This past weekend I attended the first annual Washington-Metro Dachtoberfest in Frederick, Maryland. There were lots of fun events, informative presentations and vendors selling everything from hand-made leashes and dog beds to gourmet dog cookies and custom-made dog portraits. Essentially, it was long, short and wirehaired nirvana for those of us who spend far too much time with, and way too much money on, our Dachshunds.
It was hard not to be impressed by the sight of 500 Dachshunds strutting about as if each and every one of them was top dog. But it was also sort of silly. I mean, we are talking Dachshunds here. Not exactly the prototypical dog. At no point during the day did my gaze rise above eight inches from the ground. To the eye of a non-Dachshund owning person, it probably looked like nothing more than a Hebrew National trade show gone horribly wrong. But to those of us who have given our hearts and a not insignificant portion of our lives to them, it was simply wonderful. I’ve never seen so many genuine, ear-to-ear smiles under one roof.
Lots of folks who had already purchased Hounded beforehand came to the Dachtoberfest for the sole purpose of having me sign their copy, in particular, a woman from South Carolina. She was so excited to meet me and Melissa and Emily and, of course, Maya and Molly (Baxter didn’t make the trip). She said she felt as if she had known us for years. She even insisted on having her picture taken with me, with the dogs – even with Emmy and Melissa. As she and I chatted I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Melissa was talking with her husband. After they had walked away Melissa came up to me.
“You have no idea what you did for that woman,” she said.
“I know,” I replied, “she went on and on about how much she loved the book. It was so nice to hear that.”
“No, you don’t understand. Her husband told me that your book has meant so much to her, like, really so much to her and how it’s positively impacted her life. You should have seen his face while he was talking, he was really emotional about it.”
“Wow,” was all I could muster in response.
I sold and signed a lot of books that day, and every stroke of my pen was filled with sincere appreciation for what those people gave to me during those few hours – and it had nothing to do with money. In fact, after travel expenses, boarding Baxter and the cost of the books (yes, we authors have to pay for our own books), attending the Dachtoberfest actually cost me money. But, that’s not why I went in the first place. I went because I wanted to be around people like me. People who love Dachshunds. And I was around them. Enveloped by them. And each and every one of them made my day.
I left Maryland in the red. But so very rich.