A rectangle of red clay marked the freshly filled grave at Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. There was no headstone. Its tubercular occupant was a night-watchman of the Edinburg police, a man of simple means with no family. Very few people even knew him. His schedule permitted little contact with the average citizen; off to sleep as the rest of the city was just beginning to stir and back to work again as they retired. Except for his coworkers, John Gray’s main contacts with society were the drunks and thieves and ladies of the night. He did have one friend though. His name was Bobby and they’d grown quite close during their two years together.
Bobby wasn’t at the funeral; he hadn’t even known that his friend was dead, just that he didn’t come home one morning. So when he strolled through the gates of the churchyard and found the newly-dug plot he knew instinctively who lay six feet below. But the knowledge didn’t lessen his confusion and he struggled to understand. He’d noticed the cough shortly after it began but as the wheezing became a normal part of John’s respiration, Bobby grew used to it and soon forgot about it. He lay down on the soft bed of clay and fell asleep, dreaming about his best friend in the world.
How long he’d been asleep he didn’t know, but he bolted at the loud commands of the caretaker and hid himself in the woods. When he thought it was safe, he returned again, circled, and lay back down on the grave.
For three days, the caretaker chased Bobby away. And then it dawned on him. Greyfriars Bobby was John Gray’s dog. Bobby would spend the next fourteen years at his deceased master’s graveside until he too finally expired on January 14, 1872.