Montana's Dog Memorial Is A Moving Monument to Man's Best Friend
If you’ve spent any time in Fort Benton, you’ve probably noticed the statue of a sheepdog sitting on the shores of the Missouri River. This monument pays homage to more than the existence of man’s best friend – in fact, the Shep Memorial serves as a reminder to us all that loyalty and bravery are stronger than we know.
Fort Benton is known as the Birthplace of Montana.
Technically, Stevensville holds the title of the first permanent settlement in the state, but you won't find a town more packed with local history than this one. And when you visit, you'll find plaques and monuments all over town that tell the stories of Fort Benton's past.
In the summer of 1936, a local sheepherder was tending his sheep when he suddenly fell ill.
He was brought to the St. Clare Hospital in Fort Benton, where he spent a few days attempting to recover. Unfortunately, the sheepherder died.
While the sheepherder was in the hospital, the staff noticed that a sheepdog had quietly followed him and was holding a vigil right outside.
A kind-hearted nun who ran the hospital kitchen fed the dog for the few days his owner was in the hospital before he died.
The sheepherder's family requested that his body be sent east for a proper burial, so the local undertaker promptly put his body on the eastbound train.
When the train began to depart, the man's loyal sheepdog suddenly appeared at the train station. Attendants later recalled the dog whining as the door slammed shut and the train slowly started to pull away from the station.
Every day for the next 5.5 years, old Shep showed up at the train station, waiting for his best friend to return. He never gave up hope.
In fact, Shep's vigil was only broken when he was killed by an oncoming train in 1942.
These days, the locals still love to tell the tale of dear old Shep.
The Fort Benton community came together to create this sweet memorial for this faithful four-legged friend. The next time you see it, you might look at it a little differently.
Isn’t this story tragically sweet? The Shep Memorial is one of many reasons to love
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