Bobbie the Wonder Dog
|Resting place||Oregon Humane Society|
|Known for||Traveling over 2,500 miles across the United States|
Bobbie the Wonder Dog (1921–1927) was a dog from the U.S. state of Oregon who became famous for traveling 2,551 miles (4,105 km) from the state of Indiana, to return to his master's home in the city of Silverton.[A]
In 1923, while on a family road trip in Indiana, Bobbie—a two-year-old Scotch Collie/English Shepherd mix—was separated from his owners and lost. After an exhaustive search the broken-hearted family returned to their home in Oregon never expecting to see their beloved dog again. Six months later, Bobbie appeared on their doorstep mangy and scrawny with feet worn to the bone; he showed all the signs of having walked the entire way back alone.
During his ordeal he crossed 2,551 miles (4,105 km) of plains, desert, and mountains in the winter to return home, an average of approximately 14 miles (23 km) per day. After his return to Silverton, he experienced a meteoric rise to fame. He was the subject of newspaper articles including Ripley's Believe It or Not!, books, and film. Bobbie played himself in the 1924 silent film The Call of the West. He received hundreds of letters from people around the world and was honored with a jewel-studded harness and collar, ribbons, and keys to cities.
Death and legacy
Upon his death in 1927, he was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society's pet cemetery in Portland. A week later, German Shepherd film star Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath at his grave. His grave is sheltered by a "fancy white and red dog house" received during a promotional appearance at the Portland Home Show. The gravestone has been moved outside the house for better viewing.
Bobbie's demonstration of loyalty is celebrated during Silverton's annual children's pet parade that serves as a reminder of the special place animals and pets have in people's lives. The event was started several years after Bobbie's death and the first parade was led by his son, Pal. A 70-foot-long (21 m) outdoor painting featuring Bobbie's story is part of a series of murals that decorate the walls of businesses in Silverton.
In late 2012, responding to public sentiment that his burial location in Portland did not properly honor his story and his connection to his hometown, a grassroots movement was started by a group of Silvertonians with the goal of repatriating Bobbie's remains to Silverton, for reburial and memorialization.
Notes and references
- This was from the odometer reading. It has sometimes been reported as 2,800 miles (4,500 km) "Silverton Bobbie". Retrieved March 26, 2012. Ripley's estimated the journey was 3,000 miles (4,800 km)."Bobbie, the Prodigal Dog" (photo array/cartoon). Ripley's Believe it or Not. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Brazier, G. F. (1924). Wager-Smith, Curtis, ed. "Bobbie - The Wonder Dog of Oregon". Animal Pals. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Macrae Smith Company. City of Silverton, Oregon. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Stelljes, Susan. "Bobbie the Wonder Dog". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
- "Bobbie, the Prodigal Dog" (photo array/cartoon). Ripley's Believe it or Not. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Bobbie the Wonder Dog in The Call of the West". The Register-Guard. July 11, 1924. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Grave of Bobbie the Wonder Dog Portland". Roadside America. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Hauser, Susan (May 2010). "Oregon Day Trip: Silverton". Sunset. Retrieved August 26, 2010.
- Richard, Terry (March 21, 2008). "Silverton wears its history on its walls". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Bring Bobbie Home
- Alexander, Charles D. (1966) . Bobbie, a Great Collie. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. OCLC 1417264.
- Kent, Judith (2004). Silverton's Bobbie: His Amazing Journey—The True Story. Woodburn, Oregon: Beautiful America Publishing Company. ISBN 0-89802-770-5.
- Stelljes, Susan (2005). Wonder Dog: The Story of Silverton Bobbie in His Own Words. Portland, Oregon: For the Love of Dog Books. ISBN 0-9761124-7-7.
- Detail of Silverton Bobbie mural from Susan Stelljes