Dalmatian Puppy Toy Obsession

Puppy on back

You may go directly to the "Dalmatian Mania" poem further down this page, or first read the background of Dalmatian Mania.

In the late 1990s, there was a craze to collect toys that came with the children's meals at fast food restaurants. Although there are still collectors out there, from what I've seen on the Internet and auction sites, the craze has diminshed quite a bit.

One of the big "must have" items was a set of 101 dalmatian toy puppies that McDonalds put out. Their collars had a place where you could attach a hook and use the toy as an ornament.  Trying to collect each puppy directly from the restaurant was difficult.  (Can you imagine paying for, and eating, 101 Happy Meals in a month???)  So most collectors ended up scouring thrift stores, yard sales, and the Internet for each puppy in the collection.  Some of the harder-to-find pups were individually selling on ebay for upwards of $70! 

At the time of the dalmatian promotion, I was not yet a collector.  But I saw the television commercials touting the Happy Meal dalmatian toys, heard the slogan, "Collect them all!" and thought, "Who in their right mind would want all those puppy toys?"

Well, no one in their right mind would want all those puppies, but fast food toy collectors are not always in their right mind.  ( I am speaking, of course, of myself.)  I happened to see one of those dalmatian toys at a thrift store . . . and that was that.  I was hooked, dragged in, fileted, and served up on a fast food platter before I could say "yes, I want fries with that."  I drove miles hitting every thrift store and yard sale around. Hours were spent on the Internet locating toy and auction sites that sold the puppies.  I even resorted to paying the neighbor kids for each puppy they brought me.  One of the neighbors called and said, "My kids told me you were paying for those McDonald puppy toys.  I told them they must have misunderstood you." It was a bit embarrassing confessing they were right, but when you're desperate, you're desperate!

My family was spending vacation at my dad's house, and I was going through puppy-pursuit withdrawals.  It was at this point I thought, "This has turned into a mania" and the poem was born.

In case you were wondering, I did collect one complete set of puppies.  I started a second set for my daughter, but she outgrew the dalmatian puppy phase before I did.  Every once in awhile, I think about completing that second set, as I am only about six puppies short.  I've decided that if I run across the extra puppies somewhere, fine, but otherwise, the hunt is finished.  Besides, what am I going to do with a second set?  They used to sell for quite a bit of money, but not anymore, since the craze has died down.

A few years later, McDonalds put out a second new set of puppies, distinguished by the name 102 Dalmatians, but there was no way I was getting pulled in again.  I was still exhausted from the first crusade.  I think most of us were.  We all a had little Cruella de Vil in us back then!

Anyway, enjoy the poem, and if you are a fellow recovering puppy-collector like me, be comforted in knowing, you are not alone!


  Happy puppy


Dalmatian Mania!

My life. . . carefree! It used to be
Simple and plain, that was me
But something’s caught my rapt attention
One hundred and one tiny, toy dalmatians.

At first, I scoffed at such a silly thing
It’s just a phase, a fad, an impetuous fling
But while I shook my head in judgment
At such ridicules indulgment,
The dogged dalmatian bug jumped on me,
Then bit down hard! (just like a flea)
So now . . . alas!. . . my life is not my own
As the cluttered nonsense throughout my house . . .
. . . has nestled, spread and GROWN.
The thrift store clerks know my face by sight
Frenzied, I sift and probe through the internet at night.
My family only exists in the outer fringe,
Of my dalmatian mania . . . my sanity is unhinged!
This craving for pups, I must completely fulfill
Sometimes I feel like Cruella de Vil!
But those puppies---argh!---I must find each darling one
There’ll be no peace in my house until my quest is done!

There’s a puppy in a paint can, a barrel, and scarves
Dogs hiding in presents, socks, wreaths, and in cars.
There’s the ones riding a turtle and a blue soccer ball
Some laying down, and some standing up tall.
The pup on the drum is a playful, brave fella
So, too, is the one on the upside-down umbrella.
There’s one in a bobby hat, buggy, and book
The one in the gray wig is worth a second look.
Two of my very most favorite pups,
Are the ones on the ornament and in the teacup.
The hardest to find wears cute Mickey Mouse ears
Believe me, your search may just take years and years
There are also four snowdomes, but we won’t dwell on that,
It’s hard enough keeping track of the pups wearing hats!

Someday, I know, each pup will be found
As I search with the fervency of a bloodhound
But until I can finally finish my quest,
Lay back with a sigh, give my wallet a rest
I’ve found to my uttermost delight and joy
Out there in the world are more fast food, fun toys!

This story could stretch into “War and Peace” size,
But I know that you understand and sympathize
With the ultimate question all this collecting brings . . .

© 1998, 2006 Little Lee’s Hopes ‘n More*
(Puppy images and the name "Cruella de Vil" are the property of Disney.  The puppies mentioned in the poem
are from the McDonalds Restaurant Happy Meals.)

playful puppies



*"Dalmatian Mania" and "Dalmatian Puppy Toy Obsession" may not be used in any way without permission.  If you wish visitors to your site to read this poem, please link to this page.  Remind your visitors to use the back button to return to your site.  Thank you!


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