Tributes paid to ‘truly loyal’ dog Greyfriars Bobby 150 years after his death

A ceremony was held by the Skye terrier’s grave in Edinburgh on Friday.

Dan Barker
Friday 14 January 2022 15:25
Piper Jennifer Hutcheon plays as pupils Arthur Rudd and Imogen Piper lay flowers at the graveside (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Piper Jennifer Hutcheon plays as pupils Arthur Rudd and Imogen Piper lay flowers at the graveside (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He was one of Scotland’s most faithful companions and on Friday tributes were paid to Greyfriars Bobby, the dog who would not leave his master’s side even after death.

At the sound of Edinburgh’s one o’clock gun, the legend of Bobby was remembered at his grave in the city’s Greyfriars Kirkyard, 150 years after the loyal dog died.

Seven-year-olds Imogen Piper and Arthur Rudd, from nearby George Heriot’s School, laid a posy in memory of Bobby as piper Jennifer Hutcheon, 72, played a specially written tribute to him.

Piper Jennifer Hutcheon played a tribute to Greyfriars Bobby (Andrew Milligan/PA)

In the flowers laid by the primary three pupils, on behalf of the Dogs Trust charity, the 16-year-old Skye terrier was described as a “truly loyal companion and a great ambassador for Edinburgh”.

The legend of Greyfriars Bobby is that he belonged to night-watchman John Gray, who took on the dog to keep him company through the long nights.

But Mr Gray contracted tuberculosis, and died of the disease on February 15, 1858.

Bobby refused to leave his owner’s side, and until his own death on January 14, 1872 he would stay by Mr Gray’s graveside, even in the most treacherous weather conditions.

Alastair Morrison, head of George Heriot’s Junior School, said Greyfriars Bobby continues to play a “significant and meaningful part” in the culture of Edinburgh

“You rarely go past the statue here without a throng of tourists from all sorts of different parts of the world, and quite right too,” he said.

“Greyfriars Bobby epitomised loyalty, dedication, and there’s no surprise that dogs are of course man’s best friend.”

Pupils from George Heriot’s School joined the ceremony to mark 150th anniversary of the death of Greyfriars Bobby (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Jack Johnstone, from the Dogs Trust, said Bobby “symbolises everything that dogs can bring to the lives of humans, not only as pets but members of our family”.

Greyfriars Kirk first opened its doors on Christmas Day in 1620, and last year celebrated its 400th anniversary.

There are many notable people buried in the kirkyard, including James Hutton, considered the father of modern geology, and William McGonagall, famous for being considered the “worst poet” in history.

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