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Coopwood: Ode to one special Bluetick

When Cindy and I returned to my hometown in the Delta of Shelby back in 1992 after living in Jackson for many years, our first priority was to get a dog. Having grown up deer hunting, I was fortunate to be able to experience the excitement of turning dogs loose to “run the deer”, meaning the dogs would chase the deer all over the woods while hunters on their stands waited for that huge buck to pass by.

The night before the opening of deer season, my father would take me to the “dog pens”, an area near the old Donaldson Point Hunting Club headquarters in western Bolivar County on the Mississippi River where about 50 Blueticks were held. Normally, Blueticks are used for coon hunting. However, our club used them to run deer. And … I always wanted one.
“That is the last kind of dog I would get you, he will be howling all night,” my father said to me every time I pleaded with him to get me a Bluetick.

Cindy and I found a man in Northern Arkansas who raised award-winning Blueticks, we drove up there and got one naming him, Bee.

Until our children were born, Bee was the apple of our eyes. My father was right, Bee howled every night until we finally discovered if we let him sleep on the bed in the guest bedroom he would be quiet as a mouse. He went everywhere with us. If we drove through the window at Wendy’s, Bee got a hamburger too. If we had parties at our home, Bee was also considered a host walking through the crowd, greeting people who would encourage him to howl… and he would. Bee was once on tv, was once kidnapped and held for ransom, once in the local newspaper (The Bolivar Commercial) and I even took him to a Lions Club meeting one night in Shelby when I was a guest. In fact, several friends encouraged me to run Bee for mayor of Shelby. Bee had a very devoted partner, a stray we named Snoopy, who took up with him in Shelby. She never let us pet her, but never left his side. He had quite an eventful life and kept us entertained.
Bee’s freedom came to an end when we moved to South Bolivar Street in Cleveland. At first, we let him run free and he wandered all over town without alerting the police. I received a call from Paul’s Mart (in north Cleveland several miles from our home) not long after we moved here telling me they had just seen Bee out in their parking lot and that I probably should come get him. Another time, a friend called from Gilbow’s clothing store informing us that Bee was walking up and down Sharpe Street in downtown Cleveland.

Bee’s roaming ended when arthritis hit him. After that, in the mornings he walked from his doghouse about 50 feet to the flower bed and he wouldn’t leave that spot for the remainder of the day. By that point, he had lost his voice and his beautiful howl had ended.

We were devastated the day the veterinarian recommended that Bee should be put to sleep, but we knew the time had come. I had a large headstone made and we buried him in our woods over on the river. “Bee, Beloved Coonhound of the Coopwood Family” is engraved on his headstone.

Bee left us eight years ago this week. He brought much joy to our family and especially to our children when they were young. It is always hard to replace that one special family pet and while we now have a dog named Daisy and about five cats, all of those animals together can’t come close to replacing that beautiful Bluetick coonhound!


scott coopwood

Scott Coopwood, a seventh generation Deltan, lives in Cleveland, Mississippi, with his wife Cindy and their three children. Scott is the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine, one of the South’s leading lifestyle publications, the Delta Business Journal, the first business publication in the Mississippi Delta, and Cleveland’s weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Current.

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