Dogs, they say, do not have souls.
They only have hide and bones.
But I believe there is a coon dog heaven
and Red is gone were the good coon dogs go.
I’m so tired of loss. I’m tired of the pain and the guilt. I’m tired of the what ifs and the hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m tired of seeing it over and over in my head and being powerless against it.
Tonight, a friend was doing me a favor and brought me some round bales of hay. She brought her coonhound with her because she takes Puppers everywhere. Henry loves Puppers, and when he saw him in the truck, he asked if he could come out and play. My friend went ahead and let Puppers out and he ran off to play with my two dogs. Henry wanted to get biscuits for the dogs and was on his way inside to get them. Everything was going great.
We got 2 rolls off of the trailer and unhooked the trailer so we could get the 2 other rolls off of the back of the truck. My dog, Woody, was standing under the tailgate, so I called Woody and Greta to me and told Henry to stay back. Her dog was standing on the far side of the truck with Henry. My friend started to roll the hay out of the back of the truck and at that moment her dog stepped directly under the bale. There was nothing either of us could have done. It was too late for her to stop the bale from falling and he was too far away for me to grab him. 800 lbs of hay fell directly on his back.
He didn’t suffer long, but oh it was horrible. He was still a puppy in so many ways, not even 2 years old. One minute he was so happy and full of life and the next he was gone. He wasn’t even mine, but it still hurts so much. And oh, my poor friend who takes so much of the guilt upon herself. He was her baby. It was such a freak accident, but still she blames herself…and God. And I can’t say that I blame her.
I’ve been where she is too many times. It’s hard to not blame God in times of sudden and tragic death. After all, couldn’t He have stopped it? Why didn’t He? Why this dog? Why now? And it hurts to know that we’ll never know the answers. Tragedies like this will never make sense. Thank goodness for my faith, but it doesn’t always make it easier to accept. Yes, logically I know that this was an accident. Through faith, I understand that this is part of a greater plan, but the heart is not so easily convinced. My heart is broken. It’s broken for that pup who was so full of life and had so much life left to live. He was a good dog. He didn’t deserve this. And my heart is breaking for my friend who has been through so much and who now feels that the light is gone from her life, that a part of her died with him.
It will take her a long time to get over this devastating loss. I hope for all of our sake that there is a Coon Dog Heaven because they really are some of the best dogs, even if they don’t always like cats. And because I really want to believe that Puppers is somewhere beautiful, chasing squirrels and basking in the sunlight.
Excerpt from The Coon Dog Eulogy
‘Cause he knows in coon dog heaven he can hunt again
when the sun goes down and the tree frogs holler.
May the bones of Ole Red rest in peace,
through the mercy of God
and may the coon hunters light perpetually shine upon him.