Once upon a time I was a medical student: long days at the hospital with very little sleep - only SOME of which I recuperated during the few hours I was actually IN my tiny, sometimes roach and/or mouse-infested apartment in an inner city. I couldn't complain. Splurging on a more luxurious apartment (as some of my peers were brave enough to do) was not conducive to easing the burden of my ever-increasing student loans. So as the saying goes, I "made lemonade". A little help from my parents. A little pleading with the landlord to make some "essential" repairs. A few trips to the K-Mart Supercenter and a little elbow grease. Over time, I carved my own little "fortress of somnolence" out of the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the city. It wasn't "home", but it was close enough. Besides, Mom's home-cooking, my favorite restaurants, and my good ole bed were only an hour train ride back to the 'burbs on weekends.
It was on one such trip that I met a man in the parking lot of a pizzeria while waiting for my order. He pulled in, driving a well-traveled station wagon with flattened cardboard boxes stacked haphazardly over the folded seats and cargo area. He gunned the accelerator to beat an oncoming car, and the failing suspension of his vehicle caused it to lurch from side to side rather violently as he parked - plastering some of the boxes flush onto the wagon's side windows. As he opened the door there was a loud creak - the origin of which was unclear. Was it the door hinge, or the faulty suspension struggling to support the man's rotund frame? He pivoted, swinging his thick legs out. But before his feet touched the ground there was a flash of black, followed almost immediately by a flash of tan that emanated from his wagon. I scanned the parking lot but could find nothing. My attention was then drawn to some commotion in the grass just in front of the restaurant's window. Two short-haired Miniature Dachshunds (one black and tan, the other red) were wrestling and chasing each other in full view of the patrons within. "Eh, I been comin' here for years. Dey know me a'ready" he said in a thick Brooklyn accent, shrugging his shoulder.
I was fixated on the little hotdogs as they romped around in the grass, and found myself smiling as I watched. The little kid in me was re-awakened. I had not been this entertained by dogs since the German Shepherd I had in grade school.
The man and I struck up a conversation, during which he mentioned that his daughter bred Miniature Dachshunds for several years before selling all of her dogs to a friend in Ohio. His own dogs were from his daughter. "Can't have just one. They do better in pairs" he said. He gave me a business card, inviting me to call him if I was interested in a Dachshund.