Hello, My name is Chris Aranowski and I live in Mars, Pa which is about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh. I have had dalmatians since 1996 and all that have lived with me give me such enjoyment that I can’t seem to have just one :) Currently, I have 5 dalmatians, BJ (12) – a rescue that was emaciated when I took him in. Bella (6), who is a beautiful double blue eye girl who is a s sweet as cotton candy. Ryder (5), my first show dog and what a ride he has taken me on! Bella and Ryder came from from my dear friend Barb Allison from Rim Rock Dalmatians in Latrobe PA. Next is Bridgette (4) who is co-owned by another dear friend Jeff Gillespie and myself. Jeff lives in Ashtabula, Ohio a. Jeff’s kennel name is Siobahn Dalmatians. AND last but not least in anyway is the newest addition to the clan – Guinness, (4 months) a Ryder son who is an LUA dalmatian.
I thought I would share with you what started my love for dalmatians. Hope you enjoy the read.
Written in 2010
Diary of a Mad Dalmatian Lover
It all started innocently enough…a kind and wonderful aunt who wanted to do something memorable for her five year old nephew. (I am the kind and wonderful aunt, Chrissy Aranowski, Pittsburgh, PA) I had been promising my nephew something special for his birthday and bought him a gorgeous, Dalmatian puppy. For reasons that I still don’t understand (allergies, a mean older sister – his mother) I was told in no uncertain terms that it would not be a good idea. So I did the only thing that I could do…I kept the puppy and named her Lexie. This definitely was not on my agenda. My career required travel and a great deal of pressure. Working for Bayer Corporation in their polymers division, I had little time for a new puppy in my life but those big eyes won me over. So began my life, 17 years ago, as a Dalmatian obsessive.
Lexie was the joy of my life. We did everything together. When Lexie was only seven months old we were involved in a serious car accident caused by a drunk driver. She hit and cracked the windshield and from that time on the bond became unbreakable. She was so protective of me that she would not let the police take me from the car. I kept telling them not to hurt my dog. We both came out of the accident with new, even deeper feelings for each other. She wanted my undivided attention at all times and I pretty much gave it to her. With Lexie I could never get through a phone call without her complaining. She had personality plus and was the most loyal dog I had ever seen. With all due respect to Caesar, she never, never understood the Alpha concept.
I decided that maybe another Dal would help and proceeded to get a rescue dog named Cassidy. Cassidy was the exact opposite of Lexie. His nickname was Perry (after Perry Como) because he was so laid back. Cassidy had incontinence issues. He developed urinary stones and we tried every medication to try and help. When my sister would stay overnight to watch the dogs she would leave the back slider open so that he could come and go as he needed. Not such a good idea during Pittsburgh winters. Cassidy also wanted to be with me at all times. He, however, understood the Alpha concept and Lexie still ruled the roost. Cassidy eventually developed doggie dementia and went to Rainbow Bridge in September of 2007 one week later, Lexie followed him. She had fought a long and valiant fight against cancer. I still miss them.
While Lexie and Cassidy were still with me, in 2004, I adopted another Dal…so then there were three. He had been dumped out of a truck and found his way into my girlfriend’s driveway…nearly starved. My sister didn’t like him at first. After all, he was so different from my other two Dals. He was not very trusting, needed to eat by himself, and became very territorial at feeding time but I always loved him. One day, this past summer, while my sister was lying on the sofa, B.J. crawled up on top of her and placed his head on her shoulder. Needless to say my sister is now one of his biggest fans. Funny how these Dals seem to win people over. Perhaps that is why I am so wild for Dals…they never give up and remain loyal to the end.
I knew that I wanted another puppy and found a breeder named Barb Allison in Latrobe, PA. In November of 2007 I got Bella…a double blue eyed Dal with bilateral hearing from Ashtabula, Ohio. She is the epitome of a lady…sweet, gentle, and manners that are impeccable. Everyone loves her and she knows it. This is where my madness deepens. I joined the Greater Pittsburgh Dalmatian Club. Bella’s breeders Barb Allison and Jeff Gillespie sponsored me. The nicest people, the best dogs, and lots of laughs and learning is a constant. It doesn’t get any better…but it did.
In 2008, my very good friend Barb was having another litter and I wanted to get another girl. Barb told me that she had a very special boy that she did not want to go to a pet home. She asked if I would be willing to take him and SHOW him. The idea intrigued me. I would try this new world of SHOW and the worst that could happen is that I would have another wonderful dog and be back to three. So, in November of 2008 Ryder came into my life and so did the world of the dog show. I have had lots of support from two great mentors, Barb Allison and LaDonna King. We stepped into the ring, a first for both of us in March of 2009 at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. Ryder was 6 months and 4 days old and walked away with a three point major.
I was hooked and the madness continues. At 15 months old and after 26 shows, Ryder ended up with 3 majors and 15 reserves. He never finished any lower than 2nd. In between the AKC shows, Ryder got his UKC Grand Championship in October, 2009. He made the Top Ten for 2009 where he is ranked 3rd and will compete in the Top Ten finals in July at the UKC Premier Show in Richmond, Indiana.
I have meet friends that will be life long, learned more than I could ever imagine, and have had fun with my Dals. If this is madness I hope never to be cured.
and the journey continues…..Welcome to SoulRyde Dalmatians.