The Fellowship of Life
The following article is reprinted from the Christians Against All Animal Abuse newsletter for Spring 2000
In 1858, a man named John Gray (Auld Jock) was buried in old
Greyfriars Kirkyard. His grave levelled by the hand of time, and
unmarked by any stone, became scarcely discernible (a stone was erected
by American lovers of Bobby).
But, although no human interest seemed attached to the grave, the
sacred spot was not wholly disregarded and forgotten. For fourteen years
the dead man's faithful dog kept constant watch and guard over the grave
until his own death in 1872.
James Brown, the old curator of the burial ground, remembered Gray's
funeral, and the dog, a Skye terrier called Bobby, was, he said, one of
the most conspicuous of the mourners. The grave was closed in as usual,
and next morning Bobby was found, lying on the newly-made mound.
This was an innovation which old James could not permit, for there
was an order at the gate stating in the most intelligible characters
that dogs were not admitted. Bobby was accordingly driven out; but next
morning he was there again, and for the second time was moved. The third
morning was cold and wet, and when the old man saw the faithful animal,
in spite of all chastisement, still lying shivering on the grave, he
took pity on him, and gave him some food. This recognition of his
devotion gave Bobby the right to make the kirkyard his home; and from
that time until his own death he never spent a night away from his
Often in bad weather attempts were made to keep him within doors, but
by dismal howls he succeeded in making it known that this interference
was not agreeable to him, and he was always allowed to have his way. At
almost any time during the day he could be seen in or about the kirkyard,
and no matter how rough the night, nothing could induce him to forsake
that hallowed spot, whose identity he so faithfully preserved.
That, however, concludes this summary of the life of Greyfriars'
Bobby, a life which was later commemorated by the erection of the statue
and fountain by Baroness Burdet Coutts. The figure which was unveiled,
without any ceremony, on 15th November 1873.
A memorial stone was erected on 13th May 1981, by the Dog Aid Society
of Scotland, unveiled by HRH Duke of Gloucester (on the site where Bobby
*A footnote from newsletter Editor James Thompson spoke of: The spot
in Edinburgh where I knelt and understood my true future vocation.
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