When we sadly had to say goodbye to Toby, we had to decide whether we should consider another friend. We weren’t getting any younger, indeed our eightieth birthdays were quickly approaching, but our household has always included a dog, and our family were insistent that we were still young enough to enjoy a four legged companion.
On the Dalmatian Welfare site, the eyes of a slim Liver spotted dog with the whimsical name of Domino, seemed to reach right into mine and I was hooked. Mothers Day 2014, found us at the showground in Staffordshire to meet Ian who was to manage the hand over. An hour later and we had Domino home, and within five minutes it was as if he had always been our dog, following me around and trying to climb onto my husband’s lap to cover him in licks.
We were warned that he didn’t like postmen, but that was before he met ours. Ours walks his round with “treats for the dogs” in his pocket. In no time at all Domino was to be adept at tracking him down at different places in the village, for another treat of course, as he and my husband progressed on their morning walk.Our families bonded with Domino from the very first meeting, and he was adept at giving them his winning “Dalmatian Grin” and sharing himself amongst them to his best advantage.We took him to buy a new bed, and he showed his approval by climbing into it on the way home and from then on, lying in it at every opportunity.
We didn’t think Dalmatians could swim, but Domino was to surprise us by launching himself into the sea, with my husband fearing he would have to jump in to rescue him. On the way back from that holiday we diverted to Islip in Oxfordshire, to take part in the Dalmatian Welfare Fun Day. What a time we all had. All those rescued Dalmatians with their devoted owners, he strutted around taking part in everything. How proud we were when he responded to the dog handler as she demonstrated with him, “how to lead your dog”, trotting along at the side of her as if “to the Manor Born.” We nearly burst with pride when he was chosen by the judge Sara Green, as the dog the judge would “most like to take home” and his rosette hangs above his bed as a reminder.
We learned to be aware, that any food was fair game to Domino, and standing on his hind legs it was amazing how far he could reach. Likewise he liked chasing pretty much anything that moved, which proved a slight worry as our families all have cats, and so we learned to be prepared to check him. Our wild garden was a joy to him and Squirrels with their constantly waving tails, he found irresistible, which sadly was to be his downfall. We had had four inches of snow, and to Domino’s joy, a Squirrel jumped from the bird table into thick snow and was slower than normal to disappear up a tree. Giving chase, Domino was to injure his spine, and although we rushed him to a surgeon, the prognosis and expectation of recovery was such, that we were advised and indeed agreed for his sake, we should make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye.
We enjoyed him for almost a year, but what a fun packed time we all had. He bonded with us completely and used to herd us both onto the settee where he would squeeze between us with that satisfied grin on his face. For yes, he was a “Smiler”. Thank you Anne and Dalmatian Welfare, we are so glad you found him for us.
José & Alan Frisby.