If you are a frequent visitor to our site, you know how we love celebrating anniversaries especially any form of centennial. Two of our trips this summer happened to take us to two areas that are marking the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. In June we visited 2 Dogs Long Dachshunds in Power, Montana, near Great Falls area. The Great Falls of the Missouri River was a significant area of the American epic expedition. Lewis & Clark spent more time here than at any other area of the expedition, aside from their winter camp. Our hosts, Bill & Becky Burguess, were kind enough to take us to see two of the five Great Falls.
The other location we visited that was of importance to the history of Lewis & Clark is Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home in Virginia. It was President Jefferson who commissioned Lewis & Clark to explore the vast unknown (to the white man) expanse of the western land.
I'm sure you are wondering what the heck does Lewis & Clark have to do with dachshunds you should know by now that we can pretty much relate dachshunds to just about anything somehow. But other than the fact that our Katie and Spencer came from the Great Falls area, we're not going to stretch any farther than that for a connection.
We are, however, going to tell you about our newest staff member's own expedition-like journey that began in Southern California and landed her in Northeast Ohio.
Shirley McFall is the new voice here at Dachshund Delights. She's the one who processes and packs the orders and also helps in answering phone calls and e-mails. And she even occasionally does some sewing on the Hug-A-Dog Harnesses.
Shirley's relationship with us began as a customer. She spotted our ad in Dog Fancy magazine and, like so many others, wrote to us for a catalog. That was several years ago. Neither of us really knows exactly when. She became a frequent buyer, a Dachsaholics member and contributor, and a frequent visitor to our site. I'm not sure exactly how we went from customer/business relating to friends. It just sort of happened. Perhaps because she shared stories with us about her aging doxies and she, in turn, reached out to us during our losses (both human and canine family).
One post-holiday season, she invited me to visit. I had never been to California so it was an exciting proposal. And being that I could now slow down after the holiday shopping madness, I welcomed the opportunity to leave cold NE Ohio for the warmth of sunny Southern California for a period of rejuvenation. I spent almost a week with her and her doxies and she generously took me to all the touristy things that I cared to see. By the end of the visit it was clear that we would be long-time friends.
A few months later, when it was warm in Ohio, Shirley came here. You could tell she was enjoying the slower small-town pace and the solitude and privacy of our log home and workshop located about 700 feet back in a wooded area.
Apparently we made an impression on Ms. McFall. In October of 2002, Shirley packed up her Ford Ranger truck with houseplants, doxies, and traveling necessities, hooked up her 1968 VW Beetle to a tow bar, and left Huntington Beach, Calif. In the spirit of the historical expedition, she traveled cross-country, making various stops to visit friends and points of interest along the way, to Garrettsville, Ohio. During that summer, we located a home (a log one!) on 2 acres in Hiram Township (about seven miles from here) for her to purchase. She trusted our judgment in finding a suitable residence and handling the paperwork.
And so she and her doxies Sunnie and Gracie arrived at their new home in a new land with people she had come to know through an ad in Dog Fancy.
As Shirley will tell you herself, as she was approaching age 50, she was growing increasingly unhappy with work in the corporate world and with the pace and growing population of Southern California. She was longing for privacy (hard to have when the neighbors' houses on 3 sides are only 12 feet away), a slower pace of life, and a change in her work. And she wanted more time to spend with her dogs. She loved the fact that we work here with our dogs right in the shop. And she knew that every time we talked with her on the phone, usually during work hours, she had to shut her office door to muffle the shrieks of laughter. Taking your dogs with you to work with people who make you laugh for her it seemed to be the change she was seeking.
I warned her that the pay was definitely not on the level of her corporate managing job. At this stage of her life, her sanity was more important. I warned her that we were anything but sane here. That, too, didn't frighten her as she had worked with us once already, helping to work our booth at the American Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa.
It's now 10 months since she arrived. And she's still here. She's endured our winter weather, our humid summer, her first-ever use of lawn care power tools, our extensive travel schedule, and all our efforts to test her tolerance of our craziness. She even added a dachshund to her family Dieter, Spencer's silver dapple sibling.
As for us, we're not quite sure how we ever got along without her. Her knowledge of computers, her experience in management, and her customer-service skills have been a much-needed boost to us. For me personally, I know that I can leave the office knowing the daily functions are in capable hands.
And one of the best friends I've ever had is now just seven miles away instead of nearly 3,000 miles away. I do miss those vacations to Southern California, though.