The American Vision Arts Institute, Inc.


The AVAI's Long Island Dalmatian Rescue & Education

Le Blanc et Noir

   The AVAI, Inc. began the Rescue and Education portion of its arts program in 1996 at the on-set of a deluge of Dalmatian puppies created by breeders and puppymills as a result of  the Disney films, musicals and media frenzy.  As an arts and media program we know first-had what the media can do both positively and negatively to influence mass behavior.  Subsequently, new owners came with preconceptions and stereotypes about the breed.  Many chose not to deal with this new found reality about a great dog and relinquished them to shelters or left them on streets.  Our first representative for the breed came from a Nebraskan breeder where they apparently grew them large-sized.  Our boy Jackson Zen Sparks grew up around lots of our cables and equipment, students, camera and sound men, artists, writers and many other dogs.  Jax passed away in August 2008 at the age of thirteen.  We miss him every day.  Others came to our rescue.  One of ours was left in a blizzard and another on a small island off our 100+ miles of Long Island coastline.  We live in an age where our fast pace creates a throw-away society, but we believe in the power of education and the public's ability to show compassion, understanding and generosity.

      Dalmatians are super dogs capable of remarkable insight, intelligence and affection.  Historically, they may have originated as the ancient Egyptian paintings suggest, in the Pharoah's dominion, and the Greeks employed them in hunting due to their ability to hunt independently.  While the modern Dal is said to be a product of what is now Croatia, the British cultivated the current breed type.  George Washington was the first American owner and breeder.  Dals were bred for hunting and guarding but later were seen as coach and horse-regulating dogs, and were used in entertainment groups such as the Gypsy caravans.  If they were modern gymnasts, they would be the "all-around men" -- in a word -- versatile!  They are often referred to as "wash and wear dogs" because of their easy maintenance, but they do shed.  While they can often appear aloof or distant, they crave one-to-one attention from their guardian and show a good deal of affection in return.  As they say, a Dal cannot hold his "licker" and can be quite the 'Velcro' dog.  Dalmatians are born white, developing their spots in the first few weeks.  They have spots inside their mouths, in their ears and between their toes.  It is said that Dals bear the markings of a certain "famous mouse", but all manner of images can be seen in the spotted configurations.  They need moderate exercise and some are prone to uric acid bladder stones, but are generally healthy.  Their average lifespan is between nine and thirteen years.  Oh, yes and we love them!!!


   The AVAI's purpose is not only to educate the public through public appearances at schools, publications and behavioral training and general animal communication, but also to act as a rescue conduit for Dalmatians in the Long Island area.  Many of the programs can be adapted to apply to any dogs, purebred and mixed alike.  Soon we hope to be able to add a deaf dog program to our existing offerings.  While we have not seen many deaf Dalmatians in this area, deafness is a genetic defect in many white breed dogs, and other parts of the country are faced with this issue.

 Our most recent concerns:

     Three Dals in the Oyster Bay-Syosset Shelter (516) 677-5784.

Gabby is a 14 year old sad and lonely black and white female (see below) and Sugar and Spice are young deaf liver-spotted girls who know hand signals and are very, very smart.  They are three of six dogs brought to the shelter as a result of the death of a beloved music teacher.  The owner was diabetic and survived a house fire in early summer due to the quick thinking of her Dals who pulled her to safety.  In August she was about to go into diabetic shock, but was alerted by her Fox Terriers.  She called 911 but sadly perished when she fell and hit her head.  Please consider fostering or adopting these girls.  The two youngsters are part of probate.  They originally came from a very kind and good breeder in California.

Postscript:  As of November 1, 2010, all three Dals have been adopted!!!  The best news is that Gabby is no longer emaciated and found a good home!  More are in need in our area.

For further information, to volunteer or  to make a donation---

e-mail us:

or call: (631) 462-4995                            

For other interesting and unique information on the breed see also: -  e Dalmatians Magazine