Someone recently gave us the book THE DIGGING-EST DOG by Al Perkins and illustrated by Eric Gurney. The book was originally published in 1967 and part of the Dr. Seuss “I can read/beginner books” series. The story begins with a dog that has been kept in confinement too long at the pet store waiting on his forever home. Sammy Brown purchased the neglected dog, took him home to the farm where he lived, and named him Duke. Duke has a problem though. He has forgotten how to dig. The other dogs are disgusted with Duke’s inability to dig holes and this makes Duke feel like less of a dog. Eventually he does learn to dig holes but this leads to another set up problems for Duke and his owner, Sammy Brown.
When I read this story, I immediately thought about our Dachshunds, Oscar, Hunter and Zoie Dachshunds are hounds who have short legs and long bodies. They were bred specifically to hunt badgers and other animals who burrow under the ground. Because of these inherent instincts of the breed, Dachshunds are diggers. In the above mentioned book, poor Duke was left too long inside on the hard cold floor of the pet shop before he found a home at Sammy Brown’s farm. When I read about Duke’s plight, I immediately thought about our little Miniature Dachshund, Hunter.
I found Hunter while searching online for a male, miniature dachshund. When I arrived to pick him up from the breeder, I was horrified at what I found. The place was clean and the animals seemed healthy, but it was definitely a puppy mill. What I should have done is walked away but I couldn’t leave little Hunter in that situation. I ended up bringing him home with me. He was nine months old and had never been outside a day in his life. When I put him down on the ground for the first time, he was terrified. He didn’t know what to do. I held him in my lap on the way home (a three hour trip) and thought about a name for him. He was pitiful………..shaking because he was scared and at the same time wanting to be touched. I decided to name him Hunter hoping that one day he would run free on our property, hunting, and loving life like our older Dachshund, Oscar. It took a while, but eventually Hunter began to enjoy his trips outside. One day, the little guy found his legs and began to run! He ran, and ran, and ran! I had never seen a dog run so fast in my life. It was almost as if he was flying as his back legs barely touched the ground! Now Hunter, Oscar and Zoie enjoy hunting together on our property. They will follow each other under the ground to flush out groundhogs. I have seen them working together, hunting other types of prey as well. The Dachshunds are amazing little dogs with big personalities and a fun addition to our farm.
If you have an opportunity to get a dog, I would encourage you to learn about the breeds of dogs you are interested in getting and realize that there are inherent traits that make specific breeds of dogs a better match for specific homes. Find a breed that will best fit your situation. If possible, getting a new dog from a rescue situation can be a very rewarding experience. There are so many dogs in need of a good home.