In August 1936, an ill sheepherder was hospitalized in Fort Benton, Montana. His faithful working companion, a Border Collie, waited patiently outside the hospital for his friend's recovery ... but it was not to be.
Subsequently, the shepherd's relatives decided to have his body be sent back east for his burial. In the lonely procession that followed from the hospital to the train depot, the identity and relationship of the whining dog that accompanied the casket was lost.
The dog was prevented from boarding the train, and soon thereafter came to be known as "Old Shep." The dog patiently and methodically held a vigil to insure reunion with his beloved friend. For five-and-one-half years, "Old Shep" met each passenger train as it chugged into the station and unboarded its passengers, anticipating his partner's return.
Old Shep's story exemplifies the devotion and faithfulness of dogs everywhere. Shep's story was carried in newspapers throughout the country and overseas. It appeared in the "London Daily Express," "The New York Times" and in "Ripley's Believe It Or Not."
Occurring in the shadow of the Great Depression and the advent of World War II, this story took on an added significance for those who mourned the departure of loved ones and hoped for their safe return.
Old Shep became and still remains a patron saint of loyalty, patience and friendship. On January 12, 1942, Shep "rejoined his best friend." Shep was so famous that at the time of his death, the wire services of "Associated Press" and "United Press International" carried his obituary along with the war news. Shep's funeral was two days later. He was laid to rest on the bluff overlooking the train station.