Polka-Dot Dog

With his colorful history and adaptable nature, there's more to the Dalmatian than just that coat.

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Cricket, a 10-year-old Dalmatian, had never really been exposed to children before particularly small, crying ones. Nevertheless, when faced with owner Norma Baley's colicky, inconsolable baby grandson Ryan, she knew exactly what to do.

"Here's Ryan fussing on the rug, and we notice Cricket lying near him," recalls Baley, a veteran breeder in Illinois. "She kept moving closer, then draped one leg over him as if trying to nurse and comfort him, and he stopped crying."

Although the Dalmatian's elegant, spotted beauty has captured the attention of aristocracy, circus crowds, and fire departments over its history, what truly enamors those who live with this breed goes beyond that distinctive skin: a loving, empathic nature combined with intelligence and a sense of humor.


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