A BearhounD Thanksgiving 1995

Bill Sharpe Explains the Origin of the BearhounD Stories

Author’s Note:

This was the first BearhounD story I wrote down. It was not the first BearhounD story that I told my four-year old daughter and her four-year old friends. The whole BearhounD story started one summer afternoon when I was working in the yard. Sondra had two friends over and they decided that they would “help” me.


Starbuck, the family dog, was never very far from Sondra and if she wasn’t available, he would settle for me. For the record Starbuck was not named after the premium priced coffee company in Seattle. Starbuck was named for a fictional character from the play and film The Rainmaker; the film starred Burt Lancaster. Starbuck was named in 1986, a good six years before you could get a latte from the coffee company in Seattle.

One of Sondra’s friends asked me, “What kind of dog is Starbuck?” I hadn’t really thought about it. He kind of looked like Benji on stilts. He was a mutt I found literally on the streets of Detroit, wandering, no collar, very thin and no signs of having a home. People have said that I rescued or saved him. That’s not true; he rescued and saved me. The only answer I could come up with was “He’s a BearhounD.” Of course, there was a follow up question, “What’s a BearhounD?” I replied, figuratively treading water, “BearhounDs are part of the Ancient Order of Celtic BearhounDs and they are charged to fight EVIL wherever they may find it and keep bears out of our front yards.” There, I thought that I had solved that in a fine manner.

The young ladies were not satisfied with my answer. The little girl from across the street said accusingly, “We don’t have any bears in our front yards on this street.”  I countered with, “See what a good job Starbuck is doing.” (Ba da dum…hit cymbal.)

Just when I thought I had settled all questions, my darling looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, “Tell us a story about the BearhounDs.” At that moment her birthday list was in jeopardy. But I could deny her nothing. The only problem was that I didn’t have any BearhounD stories to tell.

I decided to tell the story tell them the story of how I found Starbuck on the street nine years earlier—with a lot of embellishments. I have no idea where the Ancient Order of Celtic BearhounDs came from . . . I was winging it.

This was the first BearhounD story. The story is told by a narrator from Starbuck’s perspective. It has never been published, but it was passed around a lot to friends who had small kids. It should be noted that the Ancient Order of Celtic BearhounDs is a secret organization and any pup could be a member. You may own a BearhounD and never know it. These courageous dogs protect their peoplekind from EVIL and from bears making messes in your front yard.

A BearhounD Thanksgiving