Male, 13½ years old
In February 2014, my Dalmatian Lola died and the entire family was distraught. I had adopted Lola from British Dalmatian Welfare (BDW) in 2004 and she was loved by all. I had originally said that there was no way I was ever having another dog as I couldn’t cope with losing one again. However, I had been brought up with Dalmatians since the age of eight and as any Dalmatian family know, once you have had one, a family isn’t complete unless there is a spotty baby in the home. So in 2015 after a great deal of thought, I contacted BDW and said I would like to adopt. In August 2015, a very handsome dog, Harley came to live with me but sadly it wasn’t to be – after thirteen days of loving him, he died. At the time, it was horrendous and we (and BDW) were all shell shocked.
BDW could not have been more supportive. I received long phone calls and texts and above all reassurance that none of what had happened was my fault or could have been foreseen. I was urged to consider adopting another dog and I said I would think about it. Whilst on holiday in October, messages were flying backwards and forwards between Valerie and myself. She had found me a lovely dog and would I like him? Dom ticked all my boxes and I seemed to be right for him. “Gotcha Day” was arranged! So early in the morning on 24th October we set off from the south east and travelled to Devon to collect Dom. He was just as described ‘quite a big boy but very gentle’.
During the first few days, I had serious doubts that I was the right person for Dom but Valerie very patiently talked me through my fears and offered me sound advice. One of my fears was the fact that Dom had pulled me over and I was worried about walking him. I was told not to walk him but to exercise him in the garden and work on his recall until I felt more confident. It soon became obvious that Dom will do anything for food, but he is very well mannered in the house and does not ‘counter surf’ or steal. He settled very quickly into the home routine and is a happy inquisitive boy. He plays happily with my three year old grandson and welcomes all visitors to the house. He is very good with other dogs and is not bothered by cats and rarely barks!
As I have mentioned, when he arrived he was ‘quite a big boy’ – at his first weigh in he was just under 37kgs! It was time for the ‘d’ and ‘e’ words! I put Dom on the Burns Weight Control + diet and he has done very well. I was advised to feed him according to his target weight and to very slowly reduce the amount in his meals. He now weighs 30kgs and looks a great deal healthier. In fact he was Burns Slimmer of the Month! Exercise is not such a worry now as he walks much better on the lead and because he is so good with other dogs he uses up a lot of energy playing.
Dom has only been with me for four months but I cannot imagine life without him. It is wonderful to have him greet me in the morning and on returning to the house, I am welcomed home and always given a toy. He has become a bit of a celebrity – recently I saw some wonderful prints of Dalmatians but was disappointed that there were no liver spotted Dalmatians in the prints so I wrote to the artist and asked if she would ever consider doing a picture with a liver spotted Dalmatian. She very kindly asked me to send her some photos for inspiration and so Dom became her model. A local photographer contacted me recently as he had heard of Dom through a friend and he asked if he could use Dom as one of the Dalmatians in his entry for a competition! Dom went for his photo shoot and was told he was the best behaved Dalmatian. Life without Dom would be very dull and he has filled a huge void.
I am one very happy lady and Dom is one very, very special boy. I really cannot thank British Dalmatian Welfare, particularly Valerie, Kerrie, Darren and Simon, enough for allowing me to adopt, finding me Dom and being on the end of a phone to give advice and support. They are brilliant.