Remembering Laughter

The Yon family, landowners in the Iroquois Hunt's country, had a special bond with Laughter. Photo courtesy of Jan Yon.

LAUGHTER, a great favorite at Iroquois, died last week. She had one of the happiest, longest lives, although her puppyhood started off with misfortune when her tiny tail accidentally got shut in a door. As a result, she had a short little stub of a tail, but it didn’t prevent her from using it. When she wagged it, her whole body wiggled with delight!

Laughter hailed from Midland Hunt Master and huntsman Ben Hardaway’s famous breeding and was part of the “LA litter” that became famous at Iroquois for their unwillingness to give up in pursuit of coyote. She was entered in the Iroquois pack in 1996.

Those are the basic facts of Laughter’s life, but there’s so much more to her story. We’ll let Jan Yon, whose family puppy-walked Laughter in the year before she joined the Iroquois pack, take over with the rest–and best–of Laughter’s story in a moment. The Yons own land in the Iroquois Hunt country and used to walk puppies regularly for the pack, meaning that one or two puppies a season actually lived with the family for about a year before returning to the kennels to join the pack, then hunted by Mark Powell. The Yons’ son Jesse chose Lantern and daughter Isabel, nicknamed Babel, chose stub-tailed Laughter from a litter of puppies in 1995. So it was Babel that took particular care of Laughter.

Babel and Laughter became close friends--and, yes, that's Lantern sneaking up in the background! Photo courtesy of Jan Yon.

Now, here’s Jan:

“Jesse took Lantern and Laughter became Babel’s responsibility. The hound also became her constant companion. Once I fussed when I found a half-grown hound taking a bath with my daughter. Babel explained: ‘Laughter wanted a bath. She got in on her own. Lantern would have jumped in, too, but he got away.’

“Laughter wore doll clothes, submitted to being wheeled cross country in a wicker pram. She and her litter mate despatched all the vegetables the kids could slip off the table. The pups pulled a sled and were often read to at bedtime–all with great good humor. Years after Laughter and Lantern had been entered into the pack, I came home on a Wednesday evening to find a big muddy hound curled up in the best easy chair. At the end of a long run, Laughter had decided, as long as she was in the neighborhood, to call on us. The miasma of wet dog smell notwithstanding, my family recognized the visit as an honor. She was short on tail but long on humor and joy. Now that I think about it, Laughter couldn’t have been more aptly named. Every home needs more laughter. We were glad to have had her in ours.”


Laughter and the rest of that litter became excellent hunters, as members of the exalted LA litter mentioned above. But she never forgot her home with the Yons. When she lived with them, she often rode in the family’s old BMW, and in her hunting days whenever she spied the car at a hunt meet, she’d hurry over for a visit with Jan, Steve, Jesse, and Babel.

When she left the hunt field, Laughter lived out her days in good company and comfort under the care of the Hound Welfare Fund. Any time I visited the kennel, I always liked to check in on her if she was in the warm room, partly because I thought she was gorgeous and partly because, as the elder matron of the retirement pack, she was always so friendly and welcoming that she was impossible to resist visiting with for a while. Needless to say, we’ll all miss her but are so glad we could provide such a personable hound with such a happy and dignified retirement.

Please consider helping us help more retirees like Laughter by making a donation to the Hound Welfare Fund or by bidding on an item at our March 20 auction. One hundred percent of your donation will go directly to the hounds, and it’s tax-deductible, too!

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