1/13/17

Shep: Montana's Faithful Dog



Shep became famous in history for refusing to give up on his deceased master's return.




One day in the summer of 1936 a sheepherder in Fort Benton, Montana fell ill and was taken to the hospital. His dog, later given the name Shep, followed him into town and remained outside the hospital's door. The nun who ran the hospital kitchen would give him food while he waited for his master's return. After a few days, the sheepherder died. His family in the East asked that his body be sent to them. Shep was there when the herder's casket was loaded into the baggage car and began to whine when the train pulled away.




Everyday Shep would greet the trains hoping for his master's return. Nothing could keep him away, including the hot summers and freezing cold winters. At first, people would sometimes chase him away but he always came back before the next train arrived. His persistence soon captured the hearts of the community, and the story of the faithful dog spread - he was even featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not. People came from miles to see and take pictures of him.




On June 12, 1942, five and a half years from the day his master's body was taken away, the aging dog failed to hear an approaching train. By the time he noticed it, he slipped on the icy railroad track. The engineer was unable to stop in time and Shep died.




Shep was buried on a hillside overlooking the train station with most of the townspeople present. In 1994 a bronze sculpture of Shep standing expectantly on a rail was unveiled in Fort Benton.