Tag Archives: Bum San Diego Official Town Dog

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.

Bum
Bum

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

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San Diego Historical Landmarks—#9: The Davis-Horton House (part 2)

San Diego Historical Landmarks

I made it to the Gaslamp Museum this morning for a tour of the interior of the Davis-Horton House (see The Davis-Horton House).

There is a small park next to the Museum, and you have to go through the park to get to the Museum. The park opened about 30 minutes earlier than the Museum.

I walked around the park and found some fascinating information about “The Brother Dogs Project” a “tail” of two cities and two dogs—Greyfriars Bobby, the official dog of Edinburgh, Scotland, and San Diego’s Official Town Dog, Bum.

The Brother Dogs Project, San Diego California

The Brother Dogs Project, San Diego California

The Brother Dogs Project, San Diego California

Location of Heath-Davis House

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier which became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until his own death on January 14, 1872.

Interestingly, Greyfriars Bobby has a Wikipedia entry: Greyfriars Bobby.

Greyfriars Bobby of Edinburgh, Scotland

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sadly, Bum does not have a Wikipedia entry, so I have to rely on the plaque in the park:

BUM
San Diego’s Official Town Dog
Died November 10, 1898 – Aged 12 years
Loved by everyone – owned by no one. His name suited him
because he arrived as a stowaway, befriended everyone and
“bummed” quality food from the local eateries. As a young
dog he survived a scuffle with another dog on the Santa Fe
train tracks. Though he lost a foreleg and part of his tail,
his spirit was unbroken. He guarded the children, led the
parades and fire trucks, and had many adventures.
So admired was Bum that the City Council awarded him
a lifetime dog license. When he died, children collected
pennies for a proper funeral.

Bum, San Diego's Official Town Dog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that on the statue, Bum’s right foreleg is missing.

And look what I found making their home in the park:

Feral Cat in downtown San Diego, 402 Island Avenue

Feral Cat in downtown San Diego, 402 Island Avenue

I’m pretty sure those are not dogs.

And can you believe that the one stuck out its tongue at me?

I declare.

I wonder what Bum and Greyfriars Bobby would think about two cats making a home in their park….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the introductory blog post
to San Diego’s historical landmarks,
click on San Diego’s Historical Landmarks.

For previous posts in the
San Diego Historical Landmarks series,
go here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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