Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dalmatian PR

We were invited to take some Dalmatians to the Mall of America for Toddler Tuesday. This is an event that draws 200 - 300 little kids and their caregivers, and this particular Tuesday featured a Dalmatian coloring contest, and a promotion for the Disney Dalmatian movie coming out in DVD. And real live Dalmatians to pet!
For events like this, it is important to select the most unflappable of dogs, as they will be mugged and hugged and poked and prodded, have their feet run over by strollers, and their tails and ears pulled by excited toddlers. We try to do these events whenever possible because we believe very strongly in promoting the image of Dalmatians as good family dogs and companions. Dals recieved a very bad rap following the popularity boom of the late 80s and early 90s. There were indeed lots of "bad" Dalmatians, because there were bad breeders and bad owners. (More on this later.) All the many thousands of good Dalmatians never made the news . . .

We decided to use "Stella" (OTCH Stella By Starlight UDX) bred by us and owned by Colleen Christianson, and my dog "Watson" (Ch. Paisley Pragmatic CGC). Stella is a retired obedience champion and has worked as a therapy dog. Watson is a small, sweet gentle guy with a totally unflappable personality. Both dogs were absolutely awesome, and performed flawlessly. We had a steady line of little ones coming through to pet the dogs for well over two hours, and they never stopped wagging their tails. Both dogs did tricks for the kids, and we answered questions about the breed. Many people commented on what lovely dispositions both dogs had. We got some of the "I thought Dalmatians were bad with kids" comments, while the dogs were doing their best to prove that was not the case. We just explained that there are bad dogs in all breeds, and that dogs must have inherently good dispositions and be properly socialized with children. The average well bred, properly socialized Dalmatian is an EXCELLENT family dog.

On the fishy front, I tried my hand at fish dentistry last night. Among my almost-50tanks of fish, I have two puffer fish. Edd is a green-spotted puffer, and Bucky is a South American puffer. Puffers need to eat hard foods (like snails in the shell) to keep their beaks/teeth from growing too long. When I purchased Bucky he already had the problem, and I was not able to get her to eat snails to wear her beak back. So I had to do surgery! Rather a scary process, but it was that or watch her starve to death. Clove oil is used to anesthetize fish, and beaks can be trimmed with a nail scissors. It only took a few minutes, and Bucky seems to be doing fine. Now I will hang out my shingle - "Fish Dentistry"!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Playing Catch Up Again

So much has happened in the past two weeks, with hardly a spare moment for blogging.

Violet was bred to Argus on Valentines Day - how appropriate. Babies are due April 17th, which should work out perfectly. The pups should be about 10 days old when I have to leave for DCA (the Dalmatian National). By that age they should all be strong and doing well, and Violet will still be doing all the work other than daily handling. Makes it a lot easier for poor Ron. They will be 6 weeks old when I leave for Australia to judge a Dalmatian show (and do some touristing, of course) and the pups will stay with Jess and Don for that week. Perfect timing for car rides, new surroundings, and lots of new friends. All the extra experiences will help to assure that the pups are particularly confident and well adjusted.

Hard to believe that these will not be the World's Friendliest Puppies! Violet loves everyone, and has just the type of disposition we prefer. Like Argus, and her grandpa Watson, Violet assumes that everyone is her best friend.