Bobbie The Collie: The Real Lassie Come-Home

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Silverton Bobbie the Surprise Canine is the authentic-life Lassie Appear-House. As the functions of his extraordinary journey transpired more than 15 decades ahead of the publication of Eric Knight’s iconic operate, some speculate Bobbie’s homing trek impressed the fictional Lassie’s. Regarding the rumor that Knight’s Lassie was modeled following Bobbie, there would seem to be no concrete evidence Eric Knight was conscious of Silverton Bobbie. However, it is a persuasive conjecture. Bobbie the American Collie did get enthusiast mail from lots of international locations such as England, Eric Knight’s birthplace, however he spent significantly of his existence in The us. Bobbie was rather the talk of the English-talking earth for a time, and consequently “Bobbie” became a common Collie identify. (In the 1930s, my grandma grew up with a Collie named Bobbie on the household farm.) It would be additional surprising if Eric Knight experienced somehow escaped understanding of Bobbie the Wonder Puppy.


A book illustration of a painted sable (tan) and white Collie with a white muzzle. The accompanying caption says "My dog Bobby is a collie. He is the smartest dog I know. I think he understands all I tell him."
A collie named Bobby from a children’s reserve of canine stories, 1937


This story is continue to related right now, due to the fact it stands as a testament to the devotion canines show for their individuals. Bobbie was decided to attain his learn no matter the impediment. Like Lassie the come-home collie, he crossed bridges when they had been offered, swam rivers when there were being no bridges handy, and had quite a few adventures along the way – equally excellent and poor – with people and animals. Provided the timeline of Bobbie’s journey, he ought to have crossed the Rocky Mountains in the throes of winter season. Which is anything Lassie herself never had to deal with! Relying on his route trajectory, Bobbie also traversed a lot more territory than Lassie did, with estimates putting the whole distance between 2,500 to 3,000 miles (4,000 to 5,000 kilometers).

Bobbie is also particular in that he is a dog of the folks, if you will. In his early everyday living, he was a doing the job farm puppy who transitioned to town canine when his homeowners moved to run a restaurant. (Bobbie was initially procured along with the farm, but he did not think about himself bought and kept returning to his relatives in the city till they acquired him back again.) He has been variously claimed to be a Scotch sheepdog, an Australian shepherd blend, and a Scottish collie. In truth, Bobbie’s dam was a registered collie, and his sire had a registered collie guardian and an English shepherd parent. Getting 3-quarters collie and one-quarter English shepherd, Bobbie was no blue-blooded tough collie. It may possibly be that his combined heritage gave him advantages (ideal down to the un-collie-like hind dewclaws!) vital to endure on his journey.


A black and white photo of a sable and white Collie with hind dewclaws, standing on a bench. The caption says "Bobbie was not beatable, because of his reach, his powerful shoulders, and his rending fangs.
A person of the original pictures integrated in the reprint of Bobbie: A Terrific Collie


This 1926 book deserved a reprint for far more than just the content of the tale itself. In shipping and delivery, its fashion is reminiscent of the survival tales of Jack London or the works of Albert Payson Terhune in which he extolled his Sunnybank collies. Charles Dewey Alexander utilised what he understood of Bobbie’s early existence and travel encounters, then fictionalized the elements throughout which Bobby had no human conversation and there ended up no witnesses to his adventures. In that this ebook is both of those a operate of nonfiction and fiction, it is exclusive. Readers are inspired to browse the appendix soon after the conclusion of Chapter 11, in which the author included excerpts of letters and a great deal data about Bobbie’s serious lifetime tale.

Bobbie grew to become an intercontinental sensation soon after the summary of his journey, so a lot so that he even starred in his possess silent film, The Phone of the West. (Regrettably, reel selection two was harmed and has not survived, but the Oregon Historic Culture designed community the initially 50 % of the motion picture.) At his loss of life, the country grieved, and Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath of flowers on his grave. But that has absolutely not been the close of his legacy. Bobbie was recognized to have at the very least 15 puppies with Mrs. Bobbie, and the notion that some of his descendants are with us nowadays is not significantly-fetched, considering the fact that plan spay and neuter ended up not typical in the 1920s. Though alive, Bobbie was the darling of Silverton, Oregon, and the town nonetheless preserves a monument and mural to their very own Silverton Bobbie that encompasses 50 percent a town block. Every single yr, pet enthusiasts from all about prevent to make the tour and get images, some with their very own beloved pups. Following reading through this guide, you might find you planning a road vacation, much too.


A mural painted on a wall depicts a sable and white Collie over a map, with a smaller painting of the same Collie with a man in a hat
Part of the Bobbie mural in Silverton, Oregon Personal computer: Thomas Schantz on Flickr


This is Emily’s introduction composed for the e-book reprint version of the beforehand out-of-print ebook Bobbie: A Terrific Collie. Click this url or the image under if you would like to obtain the full book.

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A book cover with an old grayscale photo of a sable and white Collie with a facial blaze. The title reads "Bobbie, A Great Collie"
Reprint e-reserve edition now offered on Amazon


If any one has produced a pilgrimage to the Bobbie “shrine” in Silverton, Oregon, let us know in the reviews!


Even further examining:

Surprise Puppy, The Story of Silverton Bobbie

Silverton’s Bobbie: His Wonderful Journey

Bobbie The Surprise Puppy: A Accurate Tale (children’s image reserve)