Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll find the answer.

This week we’re mixing it up. Our publisher fired off the following missive to Jeff Cowan, chief of the Keizer Fire District.

“Dear Jeff,

I had a thought.  Why doesn’t the Keizer Fire District have a fire hall Dalmatian? Are there health regulations?  I know that other fire departments in the country have them.  Is it too much of a hassle?”

Jeff replied back:

“The original concept was the Dalmatian was an early version of the siren that ran ahead of the horse-drawn and with the uniqueness of the breed, everyone knew there was a fire.

“The list is long. But hassle is the short answer.

“The Dalmatian breed has two versions: mellow and neurotic.  So you have a 50/50 risk of biting a child. We would have to fund special insurance, vet bills, food, etc. without using tax dollars. Dogs also need a special restraint system.

“We frequently leave the station unattended if we are busy, so the dog’s needs may not always be met. The maintenance of the dog must be of the highest level, so a crewmember has to be assigned and we rotate.

“I have seen a successful program with a Dalmatian up north where the dog Blaze would stop, drop and roll for the kids and ride in the engine. That dog belonged to the public education specialist and went home with them.

“My focus is on the nature of our work and a lot of energy would be diverted to the maintenance of a fire house dog.  But I know there are folks that do.

“The best in the world is a Dalmatian volunteer that keeps the fire district mascot and brings them along on fire service community event days.  I’m not against the tradition.”