A Doberman And A Dalmation

When I was about 15 years old, my family of 9 (Mother, Father, 7 children, Myself being the oldest) did not have a dog at the time. We had a canary, some fish, but no puppy. Our neighbor had two dogs, a Doberman and a Dalmation. Often the Doberman would bully the Dalmation, eat its food, and attack him. Our neighbor did not take an active role in properly training and caring for the dogs either. One day, tired of the constant fighting between the two animals, our neighbor asked my father if he would take one of the dogs. My Father did not want the Doberman because he figured it was too aggressive for us children. So my Father agreed to take in the Dalmation, with reservations.

¬†Father was concerned that because of the abuse the dog suffered, it too, would not accept us children. My Father has always had a commanding presence over animals. They naturally accept him and submit themselves to his tall stature and kind demeanor, so he figured he would be able to use his “Midas Touch” with the Dalmation. But, we kids think it was our insistence that we take in the “fire-house mascot dog” Father eventually gave in. The poor animal was skinny, weak and timid. My Father let us meet him up close get a couple of pats on the head and then took him in the basement and set up a little den for him to sleep in. Meanwhile, Father also put him on a gradual diet of milk and egg whites, and nutritous dog food. After a week of the dog being in the house, becoming accustomed to the scents and sounds of his new home, Father brought our new friend up to meet us. I never saw that Dalmation so happy and eager to meet his new humans. Tail wagging so fast that he was having a hard time keeping his balance.

We all fell in love with him, Father then told us that now would be good time to name him. Earlier, he had instructed us not to begin picking names for the dog, until he had time to determine if the dog would accept us. We unanimously decided on “Snow” Afterwards our new “puppy face” went to the vet for the initial physical and passed. I still have many warm memories of Snow taking turns resting his head on our laps as we watched TV, with those big floppy ears, and big black nose and big puppy eyes; Chasing tennis balls, squirrels, and the family cat too. (I had rescued the cat, when she was a kitten, from a dumpster while delivering my paper route.) My Father often commented how relieved he was to see that the dog adjusted so well to us, he said that it was because of love no doubt. All the love we gave Snow was returned by him in every way a good dog can. He was our companion, friend, and protector too. Whenever Father took us to the park, Snow would take up the role of guardian. Watching, letting out a single bark if stangers got too close, he would also strike a pose, the kind that says “I’m here and I’m watching you.”
He lived well and long enough to make a permanent mark on my heart. His passing away is a vuage blurry moment when compared to the joy and warmth during his presence. When Snow passed away Father bundled him up in a blanket, and buried him between the apple and mulberry trees of our back yard. Snow is only one dog of three which I grew up with. The memories of Snow are some of my favorites because It was the earliest lessons I can recall learning from my Father about compassion towards animals, and how just being good to an animal makes us better overall. I only wish I still had all those pictures, I think my sister is hoarding them…Hmmmm. Being single and in the military, residing in the barracks interferes with my wishes to get a dog. I would have a German Shepherd. We had one when I was 8 and his name Lucky. I will tell that story later on. Thanks for this site Mark.

Len from NC