This was the moment young Ned realized he wasn't like the other children, nor was he like anyone else for that matter. Young Ned could touch dead things and bring them back to life.
|― The Narrator, after Ned brought Digby back to life|
Digby is Ned's Golden Retriever, who was run over by a truck and killed when Ned was nine years old. Digby was the first living creature to be brought back to life by Ned, who discovered his magical gift by touching Digby.
Digby, who is now seemingly immortal (as regards natural causes), has been alive for 19 years since his death and has shown no signs of aging, but Ned can never touch him again or he will die forever.
Death and resurrection
Ned and Digby were playing in a sunflower field in Coeur d'Coeurs when Digby ran into the street and was struck by a 18-wheeler truck, which killed him instantly. According to the Narrator, Digby was three years, two weeks, six days, five hours and nine minutes old at the time of his death, and Ned was nine years, 27 weeks, six days and 3 minutes old.
Shocked and speechless, Ned touched his deceased dog just under his left eye and, to his surprise, Digby was brought back to life. This was the first time Ned had resurrected a living creature, and was the first moment he discovered that he had the ability to bring the dead back to life. A squirrel was killed in exchange for Digby's life, unbeknownst to Ned, who did not yet realize that another life would be taken if Digby did not die again within one minute.
Separation and reunion with Young Ned
After Ned was shipped to North Thrush to the Longborough School for Boys, Digby was separated from Ned. So he often felt very lonely. But then, Digby left Coeur d'Coeurs in search of his best friend. On the way, he saw a burning building and pulled the alarm for the Coeur d'Coeurs Fire Department to come around.
Finally, Ned saw Digby running up to him in the field. For a moment, both of them forgot that they couldn't touch one another. Until they finally came close. When they did, Ned pet Digby with a wooden stick and Digby accepted that.
Life into Ned's adulthood
Digby continued to live throughout the next 19 years, during which time Ned opened The Pie Hole and entered into an arrangement with Emerson Cod in which he solves criminal cases by bringing victims temporarily to life and learning from them the circumstances of their death. Ned, however, is unable to touch Digby without killing him for good, and so he pets him using a mechanized hand, which he operates via a handle at the end of a long a stick. Ned tells others he cannot touch Digby because he is allergic to dogs.
Olive Snook, Ned's employee at The Pie Hole, often dog-sits Digby. She showers him with affection and pets him constantly, as the dog serves as a surrogate for the human connection she seeks with Ned, for whom she harbors a crush. Olive lets Digby sleep in the bed with her and lick her spoon while eating. She even danced with Digby once when she sang "Hopelessly Devoted to You" at The Pie Hole on night, when she was feeling particularly distraught over the blossoming relationship of Ned and Charlotte "Chuck" Charles.
Personality and traits
According to Olive Snook, who is unaware of Ned's gift or Digby's resurrection, Digby is a needy and neurotic because he doesn't get touched enough, although this may in part be transference.  Digby likes salt very much. Digby also seems to possess human-level intelligence, because he knew what to do when he saw a burning building, and what to do when Olive had trouble opening up the Pie Hole. He is also aware that he and Chuck cannot be touched by Ned.