm, so that the town knew the correct time and more importantly, Bobby would know it was lunchtime. He would then head over to Trail's Coffee House where he was fed daily by John Trail. The coffee house is still there to this day, only now it is known as Grayfriar's Bobby Pub in honor of it's most loyal patron.

In 1867, Bobby's life of freedom was almost ended because of a new law that stated all dogs must have a license. The purpose of this new law was to get rid of all the stray dogs, which were viewed as a pestilence. Bobby's future looked grim until William Chambers of the Scottish Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who was also the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, stepped in and paid for the license. The Lord Provost granted Bobby a special collar with a permanent, lifetime license, engraved with the words "Grayfriar's Bobby from Lord Provost, 1867 License", so that he could continue his daily rounds and vigilant watch over his friend and master.

Bobby went to join John on January 14, 1872 at the ripe age of 16 and was buried just outside the cemetery where his master lies. In 1873, the Baroness Burdett-Couttes immortalized Bobby with a statue erected outside the gate of the Grayfriar's churchyard where he spent his life. This memorial was designed as a fountain with cups for people and a lower trough for dogs to drink out of, thus uniting dogs and humans. The Dog Aid Society also erected a stone memorial on Bobby's presumed burial site. As the years have passed, several books, articles and even movies have been made about this remarkable dog and his touching story. Bobby's memorials have become a favorite spot, a reminder to visitors from around the world and all walks of life, of the devotion and love of one small dog. There is an inscription on the stone memorial that expresses best why this one little dog is loved and admired so much. It simply reads, "Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all".

 

A little about the Kyleakin Skye Terrier:

The Skye terrier was originally used for bolting foxes, wild cats and otters, with the long coat developed to withstand the harsh climate prevalent on the island of Skye. After hearing the story of Grayfriar's Bobby, Queen Victoria became a keen admirer and proud exhibitor of Skye terriers. The Skye is a one-man dog and will usually bond with one particular person in the family. Renowned for their great loyalty, they have few rivals as a companion. The Skye generally has a peaceful disposition, but will not shirk an encounter and if provoked, will take on even the largest foe.

 

 

 
   
 
Copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Pam Lauritzen & Company, All Rights Reserved
Promoting Education and Higher Standards in the Pet Styling Industry
Last Update: August 23, 2004