Thursday, August 24, 2006

Must love dogs

Maybe you’ve got to be a Southerner to appreciate the idea of a Coon Dog Cemetery. Or maybe you just need to know what a Coon Dog is.

A Coon Dog is a hunting hound specially trained to hunt raccoons. In South Florida, of course, you don’t need a hound; just leave your garbage can uncovered or fill your water garden with gold fish, and the raccoons will find you. But we’re talking here about country coon hunting, and that requires a Coon Dog.

Think of fox hunting in England, then take it down a couple of notches in class: jeans, plaid shirts, pick-up trucks and shotguns. That’s coon hunting, a sport dating from Colonial days.

A Coon Dog is truly a man’s best friend; he never rats him out to the wife or girlfriend. He doesn’t whine when the beer is hot or times lean. And when the dog dies, it deserves a place in Coon Dog heaven. Or at least the Coon Dog Cemetery in northwestern Alabama.

To qualify for admission, a dog must be a bona fide coon hunter with a pelt – or at least a treeing – to his credit. And of course, the dog must be dead.

The graveyard was created in 1937 when a local man, Key Underwood, and two friends buried his beloved coon hound Troop. Today, more than 180 loyal canines are immortalized here with wooden signs, crude stones, polished granite headstones engraved with fond words and a flouring garden of plastic flowers.

Reads one: “He wasn’t the best, but he was the best I ever had.’’

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Too funny, Jane.
Somehow, I'm not sure I see you at the Coon Dog cemetary, unless you're trying to give Dave Barry a hound dog chase for his money....