Dalmatians have traditionally been associated with firefighters. The speckled, robust dogs ran alongside horse-drawn firefighters' wagons, clearing the road of other carriages, people, and animals so firefighters could get through. Since then they have served as mascots in fire stations and are often used as an icon in many educational programs for teaching children fire prevention and safety. It is no wonder that the Hero in You Foundation decided to adopt the Dalmatian as its symbol.
The Hero in You Foundation was founded by Bunni and Rick Benaron of California following the events of 2001. The foundation's objective is to honor first responders, who help in emergencies, and to teach children that they, too, can be heroes and perform good deeds to help others. The foundation has erected numerous Dalmatian puppy statues in fire stations, schools, and parks throughout the United States to deliver the message that anyone can help others and perform heroic acts.
When the foundation offered the Center a donation of one of their colorful Dalmatian puppy statues, we decided that to place it in the nearby city of Yavneh where the important message would reach as many children and parents as possible. In 2016 a Dalmatian puppy statue was placed in the city park in the "Green Neighborhood" in Yavneh. The expansive park has lawns, a pond, play equipment, and a dog park directly opposite the statue.
The center has joined the education department of the Yavneh municipality in launching an educational project that combines ideas of heroism, relationships between people and dogs, and the importance of our guide dogs in helping people with blindness and visual impairments overcome their disability. The program, which was written by center graduate Bracha Ben-Avraham, is being presented to schools and kindergartens in Yavneh. It's part of our effort to get our message across about the importance our heroic dogs are in improving the lives of blind and visually impaired people.
On February 9th the program was presented to two kindergartens in Yavneh, and the mayor of Yavneh Zvi Gov Ari, Noach Braun, Dennis Allon, and Bracha Ben Avraham and her guide dog Dinka and the children posed for photos next to the Dalmatian statue in the park.