"Shep" Montana's Most Famous Dog

The town of Fort Benton in Montana is one that is steeped in history.

Nicknamed "The Birthplace of Montana," there is plenty to enjoy about this town on the banks of the Upper Missouri River.

It's also the home to one of the most loyal dogs that ever lived.

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Fort Benton has plenty of claims to fame.

It is the "oldest continuously occupied settlement in Montana."

It was the most upstream navigable port on the Mississippi River System, and is considered "the world’s innermost port".

But for my money the thing that Fort Benton should be most famous for is "Shep."

A photo of a statue of a dog named shep in Fort Benton Montana
Tammie Toren

I was shocked when I found out that some people, even those born and raised in Montana, didn't know about Shep.

The story goes that back in 1936 a sheep herder passed away in Fort Benton.

Townsfolk loaded his casket onto the train to send him back east where his family lived.

At the same time his dog had followed the crowd to the train station and watched as his master rode away.

A Wide Angle shot of the statue of shep in Fort Benton Montana
Tammie Toren

Forever Faithful

For the next 6 years, Shep would return 4 times a day to greet people arriving by train to Fort Benton.

When he wasn't greeted by his master he'd go back to waiting under the platform.

He survived on table scraps from a foreman's son.

During the winter months, he was allowed inside the station where he slept on a bed of blankets.

As Shep got older his hearing started to go, and that is how he met his tragic end.

It's believed he just didn't hear the train coming and the conductor of the train was unable to stop in time.

Final Resting Place

A shot of the sign telling the story of Shep in Fort Benton Montana
Tammie Toren

Today in Fort Benton you can still visit the grave site of Shep and learn the story of one of the most loyal and good boys that ever lived.

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