The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973



Greyfriars Bobby

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 master's grave.

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 is buried).

*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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