Part 2 - TheEarly Years   page 1

Digger spent the first half of his life in Zofingen, Switzerland. We lived in an old farmhouse with a fenced in front yard, a large unfenced back yard and an adjoining field behind that.

Shiva, who craved affection and had up to this point been the center of attention, who was quiet and well-behaved, now had an energetic, rambunctous puppy to contend with. Poor Shiva! She was a good dog and she accepted the new member of the family, and became friends with him.

We bought Digger a big wicker basket to sleep in, with a nice comfy cushion, and put it in the foyer by the front door, between the kitchen and living room. The reeds turned out to be just too good to resist for a puppy in the chewing stage. It got a few chews here and there. One night Irene and I came home after an evening out, and there was nothing left of the basket rim or sides bigger than the size of a matchstick. An oval section of the bottom was all that remained. Hundreds of bits and pieces of reed were strewn across the living room. Irene had a fit and scolded Digger vehemently. For several weeks he had to sleep without a basket as a punishment. Feeling sorry for him, I bought another wicker basket. When Irene noticed a few chew marks on the rim, she got out the Tobasco sauce and painted it on. The chewing stopped. After a few months, the Tobasco sauce must have worn off, because some new chew marks appeared, and a few pieces of reed were broken off. A second coating of Tobasco sauce put a stop to that, and the 2nd basket survived the chewing stage and was used by Digger till the end of his days.

There were a number of apple trees on the property, one conveniently located at the border of the back yard with the field. Digger loved chasing apples which I would throw across the yard. Occasionally he would bring one back for a second throw, but most were bitten into pieces and swallowed. Digger and Shiva both got a taste for green apples and would snap up small hard ones off the ground and eat them. Balls he would bring back, but apples and sticks had to be bitten into pieces and thoroughly destroyed.