You’re a mean one, Mister Grinch…

August 5, 2011

Man, I hope this guy is proud of himself.

But let me back up a minute.

When I was a boy, there was a Disney movie about a plucky little terrier who went to Edinburgh with his master, who then died.  The dog kept a 14-year vigil at his master’s grave, passing away himself in 1872.

Watching this as a child required more tissues than I could even carry into the theater. The movie was called “Greyfriars Bobby, the True Story of a Dog.”

Since then, there have been other movies and books about Bobby. There is even a bronze statue of sweet Bobby in the cemetery, which I myself have visited in Edinburgh.

Now meet Jan Bondeson, a so-called historian who suddenly tells us the whole story was just a Victorian business stunt to make money.

Bondeson says the real Bobby was just a stray mutt bribed with food to stay in the graveyard, and that he really died in 1867 and was replaced by another “Bobby,” much like they did with Senator Strom Thurmond here for so many years.

Maybe the Disney folks should reissue their movie, and Bondeson can follow it from cinema to cinema, interrupting it to point out the flaws to small sobbing children, before turning his attention to “Old Yeller” and “Bambi.”

I don’t know whether the heartless Bondeson, if that is indeed his name, has a dog of his own.

But if he does, I’m sure it won’t spend five minutes in the cemetery when the historian finally buys the farm.

Hey, ain’t that Old Man Bondeson’s dog runnin’ out of the graveyard over yonder?

I’ve never seen him wagging his tail like that! Lookit that little feller scamper!

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Left and right, assorted Greyfriar’s Bobby films and books.

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There are times when even card-carrying historians shouldn’t look too closely at the past.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Well said, Dr.D. And BG, I can just see it now – that wee doggie scampering through the graveyard and lifting his leg on Old Man Bonderson’s headstone…Way to go, Bobby!

Posted by Moonshine | Report as abusive

You said it, Moon!
Daft old Bonderson! What a load of tosh! I go visiting that part of town often and I know a lot of people who would like to give Jan Bonderson a boot up his arse..

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

History is often written by the “victors”, whomever they may be.

But *dog* history is sacred!

Posted by skeres | Report as abusive

I swear that dog looks like Benji. Were there only ever 5 working dogs in Hollywood? I have heard that “human dies and dog waits for their return” story thousands of times. And I cry EVERY DAMN TIME. But one thing makes me slightly suspicious… I have never met a dog that faithful or that dumb. My current brood (who, to date, would give their lives for me) are no match for their pea sized attention span. I could see them trying to wait. To be valiant. But then one would fart and the other one would bark at him for it and then they would have no idea why they were sitting there. And they would go off looking for me. Or cheese. Whichever one they found first.

Posted by hmcfabulous | Report as abusive

Once upon a time, there was a stray dog who found some people. He was always happy to see them and he made them laugh, and made their lives larger with his own. When little children came to visit, he would sit patiently until the attention got to be a bit much, and he would walk to the door to be let out into the yard. He never hurt a child or adult. He would let the birds land in his yard and not startle them. I sometimes wish I could sit by his grave.

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

@hmc – Awesome.

Posted by Dave_not_dave | Report as abusive

Onedoor – When you find the grave, let me know. I will join you. We currently have a rescue dog. Only problem is, I’m not sure who rescued who.

Posted by inebgreen | Report as abusive

“What’s that Bobby? Timmy’s fallen into the well, er, grave?”

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

[…] ex-Reuters colleague, Bob Basler, is angry with the professor who has taken it upon himself to demolish the charming story of Greyfriars Bobby. It’s a tale […]

Posted by Take that, Greyfriars Bobby debunker | Scottish Terrier News | Report as abusive

For another take on the same story… e-2023229/He-makes–s-need-Greyfriars-Bob by.html#comments

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive