Black Dog Bias… NO MORE!

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“Don’t judge a pup by its color!”

While there is no known proof that “Black dog syndrome” exists, many rescues and shelters are plagued by this depressing occurrence. Black dogs and cats are among the last to be adopted in shelters, and first to be euthanized.  According to the National Council on Pet Population, approximately 3-4 million dogs are euthanized each year. There are no statistics available on how many black animals are euthanized, but ask your local shelter if they believe that more black dogs are euthanized than dogs with other coat colors. I am willing to bet that they say yes! Rescues and shelters vary with their practices. They range from “high kill” to “no-kill”.  Which ever end of the spectrum  you find yourself in, surrendering a black dog is usually a death sentence. They are either euthanized when their week is up, or they die of old age- forever waiting for a loving home.  

Shelters even run “Black Pet Adoption Specials” to try and draw attention to these amazing animals. By why does it have to be that way? For years “black dogs” have been believed to be evil or devil dogs. In the movies, black dogs tend tend to be portrayed as vicious. Is the consumer really that naive to believe the hype?  Sadly, I am beginning to think so.

Instead of preaching about this topic, I want to introduce you to a few very special BLACK animals. Animals that likely would have been passed over a hundred times, but have luckily found their forever home. 

Meet Ellie.

Ellie is my own, gorgeous 3 year old black lab mix. We found her, as a stray, running the streets of Ames. She was underfed and had a gash under her eye… At the time she was around 6 months old. I have always suspected that she was dumped by a college kid who moved home for the summer. Thankfully so, as she has been an integral part of our family ever since.

I have been told on many occasions that if Ellie ever wound up in a shelter, I couldn’t pick her from the line up and I want to debunk that myth right now. Yes, breeds tend to look alike and YES black labs are the most prevalent in most shelters, however, when you connect with an animal, you know that it is yours. I would know my Ellie from any other dog! Not to mention, her body language would be more different than the other dogs, as she would be far too excited to see me. If YOU couldn’t pick your dog out, then your dog will do the job for you! Any house pet would be ecstatic to see their owner after the scary ordeal of being stuck in a cage with lots of other scared animals. Don’t let this myth stop you from adopting a black rescue pet!

Another “Black Dog Myth” is that they are harder to photograph… I laugh every time I hear this one.

Meet Zeppelin.

Zeppelin is my gorgeous black lab/chow/husky mix. If you follow this blog or the Bailing Out Benji Facebook Page, you know that I am an avid advocate against giving free animals away on CraigsList. Zeppelin is the reason why my heart always goes there. I found his ad online, listing him as a free “5 month old purebred lab, unaltered”. I replied to the ad, as the photo did not look anything like a purebred lab, he was a tiny fluffball!! The more I talked with this woman, the more I realized that Zeppelin needed to get out of that home. They only let him out once a day to go potty, and they would beat him if he had an accident. They only took him on ONE walk a week, down the block and back. The only food that he had ever eaten was table scraps from their meals and his only toy was a ratty tennis ball. Again, their loss was our gain! He is 3 years old and the best dog that I have ever known! Not to mention, he is very photogenic!

Sure, black dogs don’t have the eyes of a husky, or the silver coat of a Weimaraner, but I don’t want to hear about not being photogenic! Everywhere I go, people are telling me how shiny my dogs’ coats are. And it shows in the photos that I take of them. Do the photos always turn out well on my cell phone in the dark? No… But any decent camera will easily show the beauty of these creatures. 

Many say it is because black animals are simply too common, which I can fully agree with. Until more people take the time to spay and neuter their own animals, there will be a plethora of unwanted animals in shelters. If you go to petfinder.com right now, you will find almost 4,000 black labs in shelters, this isn’t counting other breeds that happen to be black. Is it fair to condemn these animals to euthanasia all because of their color?

 

Please consider opening your home to any animal, whether it is black, white or even yellow! Adopting an animal from a shelter is an amazing thing, because that dog truly knows that you rescued it. 

  

My Aunt’s rescue Kitty, Boo.

Nervous about committing to an animal? Why not consider fostering a pet?  Being a foster pet parent is one of the most selfless things you can do. You will be giving an animal the time it needs to find its forever home and that is the best gift of all!  If money is an issue, DON’T LET IT BE! The rescue/shelter tends to cover most of the costs of having the pet in your home. PLEASE talk with your local rescue or shelter and see what you can do! 

 

 –Mindi 

“Adopt a pet and change a life forever”

 

More Articles about Black Dog Syndrome can be found below. 

http://www.blackdogrescueproject.com/

Read what USA today has to say about Black Dog Syndrome

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Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a Black Dog



Reason Number Ten: We cannot clash with your furniture or clothing (and some of you actually worry about that).


Reason Number Nine:  We cannot clash with any collar  you might choose either!  Ditto for the bandanas.
 Accessorize us!

Reason Number Eight:  Ease of vacuuming!  You can quickly spot the areas of most urgent need.


Reason Number Seven:  We hide the dirt well (doesn’t mean we don’t need that bath after a messy play but your                      guests won’t be able to see it so quickly).


Reason Number Six:  We make an excellent “backdrop” for a second lighter colored dog (if you choose to have one).


Reason Number Five:  Availability!!!  We are available now at every shelter or rescue you can imagine, in every age                              bracket with no long waiting lists or difficult search.


Reason Number Four:  No annoying queries of “exactly what kind of dog is that anyhow?”  People are content with “big black dog” and don’t ask anymore questions.


Reason Number Three:  EXCELLENT night walk protection.  The “bad guy” won’t see us till its too late!


Reason  Number Two:  Status symbol potential.  Black pearls are the most costly you know……


Reason Number One:  WE NEED YOU!

 Source:  Petfinder Forum dated 3-17-03 Laurie Scanlan

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