Sounder is a character, inasmuch as he is important enough to earn the title of the book, even though he, like the father, is absent throughout the majority of the text. Sounder is the animal counterpart to the boy's father: they both are taken from the family at the same time, they both return some time later, wounded, and they both die close to the other's death. Sounder is more important that just any dog, and he represents hope for the family. They all think that there is no way Sounder could have survived being shot, but he does. His defiance of the odds suggests that the boy is right in never giving up hope.