Why are dalmatians the traditional mascots of firehouses?
In the days before firehouses even existed, dalmatians were bred and trained for the specific purpose of preventing highway robbery. Dalmatians, or “coach dogs,” ran alongside of horse-drawn stagecoaches, and acted as a buffers and as bodyguards to ward off robbers, also known as highwaymen, who attempted to ambush the carriages and, quite literally, lighten their loads.
When horse-drawn fire engines arrived on the scene, firemen naturally chose dalmatians to assist them, since the breed was accustomed to running long distances, and to being around horses. Their bright white coats, covered with large black spots, made them a highly visible warning sign to bystanders and onlookers, as the dogs ran ahead of, and cleared the path for, fire engines racing towards a fire.
With technological advancement, horse-drawn fire engines became obsolete, and the need for dalmatians to clear the way for fire engines no longer existed. People knew better than to get in the way of motorized fire engines speeding towards them with blaring sirens!
Fortunately, firefighters did not fire the gentle dalmatian from his position in the department. Instead, they honored him, by adopting the breed as the official firehouse mascot. The tradition continues to this day, and dalmatians can still be spotted at some fire stations.
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