Dalmatian Rescue: Q and A with Sandy Bomar

Sandy Bomar is a dispatcher for the Florida State Highway Patrol by day, and a Dalmatian foster mom by night. Photo: Treat Time (Barb Mitchell)

NEW PORT RICHIE, Fla., November 25, 2013 — From nine to five you’ll find Sandy Bomar, 65, working fulltime as a dispatch duty officer for the Florida State Highway Patrol.

After hours its little harder to spot her among all the other spots. For almost ten years now, Bomar has served as a foster mom for rescue Dalmatians, abandoned dogs that have been pulled from kill facilities and have not yet found forever homes. Most of the time she has about ten dogs in her care. Bomar loves each one as if it were her own, and tends to all their needs until the dogs are fully adopted out.

Bomar recently attended the annual Dalloween fundraiser hosted by Dalmatian Rescue of Tampa Bay, and in between hugs and pets and kisses that she doled out to the many dogs surrounding her, we chatted about how someone winds up saving literally hundreds of dogs over the years.

Sheryl Kay: Tell us about your first dog.

Sandy Bomar: I have been around dogs all my life. My Godmother used to have Boston Terriers and I loved them. My first dog was a little Shepherd mix I adopted from the local animal shelter. Her tail had been docked so we called her Stubby. She was about three years old and quite the little thief.

SK: How about your first Dalmatian?

SB: My first Dal was Dakota, the love of my life. She was a roly-poly little six week old puppy I had purchased from a family in 1994. At the time we had a young black lab and they became best friends. We would take them out for walks in the desert north of Grand Junction. One day they chased a rabbit and ended up tumbling down a small ditch right into a cactus patch. I was pulling cactus needles out of them for days. Dalmatians are very intelligent, hard headed, loving, Velcro dogs. You have to be the alpha person or they will run the house.

SK: How’d you move from owner to foster mom?

SB: About 2004 when Dakota was about nine, I decided to get another Dal to have when Dakota passed. That is when I met Susan Weber with Dalmatian Rescue Tampa Bay. I had checked Petfinder and saw Connor, a beautiful Dal mix about seven years old. His one problem other than being heartworm positive, he was deaf. Susan was so helpful, giving me a vet’s name to start Connor’s treatment. She told me about Dal Rescue and how they pulled Dalmatians from local shelters to adopt out or foster. She said they only had volunteers helping and the only money is from donations.  I just felt I wanted to help.

SK: So how did you go from three to ten, and what does your family think about all this?

SB: My mantra is, “There is always room for one more.” I have had fosters for a very short time and some for years. As much as I know the dogs are benefiting from my taking them in, I am benefiting more. My adult kids are half and half with me having a pack of Dals. My daughter loves animals and has seven dogs of her own, all rescued. My son, not so much.  

SK: Why are there are so many Dals that are either abandoned or given to shelters?  Are they “bad” dogs? 

SB: I am sure it exploded with the movie 101 Dalmatians. People didn’t realize that Dals are a lot of work, they are very hard headed and too intelligent for their own good.  They are not always good with children unless they are raised with them. As the old adage goes, there are no bad dogs, only bad owners

SK: It’s an incredibly noble thing to save a dog from the pound and bring it home to a loving foster parent.  But what is it like for you when you have to give that dog away to a forever home?

SB: I find that giving a dog that I fostered to a new home is very hard, but rewarding. You fall in love with them immediately and giving them to another home is like losing a piece of your heart. But with them going to a new loving home leaves room for another foster. And there are so many.

SK: A lot of people feel if they’re going to get a Dalmatian they should get one from a breeder.  What’s your take on that?

SB: If you plan on showing your purebred dog then yes a breeder would be best, but if you are looking for a dog that will be part of the family, play with your kids, sleep by your bed—or in my case, on my bed— or go for long walks, welcome you home from a hard day at work, love you unconditionally, then please save a life and adopt from a shelter or rescue.

For more information on Dalmatian rescue anywhere in the southeast United States, contact Susan Weber of Dalmatian Rescue of Tampa Bay at 727-417-6017.

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Sheryl Kay

Sheryl Kay is a twenty-year veteran print and photo journalist covering a plethora of subjects internationally, including medical/healthcare, politics, new business/technology, LGBT issues, travel, and religion. 


In my "spare" time, I'm actively involved with my two children, community volunteer hiking events, a spirited dalmatian, and cultivating my organic garden. I can be reached via email and on facebook

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