Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It Sounded Too Good to Pass By

Last week, driving along Alabama Highway 72, on the way to Springfield, Missouri we noticed the signs announcing “Coon Dog Cemetery” but didn't have time to stop just then. However, on the way back to Huntsville we made time for a little excursion. Of course, we took the long way around and thought we'd never find it, but eventually it appeared alongside the back-country road.

To be honest, we were laughing and joking about going to a dog cemetery. Now, don't get me wrong, I love dogs and several years ago had to put old Bootsie to rest. It was one of the most emotional things I'd had to do up to that time. So I know how deep the affection can be.

The truth is, we were totally blown away by what we saw when we finally arrived at the cemetery. Nearly 200 coon dogs have been laid to rest in that small plot of ground. Most have markers of some kind – from rustic wooden crosses to fancy stones. And nearly all have flowers, albeit artificial, decorating their resting place. I think my friend Lorene would have enjoyed a stop here...

Only Cemetery of Its Kind In The World.
Only Coon Hounds are allowed to be buried.
Troop First Dog Laid to Rest here Sept. 4, 1937
Please Be Careful With Fire!

Nearly all of the graves are lovingly decorated.

Coon Dog Cemetery came into existence on Labor Day of 1937, when Key Underwood sadly buried his faithful companion “Troop, who was half redbone coonhound and half birdsong, and who was known through out the region as the best. He was "cold nosed," meaning he could follow cold coon tracks until they grew fresh, and he never left the trail until he had treed the coon.”

Track “wasn't the best but he was the best I ever had.”

Ruff Redbone.

Black Ranger “was good as the best and better than the rest.

The variety of styles of markers was fascinating.

Train's grave was originally marked with a brick wrapped in butcher paper.

A traditional marker now marks the spot where Train was laid to rest.

Easy Going Sam was the “Last One on the Wood.”
That's his collar wrapped around the cross.

Looks like the Coon won out over Loud.

There were several markers like this – with the information punched out of metal.

For more information about Coon Dog Cemetery see the “official” website. Also, Travels With Ace has a nice writeup about their visit.


GrannyPam said...

This reminds me of a tear jerking sad song that Frank Ray and Cedar Hill recorded a few years ago. Although "Pearl" the dog named in the title of the song was a fox hound, the song tells about a man and dog and devotion. YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKtaSz6AxRo

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I'm glad you stopped and took photos to share with everyone. I posted about a pet cemetery last year and it is still one of the posts that gets hits every week, and I still get email asking how to find it. Its amazing how much people love their pets, and I wonder how a "coon dog" cemetery would go over in New Hampshire?

Susan Clark said...

Love this on so many levels. Great post!

Carol said...

Ditto all the comments, specially Susan's, LOVE this on MANY levels!

Jasia said...

I've heard of pet cemeteries before but never one breed specific. What a wonderful idea. It's a beautiful cemetery. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Linda Hughes Hiser said...

I would have been all over this stop too. Thanks for sharing the photos....who would have known.....