LEGEND OF GRAYFRIAR'S BOBBY
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
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.
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".
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.