I first wrote about my brother Claude’s award winning Treeing Walker Coon Dog, Driver, in 2005 when he’d taken up residence with a rooster. Last summer I observed him in his old age and was inspired to write about him again. Sadly, I now am asked to write his epitaph.
One day a few weeks ago, Driver was lethargic and didn’t want to eat…but he came out of his kennel to be with Claude for a while. The next night, Driver wouldn’t come out of his kennel so Claude went in with him. What they talked about, I can’t guess. When you have shared your life with a dog or a person what do you talk about as it slips away? Can you cover all the good times…the sad times…the laughter…the victories? Can you say goodbye? Probably not.
The next night when Claude came to the kennel, Driver was gone. His body was there, but he was most likely running free of pain in an ethereal forest at “full cry” on the trail of a raccoon. Garth Stein’s book The Art of Racing In the Rain is about Enzo, a wise dog who believes that dogs should be buried high in the Mongolian Hills in compliance with a legend that promises they will be closer to heaven there and able to run forever or come back to earth as a man if they desire. You are left wondering at the end of the book if Enzo really accomplished this.
Driver will still be with Claude…in his dreams he will hear the “full cry” that was music to his ears for so long. He will see Driver in the shiny gold reflection of the trophies Driver left behind and maybe one day he’ll meet someone who will make him wonder if Enzo was right. Yes, there were dogs before and there are more dogs to come….a bond never breaks once established between two souls…Driver remains.
LONE RIVER DRIVER
Lone River Driver, beloved canine companion and hunting partner of Claude Lawson went home to his forever hunting ground on Friday November 2, 2012. He was born in Western Pennsylvania and spent his entire life there. He was Grand Night Champion in National Coon Dog Hunting Competitions and won numerous other awards during his distinguished life. He will be missed by all who knew him, his kennel mates, his human partner, and this writer.
RUN LONG….RUN WELL DRIVER