The Loyalty of Greyfriars Bobby

In 1858, a man named John Gray was buried in old Greyfriars Churchyard [in Edinburgh, Scotland]. His grave leveled by the hand of time, and unmarked by any stone, became scarcely discernible; but, although no human interest seemed to attach to it. 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, remembers Gray’s funeral, and the dog, a Skye terrier called “Bobby”, was, he says, 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 discharged. 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 [and loyalty] gave “Bobby” the right to make the churchyard his home; and from that time until his own death he never spent a night away from his master’s tomb.

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 churchyard, and no matter how rough the night, nothing could induce him to forsake that hallowed spot, whose identity he so faithfully preserved.