Obit of the Day (Historical): Greyfriars Bobby (1872)
In 1854, John Gray, a night watchman for the Edinburgh City Police passed away. He was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Standing guard was Mr. Gray’s Skye terrier, Bobby, who would remain by his master’s grave for the next fourteen years.
Bobby, or Greyfriars Bobby, became an Edinburgh legend. His license was paid for by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and a local pub, would feed the small dog.
Greyfriars Bobby died on January 14, 1872 and was buried near his former master. The dog was rumored to be sixteen years old.
Every year, at 12:30 local time, a memorial is held for Bobby at his gravestone in Greyfriars Kirkyard. There is a monument to Bobby, as well, which is designated as the smaller building in all of Edinburgh. (It was originally a fountain for humans and dogs but health scares forced the shut off of the water in 1975.)
There are some who doubt Bobby’s story. Several historians document a history of stray dogs who simply wandered cemeteries and were fed by locals and appeared to be connected with one particular grave. Others believe that Bobby actually died years before and was replaced by a second terrier.
But since there is no evidence to completely refute the original story, people have honored the faithful dog for over 140 years.
Sources: Wikipedia and The Edinburgh Reporter
(Image, supposedly of Greyfriars Bobby, circa 1865 is courtesy of wikimedia.org)
I visited Greyfriars Bobby’s grave during a visit to Edinburgh in December 2013. I also dined at the pub named after him, which is right next to the churchyard in which he and his master are buried, and there’s a Victorian fountain in front of the pub with a little sculpture of Bobby and a memorial plaque. This dear, loyal dog’s memory is still very much alive in beautiful Edinburgh.