The boys family was very poor, struggling to get food on their table. Sounder lived with the family. He was a hunting dog who assisted the father while hunting.
Two men came into the boy's house, they said they were going to arrest the father for stealing food off of their property. They handcuffed him and took him away in a car. Sounder was devastated.
When the police were taking away the dad, Sounder wouldn't stop barking. The policemen shot Sounder! He then ran away under the house.
The boy had to take the father's place in the household. While the father was in jail he was put into very hard labor that injured him in an accident, because of this he got time off of his sentence. Sounder came back to the house in terrible condition with only 3 legs, 1 ear, and 1 eye.
The father and Sounder both came back in bad condition. Although the both ended up passing away, in the end, their strong spirits inspired the whole family.
Even after all the bad, you may be going through it is important to keep your head up in the end.