One of the most famous statues in Edinburgh isn’t of a famous politician, author or poet; it’s of a wee dog called Bobby.
Greyfriars Bobby, as he is known, was a Skye Terrier who supposedly sat by his master’s grave for 14 years until he died himself on the 14th of January 1872.
According to the story, Bobby was owned by John Gray who worked as a night watchman for the Edinburgh City Police. When he died, John Gray was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, a cemetery in the grounds of Greyfriars Kirk, in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby became well known locally for sitting by the grave in Greyfriars, and was subsequently given the nickname ‘Greyfriars Bobby’. When Bobby eventually died, he was also buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, just inside the gates and close to John Gray’s grave.
After his death, a life-size statue was created by William Brodie and erected a year later in November 1873 by Lady Burdett-Coutts. The statue stands at the southern end of the George IV bridge near to a main entrance to the Greyfriars Kirkyard.
The statue was originally built as a drinking fountain, with an upper part for human use and a lower part for dogs. The water supply was cut off in 1975, but the statue still stands today as a memorial to John Gray’s faithful friend.
In 1981 a red granite headstone was erected above Bobby’s grave by The Dog Aid Society of Scotland. Many people have put dog toys, flowers and sticks the headstone for Bobby to ‘fetch’.