Born in 1855, Bobby, better known as Greyfriars Bobby, was a very very good boy and a Skye terrier (With recent news suggesting he was actually a Dandie Dinmont terrier). His story starts with a gardener named John gray and his family moving to the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. Gray couldn’t find work as a gardener and ended up working as a night watchman. To help get through the long nights, Gray got a partner: A faithful little terrier named Bobby.
After three years of working together and becoming well-liked by the locals, Gray sadly passed away from tuberculosis. He was buried at the Greyfriars Kirkyard, a famed church graveyard in Edinburgh. Bobby loved his human so much he refused to leave his grave, no matter what the weather. The groundskeepers first tried to kick him out several times, but eventually gave up and made a small shelter for Bobby.
The story of little Bobby’s big heart spread throughout the city, with crowds often forming at lunchtime to see Bobby leave his graveside post to get his lunch. His food was kindly provided by a local carpenter, whom Bobby would follow to eat at the same cafe his human regularly went to. After years had passed in 1867, a new law was made that dogs needed a licence or they’d be put down. A local administrator called Sir William Chambers paid for his licence and gave him an inscribed collar that’s now displayed at the Museum of Edinburgh.
With help from kind locals, brave Boddy remained by his human’s grave until he passed away in 1872. The community was so moved by Bobby’s story, a statue of him was placed on a fountain near the graveyard. The engraving reads “Greyfriars Bobby – died 14th January 1872 – aged 16 years – Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all”. The statue still stands today, with his nose notably polished from all the pets he still gets!
For another legendary pupper, check out The Story of Mike, The Bartending Dog.