If you are the owner of a Dalmatian, you will be well-used to hearing passing comments aimed at undermining your dog and, indirectly for having chosen such a vain canine specimen, yourself. For a start the Dal is supposed to be stupid, although nobody will ever say to your face that your dog is a retard. That only happens behind your back. Euphemisms are used, so that your Dal will be ‘not very bright’, perhaps ‘daft’, also ‘not blessed with intelligence’, or maybe ‘a little bit slow’, very often ‘particularly goofy’, sometimes ‘not really there’, naturally ‘difficult to train’ and finally ‘with a bit of a small brain’. I am sure you can add your own variations to the stupid theme; over 10+ years of Dal ownership, I’ve heard them all.
Dals in their natural habitat
Despite their supposed intellectual deficiencies, my Dals understand the following commands: sit, stand, lie down, come, go, paw. Pretty standard non-deficient dog fare there. They also understand: find!, find Richie!, let’s go for a gravy bone, where is Richie?, inside, outside, dinner, breakfast, stop, off, back, leave, what do you think you are doing!, to your bed, let's go, come ooooooon, pee, pooh, pizza, fucking hell William!. Can your dog also stand on two legs and understand the difference between inside and outside when given as a command? No? Oh.
My Dals (William especially) are so in tune with us people that they will come to the bed in the morning as soon as they hear an ‘awaken’ sound, such as a stretch, a yawn or a deep sigh. William is an absolute master champion at this. He does it at night too; if anyone is awake, chances are that William will come over and have a sniff, especially if he is considering a trip to the toilet. Catching you when you are awake makes it infinitely easier.
But that’s not all, because my Dals are also mind readers. Whenever I consider moving off the bed and surreptitiously reach the kitchen, they will be right on my back. They don’t do this if I go anywhere else, I must be thinking KITCHEN. A subtle change in my heartbeat at the thought of food followed by slight over-salivation sets them off. Your dog can’t read your mind as well? That’s odd, maybe your next one.
Of course other things they don’t tell you about Dals is that they could be right in the middle of a bark-off and then sound asleep, complete with dreaming and yapping to themselves, within fifteen minutes. Victoria is a big dreamer, William is a big snorer.
The Dal rarely sulks and never holds grudges. It will always want to be right in the middle of the action, even when it looks like it’s gone away to its bed. Don’t trust a sleeping Dal; unless it is snoring, it is wide awake while keeping his eyes closed, ready to leap out of bed and rush across the house taking ornaments, tables and chairs with it whenever your thoughts of food, fridge, drink, lead or garden waft in the direction of the invisible canine satellite dish pulsating on its head.
Dals activating satellite food tracking system
Dal activating stronger satellite food tracking system
On paper, the Dal needs many miles worth of walks per week; in reality, you could end up with a Dal (or two) that barely acknowledges your departure at the front door, especially if it is wet and miserable, or warm and humid, or nippy and frosty, or anything in between. The Dal likes to rest, even when all it does is resting.
Busy Dal, only seemingly decapitated
The Dal likes to eat. A lot. Pizza and bread are favourite things, although radiator caps, stones, golf balls, hats, gloves, books and bedding are known to satisfy the appetite under the right circumstances. If you want a slim Dal, feed it very little and ensure that fridge and cupboards are shut at all times. If you want a miniature cow, feed the Dal often and lots.
The Dal is fitted with an internal biological clock that goes off every day of the year at breakfast, dinner and pee time. The Dal can be left alone around these times, but be prepared to deal with extreme situations upon your return, most notably full-venom requests spitted at you while jumping on the spot until you snap to the job. You won’t be able to talk nor think when this is happening, but that’s the price you have to pay for having left the house at the wrong sort of time.
Finally I should suggest that, if you want a companion that is reliable, constant and does what is told each and every time no exceptions, get yourself a BMW.
If you want your breakfast in bed, the slippers brought to you at the door and the paper fresh from the printers in the mornings like they show you in the movies, get yourself a butler. The added bonus to that is intact news and no dribble.