OT: spotty dogs

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Nov 5 12:30:05 EST 2003

The Knowledge Pika exclaimed:

>> Did the doggist believe in rule by dogs?  :-)  I
>> can see that as being a bit iffy: dalmatians of
>> my acquaintance would require their human subjects
>> to spend all day being available to be licked!
>> They always seem to have that as their idea of
>> what people are for (in the gaps between feeding
>> them and taking them for ten-mile walks).
>Oh wow! I haven't known any Dalmations for any length of time, but I'm
>amused to find that Dalmation acquaintances share Dodie Smith's perception
>of their interactions with their pets. (Of course if you haven't read 101
>Dalmations that comment makes no sense, in which case you should hie to
>the children's section of the library and read it...)

As we know, the humans are the Dalmatians' pets, not the other way about.

If you have read the book with its original illustrations, you'll have seen
that the illustrator too knew dalmatians well.  The picture of Missus
investigating the broom-cupboard is purely and exactly the way a dalmatian
looks when he or she has caused something to fall with a clatter.

The original film of *101 Dalmatians* got some things spectacularly wrong
(the Regent's Park, for instance, is not Victorian neo-Gothic but
neo-Palladian, and it looked decidedly strange as the former) but did get
one thing completely and utterly right: the dalmatians' gait on their epic
run into Wuffolk.  Dalmas canter and gallop as a horse does, rather than
running like a greyhound with their front and back legs together and
crossing at every stride.  A dalmatian approaching at speed on wood floor
sounds like a demented and rather clattery cavalry charger until it tries
to corner, at which point it loses traction and slides into the wall and
looks very embarrassed.

We had dalmas for most of my early life, after the death of the dachshund
Rumpelstiltzken, who brought me up till I was six and taught me how to
cross roads and chase rats and other Important Life Skills.  Dodie Smith
was spot on (ouch) in her portrayal of the breed.  Or at least, the five I
have shared house-room with have all been very like the ones she wrote.


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