Nelson Vergara loved the movie “101 Dalmatians” so much that after watching it, he couldn’t help himself from adopting any spotted dog that crossed his path. His love and dedication for Dalmatians is well known throughout his hometown of Santiago, Chile where he is called the “Dalmatian Man,” a name he got from the 42 liver spotted canines living in his backyard. Vergara is so obsessed with the popular breed that he even painted black dots on his white van.
“It all started because of that film,” Vergara says. “That was computer-generated. But I wanted to do the real thing.” But the true reasons behind his passion is to save the millions of stray dogs which roam Chile’s streets every day. The number rises even further during working hours when pet owners leave their dogs outside. These dogs are not very well taken care of either – they are never sprayed for fleas or neutered. Vergara’s intentions are purely humanitarian for he wants to raise awareness about the growing number of stray dogs which the country’s Humane Society considers alarming.
So far, Vergara has rescued all the starving and sick dogs he found; he fed and took care of them with donations since he doesn’t have a paying job. His goal is to help all unfortunate dogs, not only Dalmatians. “I wanted to help – not just the Dalmatians but all dogs, because in Chile we need a solution to the canine problem,” he says. “Every day you see news of abandoned dogs roaming, but no one does anything about it. If we had a shelter, we wouldn’t have these kinds of problems,” Vergara states.
Unfortunately, all his hard work might have been in vain – neighbors constantly complain about the noise and smell coming from his modest home and he and his dogs risk being evicted. If this were the 1996 Disney movie, Vergara’s story would have a happy ending, but since he’s a real-life dog lover we can only hope that the 55-year-old hippy with green, yellow and red bands in his hair will be allowed to keep his home along with his 42 Dalmatians.
Source: Associated Press