von Rich Webb
Ok, the folks at Disney have done it again. You've seen the movie (or at least you've seen the commercials), and now, like the lemming that you are, you figure that you've gotta get you one of them there spot dogs, a dalmation of your very own...
First off, it's spelled Dalmatian, and they are a difficult breed to own. More than likely, you've got kids, and they started doing that jumping up and down crying thing that they do so well, wrapping you about their little finger. You're just amazed that they can turn their heads away from the Tube of Oblivion long enough to communicate with you about their wants...
Remember Cabbage Patch Dolls t.m.? Remember Mighty Morphine Power Rangers t.m.? Remember last years Next Big Thing? Your kids demanded, and you provided, and now the toys are broken and abandoned in the corner. Sure, you gotta get your kids a dalmatian, but this gift is gonna be different. Dalmatians bite back....
Don't do it. Don't get your kids a dalmatian, or any other kind of dog for that matter, for christmas. Wanna know why?
They are territorial. They are grumpy. And they bite. Will your kid be the next victim of the killer Dalmatian? I quote now from the Dec 2 edition of U.S. News and World Report. On page 78, there is a quote from Benjamin Hart, an animal behavior specialist at the University of California at Davis. He says, "If someone said I could only have a Dalmatian or a Doberman around my grandchildren, I would get the Doberman."
In their defense, they are very smart dogs. Almost too smart. They are also very beautiful. Mine farts a lot and is food obsessed. I love her very much, but she and her kind are not for everybody. I walk mine twice a day, and my wife gets in one more. Every day, rain or shine, snow and ice on the ground, it don't matter. Why? Because dalmatians are one of those kind of dogs that needs, loves, HAS to run. Every day. The walls of our house used to shake, rattle and roll when emergency spare dog B (Beemer, the wonder border collie) used to chase primary dog S (Sophie, the slovenly dalmatian) around the house. Then they would turn about, reverse course, and the chaser would become the chase-ee. Sophie is getting old now, so this doesn't happen as often, nor does it last as long, as it used to.
I'm told that no home page is complete without a picture of a boy and his dog.
We got Sophie from the pound in 1989, (I can always remember because the Boeing Machinists were on strike that fall), and the vet guessed that she must have been about four years old then. That means that she's about thirteen or so now (depending on when you read this). She'd recently had a litter of puppies, and our guess is that she escaped, and was out looking for food to feed her tiny charges. That food obsession has haunted us ever since. If my psychopathic neighbor up the street ever wanted to kill the dog without it being known who did it, a bit of poison in a tasty tidbit would do the trick quite nicely. Food rarely touches the sides of the dog's throat on the way down, and we have different ideas of what food is. Fortunately, we've got Sophie pretty well convinced that the cat (Brie) doesn't qualify.
I don't suppose that I've convinced you. This may be a rant page, but I'm under no illusion that I can change anybody's mind about anything. So go ahead and get a dog. Get a dalmatian if you have to. Just be aware that the puppy mills have been churning out product at a furious pace, getting ready for the demand of dogs that this commercial disguised as a movie is going to create. Be careful. One in ten dalmatians are deaf, due to over- and in-breeding. A similar percentage are going to suffer from a deformity of the hip. You're going to have to build a fence, because if they see the horizon, they wanna go there. And dalmatians are indoor dogs. You've got to walk them every day for the lifetime of your dog. And commit yourself to neutering or spaying your dog, as perhaps ten-thousand unwanted dogs are put to sleep every day in this country alone.
The Dalmatian Overpopulation Taskforce to Educate, Research & Save, a.k.a. DOTTERS has a home page that is an excellent resource for finding out more about this very demanding breed.
For information on rescuing these dogs, contact Dalmatian Rescue Resources for a page on general info on the breed as well as availability of rescuable dogs.
For more information on animal welfare in general, and taking good care of your dog in particular, check out the home page of the Humane Society of the United States.
If you simply MUST have one, look for one in the local pound, or search for a reputable breeder through an organization such as the Dalmatian club of America.
But go back to first principles. If you want a dalmatian bad enough, wait a few months. I predict that thousands of these dogs will be showing up in dog pounds across America by summer, discarded pets who have become too much for their owners. Wait till then, and rescue a dog who might otherwise be put to death. Don't contribute to the problem now, but become part of the solution later. Think about it...
Nothing else that I've written has generated such intense feeling. Nobody cares about property taxes. Nobody cares about beer. But dogs? For a continuation of the discussion about this rant, visit this page.
This article was written by Rich Webb (aka the Outsider) - Thanks a lot for it! I fully agree and think it's the perfect answer for people asking wheter they should buy a dalmatian or not. Please visit his page http://home1.gte.net/richwebb and read also the other great articles, especially the ongoing dalmatian discussion!
The article was last modified on March 4, 1998, and has been viewed countless times.