2017-12-01 / Community

Our Best FRIENDS: Dalmatians have a place in the firetruck and in the heart

D.K. CHRISTI

For Frank Sullivan it takes only one Dalmatian to bring back his memories of firehouses and all the beautiful Dalmatians he had as mascots before he retired after 25 years of service. Today he and his wife, Janice, walk their two rescue Dalmatians and he gives them parade rides in his own antique fire truck.

However, a walk down memory lane takes only a step into the museum room at his home where he is surrounded by Dalmatian mementos and souvenirs from years spent as a firefighter.

Buddy will be 1 year old in July, the new guy on the block. His previous family’s condo wasn’t suited for him. He’s about 44 pounds. Dallas is 7 years old and weighs 85 pounds. They have the distinctive Dalmatian coloring. Both are purebred. “My mascot Dalmatians (also) were rescue dogs,” said Sullivan.

According to the retired firefighter, Dalmatians are not for everybody. He said that historically, Dalmatians ran with the horses that pulled the fire engine wagons. They were considered “coach” dogs and stayed with the horses in the stables. After fire wagons were mechanized, Dalmatians became mascots and the icon of the fire service. Sullivan said George Washington owned a Dalmatian.


Buddy likes to stand on his brother Dallas, or anything or anyone for that matter, for a better view. Buddy likes to stand on his brother Dallas, or anything or anyone for that matter, for a better view. Dalmatians accompany teachers of fire prevention and children love them. In fact, Sullivan wrote a children’s book about another Dalmatian he owned, also named Buddy. It is titled “Buddy Leads the Way.”

Sullivan suggests that some owners consider Dalmatians “hyper” due to their high energy. These dogs need socialization. Many show up in rescue organizations. However, once socialized, they are great with children and as visitors in hospitals.

Sullivan had a golden retriever that was Dallas the Dalmatian’s friend. Dallas was so lonely when the golden retriever died that Sullivan brought the new Buddy home. Dallas had become a mellow house dog who was obviously grieving. Buddy perked him up. Buddy is enrolled in obedience classes and is a sweet puppy.

Sullivan believes the dogs are too large to take traveling or dining out. They have a great yard and he and his wife walk the two dogs every night. Buddy and Dallas instinctively sit by the door at 7 p.m., ready for their walk.

Buddy and Dallas have their own couch with a cover on it. They are very affectionate and want to crawl into their owners’ laps. They are just too big. Guests are likely to receive a show of affection from both dogs – and both Buddy and Dallas are great with the grandchildren.

Although they can swim, it is not their strong suit. They just don’t like the pool. Sullivan thinks that perhaps Dallas was soured on the idea when he fell into a canal.

Our Best Friends

If you have a dog that you think is particularly wonderful, contact us at info@swspotlight.com and he or she could be the next dog featured in this column.

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