December 30th, 2003
This is Buckeye's story. The day after Bobdog died, I knew the only thing that would help me is another Black and Tan Coonhound puppy. I also knew it might be many months before I could find a puppy...after all, I waited about a year to get Bobdog. I called Maple Hill Farm in Indiana, the breeder I got Bobdog from. William Costner bred black and tans for 75 years and practically invented the modern breed. He died a few years ago and his daughter and some friends have been trying to keep Maple Hill Farm running, but they havent had a litter in a year and dont know when they'll be able to have one. Barbara Little, Mr. Costner's daughter, referred me to a breeder in California and another in Minnesota.
I called the woman in California, Ann Martin, and she didnt have any dogs but she gave me another 5 references. I talked to both women for about 30 minutes and things didnt look too good for finding a puppy.
I sat around for awhile looking at the American Black and Tan Coonhound Club website. I had to decide between calling a hunting dog breeder in Texas who had dogs for $200, or calling Southchase Kennels in Savannah, Georgia. The lady in Cali told me that Southchase was very expensive because they breed show dogs and owned the top winning hound of all time, along with numerous other champions. I was also told that they have the strongest remaining stock of Maple Hill Farm black and tans outside of MHF itself.
I decided I want another MHF puppy. So I called Lynda Webb at Southchase. I introduced myself and she asked me if I was the person who owned avondell.com and if I'd checked my email recently. I said no and she said check your email and call me back.
This is her email:
12/22/2003 4:37:37 PM Eastern Standard Time
You don't know me but I got a call today from a good friend who had gotten a call from a lady that had gotten a call from you .......... yes I know, somewhat confusing but bare with me I think it is going to be worth it!!
First let me tell you how sorry I
am that you have lost Bobdog, I went to the website and immediately
felt the love you shared with this handsome creature. Maybe it's
the time of the year but I tend to think it is a small thing called
fate that I got that call. You're probably convinced about now
that this is one strange lady ..... some would agree I am sure
:-) So, now I will explain. My husband and I live in Savannah,
Georgia and we raise B&T Coonhounds, the big, old fashioned
AKC type. We have been blessed with breeding and owning some of
the top winning conformation coonhounds in the country and in
fact produced the top winning hound of all times, who but the
way, just passed away suddenly last month. Her son has produced
a few beautiful litters and this last one is out of a female that
came from Maple Hill Farms. She had 10!! 7 boys and 3 girls and
they were born Sept 25th, making them 13 weeks on Christmas day.
Many have gone to their new families from NY to Calif to even
Finland. We have always made it a practice to try a place one
puppy from each litter which a family that would otherwise not
be able to have one of these great hounds, many have gone to people
who really wanted a show dog but couldn't afford to buy one, one
went to a family who had adopted a rescue coonhound only to have
it turn on the child (8 yr old) but they were willing to try again
to help out a dog, her name is Scout and is the light of their
lives, what a wonderful home she has and she too has her own website
I had intended to write and tell you
about the boy and offer him for sale , then I looked at the website
and it hit me. I would like to give you one of these boys if you
would be interested, all I ask is that he have a full and wonderful
life in the beautiful country side that you live. Please don't
be offended but if you think that this is something you can accept
from a total stranger, please let me know and we can discuss getting
him to you.
Thank you for hearing me out and Merry
I was completely stunned and humbled by this generous offer. It took me ten minutes to compose myself enough to call her back. I agreed and she made arrangements to fly him from Georgia to Seattle on December 23rd. Ken and I went to Sea-Tac on the night of the 23rd and picked up a beautiful little Black and Tan puppy. He came in with several other dogs, including a couple of other hounds. Amid the howling of an old bassett and the yapping of a beagle pup sat Buckeye, quiet, composed, and dignified. We loaded him in the truck and opened his crate door and he took a step out and just laid down. He was exhausted! We took him to Ken's house and he just sat on the couch for an hour watching us.
The kindness, compassion, and generosity of four strangers, Barbara Cosner Little, Ann Martin, Shelley Cafferty, and Lynda Webb, made this possible. These four good women helped to mend my shattered heart and soul and I will never forget what they have done for me. I call them my Christmas Angels.