Old Shep

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Fort Benton 59442,Havre Area

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The body of Shep’s master was placed on a train headed east for a burial. Old Shep was left behind. For over five years, Shep stayed at the depot on the northern edge of town waiting for his owner to return. He wore a mile-long trail to the Missouri River where he would go for water. Sympathetic railyard workers fed him. He slept beneath one of the wooden platforms at the station. A story was published about the faithful canine and he became famous. Travelers would route their trips through Fort Benton just to get a look at the famous dog. Shep got so much fan mail that the station master hired a secretary just to handle it. Each day he would faithfully meet every train that arrived hoping to greet his absent master.

He may have waited longer if he hadn’t slipped on an icy track one day and fallen under the wheels of a train in 1942. He was given a fitting funeral by hundreds of local citizens and buried on the hill above the depot. His casket was carried by the local boy scouts, a eulogy was read and “Taps” were played. A lot of tears fell that day. His grave and memorial can be seen from the old depot. A bronze statue of Shep was erected by the Great Northern Railroad on the levee on Front Street.

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