September 11, 2015 | Posted in Discover These Doggies!!
The Oregon family of G.Frank Brazier, his wife Elizabeth and their two daughters, had a terrier they named Toodles. But in 1921 they decided to expand the family to include a 6-week-old Scotch collie mix. Toodles and the pup, who was named Bobbie, got along beautifully, until Toodles had a stroke and passed away. Bobbie became the center of the universe for the family after that, enjoying his time roaming the farm where the family lived, in Silverton, Oregon.
In 1923, the family took a road trip to a small town in Indiana, bringing 2-year-old Bobbie with them. They reached their destination and enjoyed the time away from home. Then one day, as Mr. Brazier was filling the car with gas at a station near where they were staying, he heard a bark from Bobbie and saw him being chased by some other dogs. He took off after him but didn’t see him. He didn’t come running when he heard the car horn, as he usually did.
After searching for a while, G.F. Brazier sadly told his family that Bobbie appeared to be missing. They still held out hope they’d find him. They searched nearly constantly and an ad was even run in the town newspaper, asking for his safe return. As their time in the area grew to a close, the heartbroken family accepted the fact that they might never see their beloved collie again.
They reluctantly returned home to Oregon, a distance of more than 2500 miles, saddened by Bobbie’s absence.
On February 15, six months to the day since she’d lost her adored Bobbie, the younger Brazier daughter Nova was walking down the street in Silverton with a friend when at a distance she spotted something – a collie dog limping toward her. “It’s Bobbie!” she cried. The exhausted dog lifted his head, summoned all his strength, and ran towards her, showering her with kisses. She brought him home where he cried and gave an equally loving greeting to his other family members.
Unbelievably, Bobbie had traveled the 2500+ miles, determined to return to the family he dearly loved. The Braziers had no doubt this was their dog, first and foremost because of his immediate recognition of them. Their Bobbie had three distinct scars, and this dog – skinny and mangy though he was – had the same 3 scars. He was given a meal of steak and cream as a reward for his determination and loyalty, not to mention the uncanny knack of being able to find his way home.
He is said to have done not much else but sleep and eat for his first 3 days back in Silverton. One of the first things he did, as well, was to find the grave of his former pal, Toodles, who was buried on the farm.
Word spread of the amazing dog’s return and he became known as “Bobbie the Wonder Dog.” The town of Silverton got into the act, too, referring to him as “Silverton Bobbie.” It was unheard of for a dog to successfully travel this far to reunite with his loved ones. He was written about in newspapers and soon, letters poured in from around the world. Several of the letters were from families who swore they cared for Bobbie a night or two along his journey. They said a bedraggled-looking collie appeared at their home, where they fed him and hoped he’d stay. But he seemed to always be looking for someone or something – always sniffing the ground trying to pick up a scent. Soon, he was on his way again. It turns out, many of the places he stayed were located near where the Brazier family had made stops during their travels, so indeed he may have picked up a scent to lead him on.
Bobbie was given the silver medal for bravery from the Oregon Humane Society and was showered with gifts, ranging from a jeweled harness to a red and white dog house. He even starred in a film, “Bobbie the Wonder Dog – The Call of the West”, playing himself naturally. He took time out to father a litter of pups, too.
Unfortunately, in 1927, three years after returning home, he suffered ptomaine poisoning and although he was treated in a nearby animal hospital, Bobbie passed away. The mayor of Silverton and 200 dignitaries and invited guests attended his funeral. He was buried with honors at the Humane Society Pet Cemetery in nearby Portland, Oregon, his red and white dog house covering his grave. Canine film star Rin Tin Tin appeared a week after the funeral to lay a wreath at Bobbie’s grave.
A mural was painted on Main Street in Silverton, celebrating Bobbie’s life, and each year on February 15, the date he returned to his family, a children’s pet parade is held, keeping the memory of Bobbie the Wonder Dog alive.