I saw a good movie recently. It was titled "Greyfriars Bobby." The movie told the story of a dog, a Skye Terrier.
Greyfriars Bobby was a real dog, but the rest of the story is unclear. Some say his master was a policeman in Edinburgh. Another story is that his master was a farmer who had come to Edinburgh with Bobby. On the trip, John Gray, died and was buried in a local graveyard.
Bobby stayed in Edinburgh, scrounging for food and sleeping on his master's grave. The loyal little dog kept watch over his master's grave for 14 years before he also died.
In the movie, an attempt was made to get all the stray dogs off the streets of Edinburgh, so the city rounded up dogs and put them to death unless their masters came to claim them and pay a fine. In the movie, Bobby had made so many friends that when he was rounded up everyone tried to save him. But the authorities knew his master was dead so they were assured of killing Bobby.
In the movie, and in real life, word got to Sir William Chambers, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, about Bobby's plight. The Lord Provost intervened and paid for Bobby's license and gave him a collar which gave him the freedom to roam anywhere in Edinburgh. It was the equivalent of the "key to the city," which had been given to some of Edinburgh's most famous citizens, including the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns.
There is a statue of Greyfriars Bobby at the corner Candlemaker Row and the George IV Bridge. It is a popular tourist spot and I have had the privilege of seeing it twice.
But my reason for writing about it has to do with something else. In the movie, all the bigwigs of Edinburgh met at the graveyard to award Bobby the "freedom collar." In the movie, the people who took care of Bobby, giving him food and companionship, were kept out of the graveyard so they stood at the fence. After the ceremony Bobby ran to the fence to greet them. They were the poorer class of citizens, but they meant a lot to Bobby. When the Lord Provost saw Bobby greeting his friends, he called for the gates to be open and everyone was invited in.
I was at a meeting recently and was very sad to see some bigwigs put above everyone else. I don't know who was responsible for this "class separation" but it didn't set very well with me and with others who were witness to it. We needed a Lord Provost to set someone straight.
This is America, and we don't have classes of people, and we don't have royalty. In America, every citizen is equal to every other citizen, unless they do something to curtail their own freedom.
Page 2 of 2 - I hope I never witness this kind of action again.
Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.