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von hole digger/ noun

Tenaciously loyal, mischievous thrill seekers, hearty champions of their clan, able to catch food in a single leap. Come in all shapes and sizes, adored by all.  Mighty defenders of their universe.


It all began with Tommy.  Tommy was an English Springer Spaniel who won the heart of his owners who were grieving the loss of their beloved Maggie. Tommy tolerated his owners adoration. He was patient, loving and wise. Still, Tommy knew the circle was incomplete. His people had such big hearts but did not suffer fools gladly. He knew he was special, and so were they. Tommy went everywhere with his parents and attended fun events all across Detroit. Tommy thought every parade, every concert, even the annual lighting of Christmas trees was in his honor. Thus, he was knighted Sir Thomas Von Holedigger.

Detroit Skyline

The times were changing. People were leaving Detroit to chase their dreams. Enter Birki. (short for Birkenstock) Birki was soon to be homeless as his family was leaving the area and sadly couldn’t take Birki with them. Honey Bear & Precious Flower were quick to take Birki in. Birki was a Rottweiler mix and a sizeable fellow. Tommy welcomed his new sidekick and they became thick as thieves.

One day on his way to work, Honey Bear was driving down the freeway and noticed a dog lying on the inside median of the road. As he was saying a silent prayer for the animal, it’s eyes popped opened! Honey Bear quickly pulled to the shoulder, ran across the four lane highway and scooped up the frightened animal. The vet said that it appeared she had been thrown from a car. Honey Bear took the dog home and Freeway Frieda joined their happy home.

The house they all dwelled in was on a corner lot. Down the street from a school in Detroit.
The children in the neighborhood were not educated in empathy. They antagonized stray dogs and cats. One lovable stray was a glutton for punishment. He just wanted attention and maybe some food and water. Precious Flower did the best she could - asking the children not to jab and poke with sticks. But kids will be kids. HB & PF took the stray dog in, hoping to find it a safe home.  Needless to say, Wally was home.


Each dog in The Fab Four had unique personalities. Tommy was the noble one. Birki, was the loyal, serene canine with a tough exterior. Freeway Freida was steadfast but doubtful; having trust issues (no wonder!). Wally was the wildcard in the mix, always questioning, always searching out his place in the pack. But most of all, Wally was a true dog. He just wanted to love & be loved. 

Sunsphere in Knoxville

It was a cozy, simple, peaceful life. Then the bottom dropped out. The automotive industry went flat. HB & PF realized that this change would affect them. Kibble was running low. The brave couple and the Fab Four were soon off on an incredible journey. The house was sold. The Jeep was parked. Their belongings packed. For the better part of a year, they travelled from coast to coast in HB’s van.  It wasn’t an aimless journey;  they would know their destination when they discovered it. Well folks, that zip code turned out to be Knoxville,Tennessee. 

Almost 25 years later, the VonHolediggers have morphed into the size of a hockey team.
Seventeen members in good standing. The compound in Knoxville is totally run by the dogs. It is a rambunctious, exciting place to visit. Literally a thrill around every corner! If you are devoted, moody, playful or wise, Von Holediggers come in every size!! Our goal is to celebrate and connect with likeminded people and their dogs. Every dog can be a Von Holedigger! It’s not a club, it’s a way of life. We look forward to hearing your stories, advice and seeing pictures of other VHD’s across the nation!!



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