Greyfriars Willow

In Edinburgh City Centre there is a life size statue to Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier. The story of Bobby is either a bittersweet tale of doggy devotion or, depending on how you look at it, a cautionary tale of the stubbornness of terriers.

I only mention this as I was strongly reminded of the story of Greyfriars Bobby this afternoon on a walk with Husband and Willow. We’d walked up to a local meadow popular with dog-owners about a mile away from our house and once there we’d walked a lap around the field before starting the walk home through a residential area. Shortly after we’d left the field Husband, realising he’d dropped our plastic container of poo bags somewhere on the field,  said, “Go on, I’ll catch you up,” and went back to look for it. Willow watched him jog out of site and then sat down and refused to move.

Stubborn Terrier
I tried to encourage her to start walking, “Come on, let’s go!” she ignored me. I tried tugging on her lead to get her moving; she dug her paws in. I tried tempting treats; she ignored them. Hang on, she ignored food? This was serious. No matter what, I could not get her to move so instead I stood on the pavement outside someone’s house for five minutes next to my stubborn dog who sat and stared intently at the corner that Husband had disappeared around. Occasionally she sniffed the air to see if she could smell him.

Thankfully he reappeared fairly soon after and was surprised to see the two of us still there. As soon as he was on the pavement with us Willow stood up and started trotting home quite happily. Husband seemed to think the whole thing was rather sweet.


Incidentally, my first introduction to the story of Greyfriars Bobby was through watching the 1949 film Challenge to Lassie as a child. I remember being very moved by the film and then a few years later surprised to find out that the real Bobby, a Skye Terrier, bore no resemblance to the famous rough collie movie star! Still, Hollywood never lets the truth get in the way of a good story.


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