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While studying at Warsaw University, I was job shadowing as part of my course requirements. One of the clinic clients brought a miniature wire haired dachshund for treatment. The prognosis was not good and the owner asked to put little Beza to sleep. I could not find it in my heart to do this and pleaded with my colleague to convince the owner to let me take Beza and look after her. Little Beza went everywhere with me from then on and became well learned by attending all my classes in my book bag. She would nuzzle up to me when the classes went on for too long and I would sneak her onto my lap under the desk. If my lecturers ever noticed, they never said anything. When she died two years later, I was unable to ever consider not having one of these charismatic, energetic dogs in my life.

Another advantage of the breed that I discovered while she was living with us, was the positive affect she had on my father's allergies. His severe allergies were not triggered by Beza's presence, as would the proximity of other dogs, but only when he touched her. Miniature wire haired dachshunds do not shed hair and, while not hypo allergenic, are less irritating for allergic pet owners.

I was heart broken when Beza passed on, and it affected my personal and study life. My father came to me late one night said 'Come with me.' He would not tell me where we were going. When we arrived at our destination, he turned to me and said, 'Go in and choose a puppy and don't come out until you have one.' And so Sznurowka (translation: shoe lace) entered my life as my father's attempt to pull his daughter right. It worked, of course, as my father knew me very well. Sznurowka was my first champion show dog, and we had enormous fun travellling to the shows and wherever else I went. She came with me to Vancouver, Dubai and finally Cape Town. I still remember her bounding over the snow in Poland that was twice as deep as she was. She would disappear for short periods and then leap into the air as she followed after me. She passed away in 2011.

The house was full of dogs, but much of the character had left. My husband understood that Sznurowka was also one of my last links to my father who had now passed away. We decided to import a dog from the same line and wanted to find a dachshund in Poland that would be able to take the head of our four legged family and warm me at night. And so Linka came to South Africa. A year later Ptys arrived to be Linka's companion and they have lived happily ever since.

All our Great Danes were swiftly put in their place by Linka and realise that they exist at Linka's pleasure.

Beza discovers an acceptable alternative chew toy. Mommy had better not mind or there will be trouble.

Beza takes flight

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