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On this day in history in 1872, died Greyfriars Bobby.
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye terrier who kept a vigil by his master’s grave for nine continuous years until his death.
Booby was the companion of John Gray, a policeman in Edinburgh, and would accompany his master on his daily beat, until Gray died of tuberculosis in 1858. At the funeral, Bobby led the procession of mourners but, after the interment, refused to leave the grave. Bobby spent the rest of his life at or around the grave.
Bobby kept a constant guard at the grave, interrupted only for lunch, which was given to him by the genial proprietor of Triall’s Dining Rooms, a nearby hostelry. Bobby would leave the grave at the sound of the one o’clock canon-shot, at Edinburgh Castle, and return promptly having finished his repast. He slept on sacking, placed under a tablestone near Gray’s grave. Bobby attracted crowds of visitors who were overwhelmed at the sight of such a devoted creature.
In 1867, Bobby was seized by an overzealous official, as a homeless dog without a licence. The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir William Chambers, who was a director of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, paid for Bobby’s licence and made him the responsibility of the city council, with a brass plated collar, inscribed with his name.
Bobby died on 14th January 1872, and was buried inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard, [1 Greyfriars Place, Edinburgh EH1 2QQ], not far from Gray's grave. When Baroness Burdett-Coutts heard of Bobby’s death, she commissioned a statue, which now stands outside the Greyfriars Bobby pub, opposite Greyfriars Kirk. At Huntly House Museum [142-146 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DD] are preserved Bobby’s collar and dining dish.Click here for other venerable British animals.
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