Have you seen the movie ‘101 Dalmatians?’ Remember the cute cuddly spotted puppies scampering around and performing tricks? Well, if you loved the movie, here’s some news for you – Disney is coming out with yet another puppy-filled movie and it is going to be called ‘102 Dalmatians’ – a sequel to the original movie.

No Dalmatians Please
No Dalmatians Please [Illustration by Anup Singh]
Dalmatians are believed to have originated in Dalmatia (now in Croatia, Europe), long, long ago. While no one is quite sure when the Dalmatian first appeared, what is commonly known about the dog is, it is pure white at birth and develops black spots within a few weeks.

Just like the original movie, the sequel is expected to attract countless children (and grown-ups) who will throng theatres to catch a glimpse of these loveable dogs. However, not everyone is pleased to hear that yet another Dalmatian movie is in the pipeline. Animal protection groups fear the sequel will be harmful for real life Dalmatians. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Well, last year when the original Dalmatians movie was released many moviegoers fell in love with the onscreen puppies and rushed off to buy a Dalmatian pup for their loved ones. Unfortunately, taking care of Dalmatians is not an easy task for the frisky little puppies grow up to be huge dogs. This impulsive buying meant that people did not bother to do adequate research (if at all) on the habits of the dog.

Many owners eventually discovered that they just could not manage the dogs and turned them loose or left them at animal shelters! Pet shelters across England and the United States took in a record number of Dalmatian strays about a year after the release of “101 Dalmatians”. (By then the dogs had grown and owners had begun to realise that their dog was no longer a cute puppy!)

As soon as Disney announced plans to make a sequel to ‘Dalmatians’, animal-protection groups begged the studio to prevent another rash of Dalmatian buying – and Dalmatian dumping. Disney agreed to put an advisory message on the sequel (it will appear at the end of the movie: “If you are adopting a pet, be sure that you are ready for a lifetime commitment and research your choice carefully.”).

Buying a pet is a commitment, there is much more to it. The fact is many of us want to keep a pet cat or a pet dog, and tend to ignore the accompanying needs of the dog. The net result: care, feeding, bathing, daily walks, grooming etc, are left unattended while all people want is for the dogs to remain cute and cuddly and playful.

But the best thing in keeping a dog as a pet is that it is very therapeutic and a great stress reliever. The welcome wag of the tail and the love shown more than makes up for everything.