Bobbie The Wonder Dog, The Inspiration Behind Lassie Returns.

Bobbie and his owner, G. Frank Brazier. Courtesy Vades Crockett, Silverton.

Bob was an average-looking collie puppy in every way, except for his bobbed tail . . . and maybe that’s why the Brazier family named him Bob, or Bobbie. But he was average in no other way. 

In 1923, Bobbie joined Frank and Elizabeth Brazier for a cross-country drive from Silverton, Oregon, to Indiana, Frank’s home state, where they planned to visit family. During a stop in Indiana, Bobbie was chased off by loose dogs, and after a week of searching and placing newspaper ads, the broken-hearted Braziers had to give up and start the drive home.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog perches on the trunk of the Braziers’ touring car in Silverton. Photo Offbeat Oregon

Six months to the day after he was lost in Indiana, a very thin Bobbie was spotted on a Silverton sidewalk, his coat matted, his paws raw from wear. Unbelievable as it seemed, the three-year-old dog had WALKED almost 2,800 miles to get back home.

Though weak and tired, Bobbie went berserk with joy when he was reunited with his family, and from that day, all of their lives changed. In the weeks and months that followed, his story tore across the country in newspapers and even in a hardcover collection of pet stories. He was the main attraction at an Oregon home-builders convention in Portland, where thousands lined up to pet him, and he starred in a short feature film. Also, the Braziers eventually heard from people along Bobbie’s homeward-bound route, places where he’d stopped long enough to recoup, and then he was gone again. These stories verified their thinking. Bobbie had done the impossible.

Bobbie’s remarkable journey thrilled readers around the country, who wanted to know more about “The Wonder Dog.” The Oregon Humane Society in Portland investigated and confirmed that he had traveled about 2,800 miles on foot. They presented Bobbie with a silver medal and keys to the city. Letters and presents poured in daily.

Frank wrote about him in Animal Pals, a book of dog stories, and Bobbie starred in a silent movie. Bobbie’s feat even appeared in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Bobbie got so famous that at one weeklong appearance, more than 100,000 people showed up to pet him.


In April 1925, Bobbie became a parent with another collie named Tippy. She gave birth to sixteen puppies-all boys-and Bobbie made headlines again.

When Bobbie died 1927, he was buried in Portland, Oregon, by the Oregon Humane Society. Rin Tin-Tin, the dog star of twenty-seven Hollywood movies, was there to lay a wreath at his funeral, which was officiated by the mayor of Portland.

Rin Tin-Tin, the dog star of 27 Hollywood movies, lays a wreath at Bobbie’s funeral.

In 1932, Silverton hosted its first Pet Parade to honor Bobbie, with his son Pal leading the way. Every summer since then, the town has celebrated with a parade and a Bobbie Look-Alike Contest. Bobbie’s Castle, his red-and-white doghouse, stands over his burial place at the Oregon Humane Society’s animal cemetery.

Bobbie’s Castle

A statue in Silverton pay tribute to their famous dog.

This incredible story is all true, and the origins of Lassie Come Home are said to be traced to the story of Bob of Silverton, also known as Bobbie, the Wonder Dog.

Bobbie The Wonder Dog
Lassie Come Home
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