Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson made the real dog famous internationally. It told the story of a dog who belonged to a policeman, John Gray. When Gray died, the dog is said to have spend the remains of his life sitting on his master’s grave.
The reality was that, although Bobby was probably a stray dog who had made his home in the relative peace and shelter of Greyfriars Kirkyard, finding himself well fed by passersby, the idea of the devoted dog caught the imagination of Edinburgh residents, who took to regularly visiting the graveyard to feed him. The dog took advantage of people’s friendliness to visit local restaurants, whose owners found the amount of customers they had increasing dramatically when it became known that Bobby ate there. So Bobby became an asset to local business, and a fat, happy one at that.
Recent findings suggest the dog was replaced when he died with an identical terrier, to keep the visitor attraction open for business.
It is Edinburgh’s most popular statue, and its nose has been rubbed shiny by visitors. Since the statue is classified as an A listed building by the City of Edinburgh Council, they find this habit maddening. Bobby’s nose is regularly repaired, but it is loved too much to stay black for long.