Holy guacamole! A dutiful farm dog from southern California not only loves to eat avocados, his unique way of 'polishing off' the pits seems to prime the seeds for germination.
Diller, one of a litter of border collies born to a pregnant rescue dog, moved to a southern California horse farm when he was just a pup. Like all active puppies, Diller immediately set out to explore his new digs. “That's where it began,” Diller's dad, Robert Moser, explained to a reporter from The Dodo.
“There were a couple of abandoned avocado trees from an old orchard a few hundred feet from our house,” added Moser. “One day I came home from work and there were two perfectly clean avocado pits sitting at the foot of my chair. They seriously looked like they had been polished.” Then Diller brought home a third pit and Moser put two and two – actually, two and one – together.
Avocados are non-toxic to canines (though they ARE poisonous to birds and sheep) so the Moser family indulged Diller's avocado-eating. He sure seemed to like the pear-shaped fruits, licking the pits so strenuously they acquired a unique sort of sheen.
Then the other shoe dropped: Moser tried to germinate one of the Diller-polished pits and to his surprise, the seed sprouted. So did the next one he tried, and the next one after that. “The seeds that he brings me almost always germinate,” stated Moser. “His special cleaning technique really does seem to make a difference, even if it is mostly motivated by a desire for a guacamole snack.”
Moser may have a point. Botanists believe avocados evolved a symbiotic relationship with ancient megafauna such as giant ground sloths, who would eat the fruit and excrete the pits along with a ready-made patch of “fertilizer”.
While Diller doesn't eat the pits (vets say the round, slippery pits are a bona-fide choking hazard, by the way), something in his saliva just may act to increase the odds of germination. In any case, the Mosers – thanks to Diller – now have so many sprouted avocado pits they're giving them away to family members, friends, and neighboring farmers.
Some of the first Diller-polished pits have already grown large enough to bear fruit of their own. “There are probably a few dozen Diller-trees throughout California nowadays,” confirms Moser, a fact that should please avocado aficionados everywhere.
Giving credit where credit is due, Moser includes a photo of Diller and a sprouted pit along with each little avocado tree he gives away. “I know the folks that have them will think of him every time they harvest. It's the sort of thought that makes you smile when it crosses your mind, you know?”