A dog named Shep

The farmer died leaving behind his big shaggy collie whining all alone in this world. This was probably the first time in the five and half years with his master that he wasn’t able to accompany him.

The big sheep dog was to keep an unspoken vigilance over his master but it didn’t end even after his death. Rain or shine, he trotted out to meet each and every bus that arrived at the station. He eyed every single passenger and sniffed everyone’s baggage. Then, he would watch the bus pass away in utter muteness. It seemed that his eyes still revealed hope of his master’s return.

The station workers soon found out that the collie answered to the name Shep but he had nothing to do with anyone of them. But even dogs cannot stand complete loneliness so one stormy night, Tony, the stationmaster found Shep at his door.

He managed to coax the dog inside. He found shelter in a warm place at the station during the freezing winter. Months passed by and the story of Shep’s vigil spread far and wide. The newspapers picked up the story and mails began pouring in for Shep.

One Christmas, a woman sent him a gift of bone and dog biscuits. Animal lovers offered to give him a home and several shepherds made their offers to have the services of the trained collie. However, none of them could stir Shep’s loyalty of purpose and he always remained the same. One day his master would show up and he would be able to meet him again but there came a day when Shep’s hearing and sight began to weaken and his old legs could no longer trot yet he paddled up to the station and watched over the passing buses.

One such day, Shep started down the road to meet the bus and stood in the middle of the road waiting. As the bus approached, everyone knew what would happen. The bus hit Shep and all was over. Shep’s grave was dug on the top of a hill overlooking the village and amidst the tears and sobs of farmers, ranchers, trainmen and the town people; his body was lowered into the grave.

But Shep’s story had far from ended, the townspeople put up a monument of Shep on the hill with his name under it inscribed in whitewashed stone. As newcomers and tourists visited the town, porters and the trainmen would tell them the story of the dog’s life-long devotion. Even years after Shep’s death, people remember him when anyone’s faithfulness and devotion is to be honoured. — Indu Tiwari, Class XII, NIST