Norton joined our family in 1993, and we haven't been the same since. He was an 85-pound hound, with big feet, bigger ears, and an even bigger heart. We didn't know much about the breed when we got involved - just that we loved the way they looked and the way they acted. You can get information about the breed in any book, or at the AKC website (see our links page), but there are a few things you learn by experience:
If you add a coonhound to your house:
  • Get a big bed. Norton took up 3/4 of a queen size bed, which is unfortunate, because two adults and another dog also liked to sleep there at night. It was not unusual for someone to have to sleep in the guest room.
  • Put away money in your savings account for vet bills. Norton arrived with fleas and worms. He proceeded to eat everything in sight - underwear, rocks, dirt, pillows and socks. He'd been hospitalized twice - once for a punctured intestine from eating a stick and once for contracting leptospirosis, which caused acute kidney failure.
  • Buy a lot of paper towels. Norton slobbered after he drank. He drooled when he got hot. He knocked over his water bowl and other people's drinks. If he was in a kissy mood, you'd get a face washing.
  • Be prepared to laugh. A lot. Norton had a great sense of humor. He liked to sing. He liked to mumble. He liked to chew his tennis ball as if it were a giganto piece of gum.
  • Be prepared to meet people. The black and tan coloring scared some people - they thought he was a rottweiler mix. The ears confused others - they thought he was a giant bassett hound. Everyone wanted to hear him howl.
  • Be patient. It's not that he was difficult to train, he just wanted to learn at his own pace.
  • Be understanding. Norton was afraid of loud noises, especially thunder. Other hound owners report the same problems. In Norton's case, hiding in the closet or the bathroom was a big help. Learning to not slam doors was also a big help.


Pictures from Norton's photo album:

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