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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Bobby was a shaggy little Skye terrier who was owned by a Midlothian farmer who was known as Auld Jock. Bobby used to accompany Auld Jock to market in Edinburgh each Wednesday. Auld Jock and Bobby would regularly have some refreshments in a small restaurant owned by John Traill in Greyfriers, arriving at one o'clock when the gun at the Castle went off to announce the time. The eating- place had a cosy little corner where Auld Jock and Bobby could partake of some warm food and where Bobby could curl up between the boots of his beloved master and have a sleep.

On one such visit to the market, Auld Jock died and was buried in the Greyfriers churchyard. Bobby, being totally devoted to his master refused to leave him and after he was buried in the churchyard, found a way in and lay on his master's grave. Dogs were not allowed in Greyfriers churchyard and the caretaker strictly upheld the rules. Bobby was soon rooted out and sent packing.

Three days after the funeral, as the time gun sounded one o'clock, Bobby who had been wandering the streets, now hungry and unkempt, arrived at the restaurant in the time honoured way. The sound of the one o'clock gun had reminded him of an old routine he had been used to. Taking pity on the little dog, the owner gave him a bun. Trying to coax the little dog to stay in the warm, Traill gave Bobby a place by the fire and the offer of a home. Bobby ran off but returned the next day at the same time. This happened every day. After a while Traill decided to follow Bobby and see where he went. To his surprise he found that Bobby went back to his owner's grave, somehow he had found a way into the churchyard to be with Auld Jock and sleep on his grave. Bobby had been living there since Auld Jock's death.

Bobby began to be a celebrity in Greyfriers. People would recognise him and take time to speak to him. At the back of the churchyard was an old building that had been a hospital but in Bobby's day had been turned into a children's home. Bobby became a favourite with them and they kept an eye on him and Bobby in turn, became fond of them. Bobby became an important part of the children's lives because he played with them every day. Each night they would call out to him from the windows of the home that overlooked the churchyard, 'a good night to you Bobby' before they retired to bed. He became especially close to a little crippled boy named Tammy. Although the caretaker of Greyfriers tried to exclude Bobby from the graveyard, he failed. Thinking he would get the law on his side, the caretaker went to the magistrate to have Bobby dealt with like a homeless dog and removed. John Traill went to court to explain that he fed Bobby daily and that he lived on his master's grave. The orphaned children from the home went to the magistrate to plead for Bobby as well. After lengthy argument, Bobby was granted freedom of the city and was allowed to continue living in the churchyard.

In time a little shelter was erected so he had some shelter from bad weather. Even through all the bad winter weather, Bobby refuse to take shelter in anyone's home. The caretaker offered a warm fire and bed regularly, only to be refused. Bobby and the caretaker had become friends. The gate of the churchyard was left off the latch so Bobby could always get back in and by his master's grave. Auld Jock had died in1858; Bobby lived by his master's grave until he died in1872. He had stayed with his master for fourteen years. By the time Bobby died, he was famous and well loved by the community. He is also buried in Greyfriars churchyard near his beloved master. His grave and little statue can still be seen in Greyfriers.

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