This is Carrie. I don’t blog much but occasionally something of interest to me comes up and I just have to put in my two cents. Especially when it brings back childhood memories.
While staying in Red Bay at the Tiffin service center, I found that time moves slowly. It’s a small town with big industry but, not much going on. Looking for things to do, we came across a couple who asked if we’d been to Coon Dog Cemetary. My reply, “Don’t say another word, just tell me where it is.”
Coon Dog Cemetary, as you might have guessed, is a Cemetary for Coon Dogs. It is a popular tourist attraction and is the only Cemetary of its kind in the world. It all began because of the love one man had for his Coon Dog.
His name was Key Underwood. He and his dog Troop had hunted together for more than 15 years. They had been close friends. When Troop died, Key knew there was only one place he could bury him. Now I grew up with a father who hunted. We had Red Bones, Blue Tics, and Coon Dogs. There was always a hunting camp where my father’s friends came from miles around to talk about their rifles, buggies and airboats. They would chew tobacco and laugh about good times but the gatherings always came down to who had the best hunting dog. Bonds were made along with great memories.
I’m sure it was the same for Key Underwood because he decided there was no place in the world Troop loved more than the camp in Alabama where he and his friends sat around trading hunting stories. It’s said that on a dreary Labor Day of 1937, Underwood said good-bye to his legendary coonhound and buried him right there in that camp.
It started a tradition. First with the hunters who knew old Troop and maybe even hunted beside him and then as word spread, other hunters started doing the same when their favorite coon dogs died. Today more than 185 coon dogs from all across the United States are buried in this spot in Northwest Alabama.