Just about everyone has a pet that was a best friend. I know I did. Old Shep was my Dad’s. They grew up together on the family ranch in Bruneau, Idaho. They worked and played together, and shared all of life’s little lessons along the way.
Through the years Dad talked often of Old Shep with much affection. A couple of years ago I was visiting Dad. He came out of the bedroom with a book of old cowboy songs. His eyes were full of tears as he handed me the book opened to the song, “Old Shep.” I knew this song from my childhood. What I didn’t know is how closely it mirrored the story of my father, Jim Craig, and his Old Shep. By the time I finished reading the lyrics, we were both in tears.
Happy 93rd birthday Dad! I love you..
When I was a lad
And Old Shep was a pup,
Over hills and meadows we’d stray.
Just a boy and his dog
We were both full of fun.
We grew up together that way.
I remember the time at the old swimmin’ hole
When I would have drowned beyond doubt.
But old Shep was right there
To the rescue he came
He jumped in and then pulled me out.
As the years fast did roll,
Old Shep, he grew old.
His eyes were fast growing dim.
And one day the doctor looked at me and said,
“I can do no more for him, Jim.”
With hands that were trembling,
I picked up my gun,
And aimed it at Shep’s faithful head.
I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to run.
I wished they would shoot me instead.
So I threw down that old gun,
Ran right up to his side.
He laid his faithful old head right on my knee.
And friends, I stroked the best pal
A man ever found.
I cried so I scarcely could see.
Now Old Shep knew he was going to go,
‘cause he reached out and licked at my hand,
Then he looked up at me
Just as much to say, I hate to
But you understand.
Old Shep, he has gone where the good doggies go,
And no more with Old Shep will I roam.
But if dogs have a heaven there’s one thing I know,
Old Shep has a wonderful home.
Songwiriters: Arthur Willis/Clyde J. Foley