In August 1923, Frank and Elizabeth Brazier, with their daughters Leona and Nova, were visiting relatives in Wolcott, Indiana from their home in Silverton, Oregon.
While filling up gas at a station in Wolcott, their two-year-old dog Bobbie was attacked by three other dogs and ran away.
The family waited for Bobbie to return, but he did not. Despite they placed ads on newspapers, after a week of intense searching the Brazier family gave up hope and eventually, heartbroken, they continued their trip before returning home to Oregon, expecting never to see their beloved dog again.
However, to everyone’s surprise, Bobbie did return to home about six months after he had disappeared.
He hobbled back into Silverton one February day in 1924, mangy, dirty, and scrawny, with his toenails worn. Unbelievable as it may seem, he showed all the signs of having walked the entire distance of 2,550 miles or, if you prefer, 4,105 km on his own to return home.
The news of Bobbie’s incredible feat soon spread across the nation, and the Braizer family was flooded with fan mail, some addressed to Bobbie himself, who was honored with a jewel-studded harness and collar, ribbons, and keys to cities. Some people even claimed they had seen the dog at various places and were able to identify him by his distinguishing features.
Officials from the Oregon Humane Society was skeptical at first, and launched an investigation into the Brazier family’s claims.
But by talking with people who claimed to have fed and sheltered Bobbie on his journey, the Humane Society was able to confirm that he had indeed traveled 2,550 miles, and perhaps more, in the dead of winter swimming across rivers and walking through deserts to return home. The society was even able to assemble a relatively precise description of the route Bobbie took.
“Offbeat Oregon” reports:
“After coming back to Wolcott and finding the Braziers gone, Bobbie first followed them northeast, farther into Indiana. Then he started striking out on what must have been exploratory journeys in various directions — perhaps trying to pick up a familiar scent to give him a sense of the direction to take.
Eventually, he found what he was looking for, and struck out for the West Coast.
On their trip, the Braziers had left their car in service stations each night. Bobbie visited each of these on the way, along with a number of private homes. He also spent some time in a hobo camp. In Portland, he stayed for some time with an Irish woman, who nursed him back to health after some sort of accident left his legs and paws gashed up.
About two weeks later, Bobbie was back in Silverton.”
After a happy reunion, he became a sort of celebrity. He was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but he even starred in a silent movie called The Call of the West, where he played himself.
He was showered with fan mails, he received medals from various societies, and he was the guest of honor at the Portland Home Show, where over 40,000 people came to view him, and where he was presented with his own dog-sized bungalow.
Bobbie died in 1927, and doctors suggested that his early demise was as a result of the strain of his journey. He was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society’s pet cemetery in Portland.
A week later Rin Tin Tin, a German shepherd who was a Hollywood film star, laid a wreath at his grave.
Decades later, a 70-foot-long (21 m) mural of his life was painted on a wall facing the busiest street in Silverton. A life-size statue of Bobbie was also erected on one end, and next o the statue there is a replica of his fancy dog house.
Images from web – Google Research