Friday, June 11, 2010

Man's Best Friend

Did any of you see the movie "Sweet Home Alabama?" Remember the scene in the coon dog cemetery?

If you're a Yankee, you probably thought that was just an affectation designed to "southern" up the movie set. If you're a Southerner, you know it wasn't. Southern hunters take their dogs seriously. REAL seriously.

In 1937, Key Underwood buried his faithful coon dog Troop in a meadow in northwest Alabama. From that gesture of sentimentality came the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, the only graveyard of its kind in the world. Only coon dogs are allowed, and when asked why, Mr. Underwood said, "You must not know much about coon hunters and their dogs, if you think we would contaminate this burial place with poodles and lap dogs."

More than 185 dogs are buried there today including Hunter's Famous Amos, which was the Ralston Purina Dog of the Year in 1984.

The graves are marked with a mish-mash of headstones -- some wood, some metal and some not unlike gravestones at a regular cemetery.

The names are different and so are the epitaphs. One marker reads, "He wasn't the best, but he was the best I ever had." Kinda reminds me of a Toby Keith song. :-)

Photos courtesy of American Houndsmen