Friday, August 3, 2012


This July, one of my creative writing students, Jada, wrote a splendid story using Dalmatians as her MUSE. Her story was so delightful that the Dalmatian became my MUSE, too.

I told Jada that my favorite childhood companion was a Dalmatian and that her story helped playback in my memory some very happy times. She also inspired me to dig a little deeper on this MUSE. And maybe some of you will be inspired to write a Dalmatian story, too.

Here is what I uncovered:

We’ve all seen the statues of Dalmatians at firehouses across the country. And some firehouses actually have the real thing, a living and breathing Dalmatian mascot. But why are firemen so fond of this spotted canine?

Come to find out, Dalmatians have a great affinity for horses. And in days-gone-by, horse drawn fire wagons were used instead of trucks. Dalmatians would clear the path for their hooved friends, and they would stay back and keep these horses calm once the fire was reached. Horses are no longer needed to combat fires these days, but the Dalmatian is still symbolic for firefighting.

Dalmatians have a long history as horse and buggy companions. In fact, the English have nicknamed the Dalmatian “The English Coach Dog or The Carriage Dog”.

The earliest proven record of the Dalmatian comes from its namesake – Dalmatia, a region of Croatia. These records date back to the mid 1700’s. However, just because there are no earlier records does not mean that the Dalmatian did not exist further in history. Some believe that an ancient Egyptian engraving of a spotted dog, near a coach is that of a Dalmatian. It would make sense, wouldn’t it?

Dalmatians became very popular as a household companion with the release of the Disney animated film, 101 Dalmatians, released in 1961. These spotted pups became even more popular with the release of a live action adaptation in 1996. But did you know that both of these films are adaptations of a book? The Hundred and One Dalmatians was published in 1956 by English writer, Dodie Smith.

Dodie Smith created the “pelt-happy” Cruella De Vill, and the spotted protagonist, Pongo.

Speaking of spots, did you know that Dalmatian puppies are born spot-less? Dalmatians’ spots do not appear until about a month after birth.

If you are thinking about getting a Dalmatian as a household companion, make sure you consult the The Dalmatian Club of America, first. Here you will find great information about this Spot-tacular breed.

Also, here are some fun fire prevention games and activities brought to you by the National Fire Protection Association and their Dalmatian mascot, Sparky.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF you told a story through the perspective of a Dalmatian who is afraid of fire?

WHAT IF your Dalmatian main character is approaching his/her first birthday, yet they have no spots?

WHAT IF your main character wants a Dalmatian more than anything in the world, but his/her parents are allergic to dogs?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “pelt”. Here is the definition: the untanned hide or skin of an animal.

Photo Credits:
Photo #1: Fifth World Art
Photo #2: Dawn Endico
Photo #3: Disney

1 comment:

  1. what if Dalmatians didn't have spots?
    what if there was only 101 Dalmatians in the world?
    what if Dalmatians didn't bark?
    what if Dalmatians were only police dogs?
    what if Dalmatians could sing?
    what if Dalmatians where only black?
    what if Dalmatians were kings and queens of "dogopolis"?
    what if Dalmatians never barked?
    what if Dalmatians could never die?
    what if Dalmatians never got ticks on themselves?
    what if Dalmatians could swim really fast?
    what if Dalmatians were known as national dogs of fire stations?
    what if Dalmatians were invisible?
    what if there was no such things as Dalmatians?
    what if Dalmatians could become a person?
    what if Dalmatians didn't have fur?
    what if Dalmatians never caught on fire?
    what if Dalmatians loved to paint their nails?
    what if Dalmatians were smarter than albert einstien?
    what if Dalmatians could talk?