The Meaning of Gratitude

The Meaning of Gratitude

 

You will not find very many monuments to dogs in this world. But in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a public area known as Greyfriar Square, there stands a statue, erected by the local citizens, in honor of a little terrier named Bobby.

Why did the townspeople erect this statue? Because this little dog taught them a lesson in the years he lived with them – a most important lesson. Bobby the Scottish terrier had no owner. And as often happens to smalltown dogs with no master, he was kicked around by just about everybody, and had to scrounge through garbage to get anything to eat. Not what you would call an ideal life, even for a dog.

But it happened that there was in the village a dying old man, named Jock. In his last days, the old man noticed the plight of the sorry little dog. There wasn’t much he could do, but he did buy the little fellow a meal one evening at the local restaurant. Nothing fancy, just some scraps. But it would be hard for anyone to over-estimate the extent of little Bobby’s gratitude.

Shortly thereafter, Jock died. When the mourners carried his body to the grave, the terrier followed them. The gravediggers ordered him away, and when he refused to leave they kicked him and threw rocks at him. But still the dog stood his ground, and would not leave no matter what they did. From then on, for no less than fourteen years, little Bobby honored the memory of the man who had been kind to him. Day and night, through harsh winter storms and hot summer days, he stood by the grave. The only time he ever left the gravesite was for a brief trip each afternoon back to the restaurant in which he had met Jock, in hopes of scavenging something to eat. Whatever he got he would solemnly carry back to the grave, and eat there. The first winter Bobby had almost no shelter, huddling underneath tombstones when the snow was deep. By the next winter, the townspeople were so touched by his brave and lonely vigil that they erected a small shelter for him. And fourteen years later, when little Bobby died, they buried him where he lay – alongside the man whose last gesture of kindness he had honored with such devotion.

Story is from “Diet for A New America”, an inspiring book by author John Robbins, promoting a cruelty free way of life for the physical, environmental, social and spiritual well being of Mother Earth and all of her children. Visit www.earthsave.org for more on the work of John Robbins

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