Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Kamie Berry | September 24th, 2017

Most pet owners consider their animals to be members of the family. So, if something happens to a beloved pet, their human owners are usually devastated. We often assume that our animal companions feel some sort of affection for us, too. But one dog in particular proved the depths to which a dog’s devotion could go.

In the summer of 1923, Frank and Elizabeth Brazier set out from their home in Silverton, Oregon for trip to Indiana. With them for the ride was their collie mix, Bobbie. He spent most of the drive sitting on top of the luggage in the backseat.

oregonencyclopedia.org

Everything was going just fine until the couple stopped to put gas in their car when they were nearing their destination. While they were stopped, some stray dogs approached the Brazier’s car, growling and barking at Bobbie.

This terrified the poor dog, who took off running, with the mangy strays following after him. Worried about their beloved dog, the Braziers started a search. They drove all around town, made phone calls, and even placed an ad in the local newspaper. But no one ever called to say they had found him, and he never showed back up.

The heartbroken Braziers finally had to leave Indiana after their visit without Bobbie. They left instructions for their friends to keep Bobbie if someone should happen to find him after their departure. They were even prepared to pay for him to be returned home to Oregon by train if anyone found him, no matter the cost.

Six months after their return home, the Braziers had given up hope of ever seeing their dog again. But it was on that day that Elizabeth Brazier’s daughter from a previous marriage saw a dog who bore a striking resemblance to Bobbie roaming the streets of Silverton.

But it wasn’t just a dog that looked like Bobbie. It was Bobbie, though he now had matted fur and sore feet from his nearly 3000-mile trek from Indiana to Oregon.

But just how did Bobbie find his way home?

Once Bobbie’s story became national news, people began writing letters to the Braziers to tell them how they had helped Bobbie. As it turned out, he had some help from many friendly people he met along his way. He first lucked out by heading in the right direction, due west. Along the way, he somehow remembered the gas stations and inns the Braziers had stayed in on their way to Indiana. People at each location fed Bobbie and let him stay.

At a rate of about 14 miles per day, Bobbie walked his way back to Silverton, Oregon to be reunited with his ecstatic owners. Along the way, it is believed he swam across at least one river and crossed the Continental Divide in the middle of winter.

Bobbie became a celebrity almost overnight. Silverton gave him the key to the city, and he received bags full of fan mail. He was also given a special medal by the Humane Society. When he died in 1927, after an illness, he was buried with honors at the Humane Society’s Portland pet cemetery. Rin Tin Tin even placed a wreath on his grave. He is still celebrated every year in Silverton’s yearly children’s pet parade.

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