Greyfriars Bobby; She is in love.

Last August we went to Edinburgh and saw Greyfriars Bobby, the statue. The Princess was so impressed she spent her hard earned holiday money on the cuddly toy who now lives on her bed. I know the story is sad, but I find it so lovely that a story from 150 years ago can still touch a 5 year old today. It also makes me feel sad, because I'm not sure the same thing would ever happen again.

If Auld Jock died now, he would most likely be cremated and his ashes stored somewhere on the off chance that any relatives came to claim him. Bobby would be sent to the dog rescue where, if he did manage to escape from the cage he definitely wouldn't get out the security doors to reach the city mortuary. If he did get there, then his entry would be blocked again by a numerical lock (dogs have trouble operating those; the key pad is usually too high up to reach) and a security guard who works there on the days when he's not a night club bouncer.

Even if Auld Jock had had a burial plot booked with his name on, Bobby would have to be very brave to hang around in a cemetary. There are some pretty frightening things happening in graveyards now and I'm not talking ghosts here. Bobby would have to risk the alsatian guard dogs, the fast trucks carrying more grass and the slow moving hearses (they can be very deceptive) and that's not even accounting for the gangs of dispossessed youths who find a cemetary fun.... or if Auld Jock was Jewish(!) the gangs of stupid and intolerant people who think it's fun to vandalise a place just for being different.

And, finally, the main reason why Bobby's story wouldn't happen today; who would care? Nobody knows their neighbour, let alone the dog (although I realise as I write this that there is a chance you might know the dog's name, but not the owner. It's like me and children; I know their name but who is their mother? No idea; don't care. Very often the child has more sense anyway. Apologies to any dog people who know this to be so; just bear with me) and, moreover, no one would be bothered to feed him. There are no independant pie shops left and the chains could never give out pies 'just because' without the poor pie person losing their position and, love dogs or no, they aren't worth unemployment.

No, I think Greyfriar's Bobby holds a special place in our hearts because we know it just ain't so; that the reason Greyfriar's Bobby has endured so long is that it must have been an exceptional case even then and that, sadly, human nature is not usually as patient with loyalty and devotion. Perhaps we should make sure that we keep his story strong just because it gives us hope; it happened once, it could happen again. Strange as it seems if there is to be a world wide recession, maybe it may just drive us back into cooperation and interdependance. When nobody has anything, we will need to share. At the moment nobody is dependent except if they're on State benefits (nuff said) and everybody has a degree of self interest that we could do without. When we need our neighbour, they will be there just as we should make sure we are there for them. And, if you ever see a little doggie in a graveyard, just feed him, please, before you call the pound.


  1. Ahhh, Greyfriars Bobby. (Or is that Dreyfriars Bobby LOL- can you tell I've just caught up with your blog?) I love that story and have a pic almost just like your first one in our Scotland album. You're so right about how sad that story is in that it wouldn't happen today and how we don't really know our neighbors -- our computers and blogs are fabulous, but they've driven us inside and we don't take the time to get to know each other in person anymore.

  2. I've always loved that story! My Dad told it to me when we were little!

    Also, I've tagged you!

  3. Greyfriars Bobby always makes me cry :'(

  4. I loved the story but found it so sad. Dogs have such a propensity to love their human companions and knowing Auld Jock had died, I could imagine just what Bobby was feeling.

    I'm glad it's still got an impact with children today, it's a great book and more should read it!

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  6. the first time I watched that film I cried ALL the way through, I'm such a cry baby!

  7. Hi, I just discovered you have linked my Sunday Afternoon Drives blog to your site. Thank you for the link and for enjoying my travels.


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