Barking up the right tree.

We are proud to say that the winning dog at this year’s Crufts was Scottish!  Jet, a flatcoated retriever and winner of the Best Gundog Category, beat 21,000 other dogs to get the prestigious title of Best in Show at the National Championships as the show celebrated its 120th anniversary.  Jim Irvine, Jet’s breeder who is based in South Queensferry, Edinburgh, was understandably delighted by Jet’s win.  A Kennel Club representative stated that it was clear that Jet and Jim had a great relationship and that this contributed towards Jet’s success, then going on to say that Crufts celebrates “the special and unique bond between dogs and their owners.”

The mention of a “special and unique bond” between man and dog reminded me of another celebrated relationship between a Scotsman and his four-legged friend. It’s a story that still sends a shiver down my spine when I hear it, a story of a bond so strong that even death could not sever it.

John Gray was a gardener who moved to Edinburgh around 1850 when work was hard to come by.  Unable to find employment in his chosen field, John joined the police force as a night watchman thus avoiding the workhouse.  They were long lonely nights trudging through the street of Edinburgh, especially in the winter months when the colder, wetter weather would further add to John’s feelings of solitude.  John decided to find a partner to join him on his lonely rounds, and ‘Bobby’ a wee Skye Terrier was soon by his side each night.  John and Bobby went everywhere together, watchman and ‘watchdog’, loyal and faithful friends.

 John’s health began to fail him, possibly a consequence of so many nights patrolling the street and on a number of occasions he had to be treated for tuberculosis by the police surgeon.  In February 1958 John Grey died due to the disease that had plagued him, and he was buried in the town’s Greyfriars Kirkyard. 

 Bobby, still faithful to his beloved master, stayed by the grave after John was buried, refusing to leave the graveside even in the most horrible of weather.  Numerous times Bobby was evicted from the kirkyard by the keeper of the grounds, but each time Bobby returned to be close to his master.  Eventually the groundskeeper gave up ejecting Bobby, instead putting a piece of sacking in between two flat, table stones to provide shelter for Bobby beside his master’s grave. 

 Soon the dog and his remarkable behavior became renowned in the local area and people would gather at the gates to the kirkyard on a daily basis to see Bobby.  Each day, at the sound of the one o’clock gun, Bobby would leave the graveside for his lunch, with one thing guaranteed, after his meal he would return to the side of his best friend John.

Bobby kept watch over his master’s grave for 14 years before his own death in 1872.

The amazing loyalty and faithfulness demonstrated by ‘Greyfriars Bobby’, as the wee terrier came to be known, demonstrates just how strong a dogs bond with its owner can be.  The unconditional love a dog gives can give such comfort and joy to its human companion; I know this from when I had my own canine comrade Sully the Pomeranian.

Always pleased to see me, Sully would go with me almost everywhere – but fitting in my handbag made traveling with him easy!  For those of you who have larger dogs, or more than one furry pal, going on holiday can be hard if you to have to leave them behind.  So, if you’re looking for a holiday or short break where your loyal mutt can join you and avoid the loneliness of a stay at the kennels, Unique Cottages has a wide range of pet friendly properties where both of you will be welcomed!

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