IT’S become a traditional way for tourists to sniff out good luck during their stay in the Capital, but now a campaign has been launched to stop passers-by damaging the Greyfriars Bobby statue by touching his nose.
The world-famous black Skye terrier, who sits proudly on George IV Bridge, has begun to show signs of wear and tear after being prodded thousands of times.
Touching statues to bring good fortune has long been traditional in various parts of the world, and is believed to have spread to Bobby after a YouTube video was posted in 2009.
But now an attempt to stop the “destruction” of the statue has been organised on Facebook. The organiser of the site said: “Stop this fake ‘tradition’. Greyfriars Bobby is a very respectable black Skye terrier whose normally black nose has in very recent years become shiny bronze due to a myth that rubbing it brings luck.
“Please enlist tour guides to help us stop this.
“Please help us to spread the word to ask Edinburgh visitors not to take part in this fake ‘good luck’ ritual.
“It is very recent and degrades the statue and the original story. Dogs don’t even like having their noses rubbed.”
The Facebook page sprang up yesterday and has already gathered hundreds of supporters. Ben Hunter, from the Capital, said: “This is never going to end as it happens all over the world.”
Elaine Hutton added: “Good grief – it’s the 21st century. What sort of people think that rubbing a statue can change the course of their life?
“It’s as if the enlightenment never happened.”
Lisa Croft said: “Put an electric shock button in the nose – that’ll stop them.”
Tourist David Ferrier, from Ontario, Canada, admitted he had touched the dog’s nose after hearing the good luck rumour, but now regrets his actions.
He said: “We were told that it was good luck to rub the dog’s nose and we all had a go.
“But after seeing the damage it has caused we will tell people we know not to add to the destruction.
“After all, if this continues there could be more damage caused.”
City Centre Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat said she would make enquiries into whether the colour change caused by the rubbing the nose does indicate damage to the statue.
She added: “If damage is being caused we will look into what can be done to support the campaign.”