Fire Hydrant Art

fire hydrant painted like a dalmation

Most of the fire hydrants around town are painted red or yellow, but we found this one painted as a dalmation (as seen in Glen Ridge, NJ). It’s kind of a nice, whimsical change from the standard look. But it made us wonder – why are dalmations always associated with fire stations and firefighters? There are several theories:

  • In the time of firefighting with horse-drawn wagons, dalmatians cleared the streets for the oncoming pumpers by running out in front and barking.
  • With the horse-drawn wagons, there was a problem of the horses being extremely afraid of fire. The presence of the dalmatians was a needed distraction for the horses, allowing the firefighters to get close enough to do their job.
  • Protection from theft: while the men were battling the fires, the dogs patiently guarded the equipment in the wagon.
  • The firehouse dog’s ability to catch and kill rats has also been another valuable asset to a firehouse.
  • Why a dalmation rather than any other dog? The distinctive spots of the Dalmatian made it easy for the horses to distinguish it from other dogs, so it made sense to stick with the same kind of dog for the firehouse.

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