Tag: Edinburgh

Wow! This is some story!


There are so many stories and articles about dogs that it’s easy to overlook some of them.

Take this recent story from BBC News, back on February 11th.


‘Brain tumour’ dog in Beauly had 7cm needle in neck

Toby the Yorkshire terrier had seizure symptoms before owners knew he had a needle lodged in his neck.

A dog that showed signs of a brain tumour was found to have a 7cm (3in) needle lodged in its neck.

Toby, a 13-year-old Yorkshire terrier, was taken to a vet in Nairn in the Highlands after he suffered neck pain, struggled to walk and showed seizure symptoms.

X-rays later showed the needle had pierced his spinal cord.

But surgeons in Edinburgh were able to extract it and Toby went on to make a full recovery.

X-rays revealed the 7cm metal sewing needle piercing Toby’s spinal cord

Owner Alexander Jamieson, from Beauly, near Inverness, said: “We feel that without the help of the experts in Edinburgh, Toby would not be here today.

“The care and attention he got was out of this world and we are delighted to see him back to his old self.”

Toby was referred to the specialist surgical clinic at the University of Edinburgh’s Hospital for Small Animals at the Royal (Dick) School for Veterinary Studies where vets performed a CT scan to assess any major damage to his spinal cord in August 2018.

They found that the sewing needle – which still had thread attached – was dangerously close to his brain.

Toby has now recovered to the point where he is able to walk and run normally.

Vets are delighted with Toby’s recovery

It is not known how the needle ended up in Toby’s neck but vets suspect that he could have eaten it or laid his head on it.

Samantha Woods, senior lecturer, and Jessica McCarthy, senior clinical training scholar in small animal surgery, said they were delighted with Toby’s progress.

Ms Woods added: “We are really pleased to see Toby back to full health, thanks to the combined efforts of his vets and our specialist teams here in Edinburgh.”


That was fantastic! All kudos to the whole team that swung into action.

Hope via Openness

Don Tapscott presents what might just be humanity’s salvation.

Millions of us, of all ages, are linked together in this new ‘wired’ world.  For old crusties such as myself, it’s all too easy to recall the days when the mention of the word ‘chip’ immediately brought to mind fried fish!  But we struggled into this new world and now can’t imagine how it was in those earlier days – anyone want to buy my old quill pen? 😉

There are huge benefits to this wonderful networked world and most days I read something on a website here or a blog there that opens my mind in unfathomable ways.  Not only that, but the number of friends, new and old, who co-operate with my attempts to show how integrity is the only way forward is humbling.

Thus it was that an old friend of many years, Lee C., sent me a link to a recent TED talk that revealed in just 17 minutes a message of hope for all of us.  It reminded me that our younger generation have their own knowledge, their own aspirations, their own fears and dreams.

Without more ado, watch it now!

The recent generations have been bathed in connecting technology from birth, says futurist Don Tapscott, and as a result the world is transforming into one that is far more open and transparent. In this inspiring talk, he lists the four core principles that show how this open world can be a far better place.

And weren’t those flocks of starlings just breathtaking?

Lee also sent me this:

Don Tapscott’s recent TED talk ends with footage of starlings in vast numbers which is referred to as a ‘murmuration’. I watched it just two nights or so ago. Tonight I went outside for a breath of fresh air (ok a call of nature) and this is part of what I saw. So pleased to have had my mobile phone in my shirt pocket.

Finally, I hadn’t come across Don Tapscott before but thanks again to this amazing world of shared information, a quick Google search finds Don’s own website here.

Just pause and …

think about dogs, whether you have one, or not, whether you like them or not; think what we learn!

Much of it best described in the words and poetry of others.

Take this, for example:

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.

Unknown Author

Then there’s Bobby, better known as Greyfriars Bobby.


Bobby - Auld Jock's dog


On 15th February 1858, in the city of Edinburgh, a man named John Gray died of tuberculosis.Gray was better known as Auld Jock, and on his death he was buried in old Greyfriars Churchyard.

Bobby, a wee Skye Terrier, belonged to John, who had worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a night watchman, and the two were virtually inseparable for approximately two years.

Bobby led his master’s funeral procession to the grave at Greyfriars Cemetery, and later, when he tried to stay at the graveside, he was sent away by the caretaker.

But the little dog returned and refused to leave, whatever the weatherconditions. Despite the efforts of the keeper of the kirkyard, John’s familyand the local people, Bobby refused to be enticed away from the grave for any length of time, and he touched the hearts of the local residents.

Although dogs were not allowed in the graveyard, the people rallied round and built a shelter for Bobby and there he stayed, guarding Auld Jock.

For fourteen years Bobby lay on the grave, leaving only for food.

Read the rest of this moving tribute here.

Here’s another well-known saying from an unknown author.

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”

I could go on and on but let me close with this eulogy for the dog, delivered at the Old Courthouse in Warrensburg by Attorney, George C Vest sometime around 1870:

The best friend man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son, or daughter, that he has reared with loving care, may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and good name may become traitors to their faith. The money a man has he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our head.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only to be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.

When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wing, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives his master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when that last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there, by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true, even in death.

Senator George Graham Vest, speaking to a jury about Old Drum, shot in 1869

There’s the full history of this sad event here.


Old Drum on the grounds of the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg, Missouri.

We have so much to learn from dogs!