Bum & Greyfriars Bobby

Out & About

Quite often I will drive to downtown San Diego early in the morning, park the car, and just wander around. Although I might look lost, I’m not. I’m just searching for those little things that are not in a tour guide and can’t be found in a Google search unless one knows what to search for.

On one such wandering last December, I found Bum and Greyfriars Bobby.


Greyfriars Bobby
Greyfriars Bobby

According to a plaque, Bum was San Diego’s official town dog. He arrived as a stowaway (although we don’t know whether on a stagecoach or a train), loved everyone, and “bummed” food from the local eateries. Bum lost a foreleg and part of his tail in a scuffle with another dog on the Santa Fe train tracks. Nonetheless, he looked after children, led parades, accompanied the fire brigade, and even greeted President Benjamin Harrison on his official visit to San Diego in 1891. Eventually the City Council awarded Bum a lifetime dog license. When Bum died on November 10, 1898, at the age of 12, children throughout the city collected pennies to provide for him a proper funeral.

Greyfriars Bobby is a Skye terrier from Scotland. The little guy faithfully accompanied John Gray, an Edinburgh policeman, on his daily rounds. When Gray died suddenly, Bobby is said to have slept loyally by his grave for more than 14 years. Bobby died at the age of 16 on January 11, 1872.

You might ask what Greyfriars Bobby is doing in San Diego. Well, I have the answer. Edinburgh, Scotland, is a sister city to San Diego, and in August 1997, on the twentieth anniversary of that sisterhood, the citizens of Edinburgh present San Diego with a replica of the Greyfriars Bobby statue from their city. Shortly thereafter, San Diego gave a replica of Bum to the citizens of Edinburgh. Bum is proudly bumming around at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.

A special bonus if you have a smart phone: hold your smart phone up to each statue’s bar code and the dogs will tell their stories via an actor’s voice.

Bum and Bobby rest in Pocket Park at Fourth Avenue and Island Avenue.

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

This post approved by
This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

8 thoughts on “Bum & Greyfriars Bobby

  1. acflory

    What a lovely bit of local, and not so local, history. I was a kid when I first learned about Greyfriars Bobby and I can remember howling at his devotion and loyalty. -sigh- Also howled over Lassie. People just can’t compete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KDKH

    Have you thought of offering tourist tours or photography tours/outings for the locals? Arrange it as a meet-up for locals or advertise for the tourist business? I’d bet you’d be good at that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. karasartisticaladventures

    I’m often in Edinburgh..and grew up nearby, folk in Edinburgh rub the bronze Bobby’s nose as they walk past for luck, it goes gold, and needs ..I don’t know.. resetting or something every few years! Next time I’m in Edinburgh castle, I shall look out for bum! Here in Swansea we have a famous dog called Swansea Jack, he saved several people from drowning and we have a sort of plaque with his picture on it near the sea front…local people to Swansea are known as Jacks.and the local football supporters are Jacks too..the Jack army….but this might be because of the ..I forget.. the tar or the copper industry..rather than Swansea Jack! But who knows!



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