Shep (American dog)

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Sculpture of Shep on the bank of the Missouri River, Fort Benton, Montana. Artist: Bob Scriver.

Shep was the name given to a herding dog that appeared at the Great Northern Railway station one day in 1936 in Fort Benton, Montana. The dog first appeared at the station when a casket was being loaded on a train heading to the eastern USA. When the train left, the dog kept coming back to the station for every incoming train after that.

It took station employees some time to realize that the body in the casket was probably Shep's master, and Shep was showing up for each incoming train to see if his master would be getting off.[1] The station employees took care of Shep and he lived in and around the station, becoming well known to everyone who passed through.

A few years into his time at the station, Shep and his story was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!.[2]

Shep kept this daily vigil for almost six years until he was run over by a train on January 12, 1942. It is believed that his front paws were on one of the rails and he simply did not hear the train until it was too late, and he slipped off the rail. The train's engineer could not stop the train in time.[2]

A few days later, Shep's funeral was attended by nearly everyone in Fort Benton. "Eulogy on the Dog", though written for another dog, was read at the funeral. His grave was placed on a hillside overlooking the town, where it remains to this day.

Shep's story is retold as historical fiction in Shep Forever Faithful by Stewart H Beveridge and Lee Nelson.

Historical marker telling the tale of Shep, Fort Benton, Montana

The folk song "Ol Shep", sung by Ramblin' Jack Elliott, is related but tells a different story.

A bronze sculpture by Bob Scriver of Shep, with his front paws on a rail, was unveiled in Fort Benton in 1994.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Miniclier, Kit (January 15, 1992). "Faithful dog Shep honored in rites 50 years after death". The Denver Post (Newsbank). pp. 1B. 
  2. ^ a b Shirley, Gayle C. Amazing Animals of Montana. Globe Pequot. pp. 43–44. ISBN 0-7627-3855-3. 
  3. ^ Koehler, Darrel (April 22, 1998). "MONTANA MONUMENT RECOUNTS STORY OF FAITHFUL SHEEP DOG'S VIGIL". Grand Forks Herald (Newsbank). p. 5. 
  4. ^ Buyer, Bob (December 25, 1994). "Montana -- Dogged Devotion Crowns A Town's `Levee Of Fame'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 

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