January 14, 1872 - A Skye Terrier named Bobby died on this day in Edinburgh, Scotland. The dog is famous for having spent the last 14 years of his life holding vigil at the grave of his beloved master...or so the story goes.
Legend has it that Bobby belonged to a nightwatchman named John Gray. The two went everywhere together, so when Gray fell ill and died of tuberculosis, the devoted dog refused to leave his master's side and set up permanent residence at his grave.
About 10 years into the vigil, some local residents complained that the stray dog should be destroyed, but others rallied to his defence.
Sir William Chambers, head of Scotland's Society for the Prevention off Cruelty to Animals, stepped up and paid the fees required to make Bobby street legal. The dog became the responsibility of the Edinburgh City Council.
When Bobby died at the ripe (and hard-to-believe) age of 16, a statue was erected in his memory.
The truth is it was all a big publicity stunt. Turns out that Bobby was actually a stray dog that had become a nuisance at the local hospital. Somehow he wound up getting tossed into the graveyard where the curator took a liking to him and started feeding him.
Stories began to circulate about a loyal dog that refused to leave his master's grave and tourists began to stop by for visits.
An article in a local paper increased the traffic significantly and soon the story of Bobby was a big boon for nearby businesses.
The economy was so invested in Bobby that when the dog eventually died, a new, younger Skye Terrier took his place and kept up appearances.
Now Bobby is immortalized with a statue, tombstone and various plaques in Edinburgh. "Bobby was fed here." "Here lies Bobby." etc... He has become a symbol of enduring loyalty, and the power of a good story to overcome the truth.