Remembering Edinburgh's famous canine companion

A special party was thrown today to celebrate the much-loved life of Edinburgh’s most famous pooch.

Pupils laid flowers to the skirl of bagpipes at the grave of loyal terrier Greyfriars Bobby, who died 144 years ago today.

He is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard and his death is commemorated with a special ceremony every year on the anniversary of his death.

Amongst the participants was Greyfriars Bobby look-alike, Bobby the Cairn terrier, sporting a specially-designed coat and badge in honour of her double.

As the one o’clock gun sounded, the time at which Bobby is said to have left his master’s grave each day for a free meal at a nearby café, pupils from George Heriot School laid flowers on the grave. This was followed by ‘Tribute to Greyfriars Bobby’, played on bagpipes by Jennifer Hutcheon.

Abbeyhill Primary School pupils were also in Central Library for a historical story time session about Greyfriars Bobby, joined by Moira and her Skye Terrier Hannah from the Skye Terriers club.

Donald Wilson, Lord Provost, who attended the event, said: "Today’s service was a very fitting tribute to one of Edinburgh’s most famous figures. Greyfriars Bobby truly is a world-famous pet, and his statue and grave are well established parts of the tourist trail.

"Everyone knows and loves the story of his loyalty, and it’s so nice to be part of this special commemoration. Anyone interested in finding out more about Bobby can browse the memorabilia on display just now at the Museum of Edinburgh.”

After the death of Bobby’s owner John Gray, the then Lord Provost, Sir William Chambers, ensured the dog’s freedom by purchasing a license and dog collar, allowing him to roam the graveyard. 

Capturing the hearts of passers-by every day, Bobby’s statue was erected a year after his death in 1872 by the Ladies Committee of the RSPCA, and has since become a landmark for the capital.

The event was supported by local charity The Grassmarket Community Project.

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