There is nothing like coming home after a trying day and seeing the smile of your best friend.
It’s called Black Dog Syndrome or Big Black Dog Syndrome (BDS or BBDS). It’s a problem that every animal shelter and dog rescue in the world understands all to well.
This phenomenon could be due to a number of things. Geographic location, fear of certain breed types or the fact that large black dogs are thought to be dangerous because they are portrayed that way in films and on television.
Did you know that black dogs, especially large breed dogs, such as Labs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Chows, Newfoundlands, and even mixed breeds are usually the last ones to be adopted from shelters or rescue groups? Black dogs are often euthanized at a higher rate than other coat colors.
Here are some other reasons given for why black-coated dogs don’t get adopted as easily.
- They don’t show or photograph well in a kennel setting.
- It isn’t easy to distinguish their features.
- If they have any gray or white hairs on their face, they often appear older than they are.
- They often don’t look as cute as lighter coated dogs.
As to location, In European and British folklore black dogs often appear as evil forces and death. Writers like Sir Walter Scott and Arthur Conan Doyle perpetuated this superstition by using spectral hounds, usually black and fearsome, in their stories and poems.
Some people believe the superstition that suggests that “black is evil” like the symbolism of Scar vs. Mufasa in “The Lion King.” In a 2011 study by the ASPCA, appearance was the most frequently cited reason for adopters of both puppies (29 percent) and adult dogs (26 percent).
This issue has been gaining media attention since the mid-2000s. Tamara Delaney, an early activist against black dog syndrome, developed a website called Black Pearl Dogs in 2004 specifically to address the issue, both by educating the public about its existing, as well as showcasing individual dogs available for adoption.
As one who as adopted a black dog, I’d suggest that they are just a sweet, and just a loving as any other color of dog. She was a great companion and a great teacher. She was loved by everyone she met (animal and human) and when the chance arises again I’ll be the first one to adopt another Big Black Dog …
By Michael Albee
The card on the door of my run says that my name is k219875. I don’t know why I’m here. I’m scared, a can’t hide and I can’t get away. So when you approach me I bark to warn you. But you think I’m mean!
I’m really not a bad dog. It’s just that most people don’t know how to help me! I don’t want to be like this, I just need someone who understands me and knows how to talk to me.
If no one comes soon, they say I will be put down. I don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.
When I fall asleep, I dream.
In my dream I’m walking! I have a collar around my neck and it is attached to a leash. It’s a warm, sunny day and there is a nice human walking beside me. He calls me “good dog” and I can tell that he likes me because I can feel the warmth and kindness in his voice. I wag my tail to let him know that: “I like you too”.
Then my dream takes me to a big backyard. I’m lying in the soft green grass. I’m chewing on a big bone while my humans sit around me talking and having fun. Some of their puppies, (the little humans), are running around the yard. They toss a ball for me and we play with all my toys. We play for what seems to be forever. Some of them take the time to teach me some tricks. I enjoy it because I like to be around them, and besides, they give me treats and call me “Good Dog” when I do them right. I really like the name “Good Dog” a lot.
In my dreams, I’m also running in a big open field with lots of other dogs. We are running and chasing each other. We bark for joy as we tumble around together in the soft, tall grass. It’s great to have friends to play with.
Every day it’s the same thing, I get to run, I get to play, I get to go for long walks. I have a safe place to live, and I have someone that really cares about me. And best of all, I’m not afraid anymore! Awh, This is the Life!
Then … BANG … I hear a big steel door slam. It scares me and I wake up! I jump to my feet. Someone’s coming … I bark because I’m scared, and no one wants me because they are afraid of me.
Maybe, just maybe, next time I wake up, my dreams will be real.
PLEASE ADOPT … DON’T SHOP !!!
Becoming The Person Your Dog Thinks You Are
There are a whole host of “self Improvement” books, tapes and classes you can buy or take to help you become a better person.
But before you spend the money, I submit that ALL you really need to do is sit down and be honest with yourself. Look at who you are now, what you want from your life and where you want to be 5, 10 or 25 years from now.
The best way to do this is to make three lists.
On the first list write down everything you like about yourself and your life. On the second list right down everything you want to be or add to your life. One the third list wright down everything you want to remove from your life.
The somewhat easier way is to just become the person that your dog thinks you are! It’s amazing how observant they are, and they will tell you when you have got it right!!!
If you don’t have a dog, you really need to get one. They are great insight into how to live life to the fullest. Go to a local shelter and get one. Your life (and the life of that dog) will be much better for it.
Got a minute or two?
I recently ran across this quote and wanted to share it.
I can’t think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog — completely exhausted after a hard day in the field — limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I’m sitting and puts her head in my lap, a paw over my knee, and closes her eyes and goes back to sleep. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that kind of friend.” — Gene Hill