A Faithful Dog
you are a passenger on the Great Northern train that
passes through Fort Benton, Montana, and see a shepherd
dog pacing up and down the station platform, it may be
just another dog to you, according to Ed Shields of
Great Falls, veteran Great Northern conductor, but to
trainmen it means a lot more.
dog has met every train for approximately three
years,” Shields said recounting the story. “The dog
is looking for his master—a man who came to Montana
looking for relief from a dreaded disease.
“The man took a job herding sheep. The
most important thing a shepherd needs is a good dog. A
sheepman gave him the dog, at that time a puppy, and
loaned him an older dog to teach the young fellow to
watch the sheep during the day and round them up when it
came time to return to the camp.
young dog soon learned to handle sheep without the aid
of the older dog, but as time went on, disease took the
life of the herder. The good people of the community saw
that the body was sent back to his old home in an
eastern state. The dog followed the body of his master
to the Great Northern station of Fort Benton and saw it
loaded on the train.
incident was soon forgotten by all except the faithful
dog, who has remained at the station, meeting every
train—day and night - in hopes that the next one will
return his master to him.
has refused to make up with anyone and is seldom seen
except at train time. After the train had departed, he
crawls back under the station to patiently await the
next one. The section foreman, taking pity on the dog,
tried to coax him to come into the section house to stay
but the dog refused to leave the spot where he last saw
his master, and the good - natured foreman for nearly
three years has been bringing food to the station and
leaving it for the dog.
spring when the weather warmed and the chinook melted
the heavy snow, a portion of the tracks was swept away
and trains had to be detoured over another line for
a period of ten days. On one of these evenings
the foreman asked the agent what had become of `Old Shep,’
as the dog had become known.
do not know,’ the agent said, `I have not seen
him for several days. I suppose he has left.’
first train to reach Fort Benton after the tracks had
been repaired came in at night. The station agent,
preparing to meet the train, stepped out on the
platform, and, to his surprise, found Old Shep was
said the agent has tried to coax Old Shep into the
station but the dog refuses to do anything but crawl
back into his den under the station.
Shep is dreaming of the days he spent with his master
and the sheep, and listening for the whistle of the next
train that may return his master to him.
the simple old dog, with no hope of Heaven and no fear
of hell, will be so loyal to its master, how ought not
we, the crown of God’s creation, the recreated ones,
look for the glorious Return of our blessed Lord — David Nygren,
in Revival Dynamite.
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