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).

Thisneka-belly 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 …

Controversy and Conflict in Our Little Corner of the Dog World

Recently it was brought to our attention that one of our blog friends had “called out” a municipal animal shelter in the area for what this “blog friend” heard was going on there.

We have spent a good amount of time looking into it and thinking about it.

While we want to thank the person(s) for contacting us, (multiple times), after all things are considered, it is NOT our policy to put someone down or ridicule them for what they think, or say on their own blog. After all, a blog is meant to be a place to express ones thoughts and opinions and provoke discussion about them. And that’s exactly what this blogger is doing.

Wrong or right, it is our God give right, and our duty as citizens to question the actions of our government and the agencies that spend our tax dollars. Because we at IDT do not have any first hand knowledge about this specific subject, we can not in good conscience comment on the validity or accuracy of any statements made. That is up to the author of that blog.

What is NOT in question here is: the large amount of passion and commitment  this blogger has in making sure that all animals are treated with kindness and in a humane way.

This Year Make a New Years Resolution You Can Keep

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at th...

Please Help Me. If not you, Who?

We all do it. It’s really nothing new. We all sit around during the holidays and proclaim that “This coming year it’s going to be different. This year I’m going to ….” and then we go into detail about what we are going to do different and how our life will be different because of it.

But by the end of January the “resolution for change” has been put on the back burner (so to speak) or forgotten completely. But that’s OK. No one got hurt, no one’s life was harmed because of it … it’s just something that never got done. Right?

Well it might not be that simple! Lives might actually be hanging in the balance, be lost, or at the very least, they might be changed for the worst.

I’m not talking about humans here. I’m actually talking about the pets that live in shelters and with rescue groups across our great land. Millions of shelter pets are counting on us to look after them and to provide the much needed resources that they need so that they can live long enough to find great homes.

So this year, why not make a resolution you can easily keep? Resolve to help your local shelters and rescues … and then do it.

It’s actually very easy! Just search Google or Yahoo for “Animal Shelter” or “Animal Rescue” and then put your city or state behind it. When the results page is displayed, simply click on the links and pick the one (or more) groups that you like the best.

Then contact them and give them a few dollars. Any amount will be helpful. You can also take them some old blankets, towels, a few gallons of bleach or some cleaning supplies. Every shelter and group has something that they need. All you need to do is ask. Better yet, why not give them a few minutes of your time once in a while. They can always use an extra hand so help out where ever you can. They will really appreciate it!

If you can’t decide, just drop us an email and we’ll help you figure out which group is the best fit for your assistance.

Remember … Donate Locally or Your Donation will NOT Help Local Pets In Need!

Humane Society of the United States: Not About Helping Shelter Pets

I recently read a post from someone who works for Humane Society of the United States. In it this person stated that HSUS is not now, nor ever was, about helping local animal shelters.

This person went on to say that the focus of the HSUS is to help animals by focusing on “The Big Picture” and using their money and power to changes laws effecting animals. But when asked why they didn’t spend ALL of the money they received by donations and fund raising to “help the animals” (instead of using it to pad retirement accounts and pay the HSUS leadership’s big salaries) the answers quit coming.

It is important to note that the HSUS spent $126 million last year. Yet less than 1 percent of its budget was grants to support pet sheltering.

While I agree that laws need to be changed to protect animals, the immediate problem is that we have more animals than we do homes for them. With proper funding, shelters and rescues could take more time to find owners for these homeless animals. More funding to local shelters and rescue groups could also be used to educate the public about pet ownership, training and spay and neuter programs. Education is also needed to teach people about building a proper bond with animals instead of participating in animal abuse.

Around 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year. HSUS only provides support for about 1 percent of them. Currently it is estimated that about 500 of these animals are put to death every hour of every day. And the reason they are killed is not because they are sick or unfit for adoption! The reason is that the shelters just don’t have enough money, room or resources to keep them.

So if you really want to help dogs and cats, give ONLY to your local shelters and rescue groups. This will assure that your donations will do the most possible good and help the most effected animals.

No Big Deal, It’s Just a Dog

No Big Deal, It’s Just a Dog

How many times have we all heard someone say, “No big deal, It’s Just A Dog?” If you are like me, you wonder what they really mean when they say it!

Many people look at our four-footed friends and say, “It’s just a dog” … and in most cases that’s OK. When they say it, it’s just because they simply have never had a dog in their life.

Some of the population only sees a dog as an animal that is used to guard a home from burglars, or used as a workout buddy, or as a babysitter for the kids, or as an accessory for movie stars and millionaires.

On the other hand the phrase “It’s Just a Dog” scares me a bit. And it is the reason our animal shelters and rescues are filled to capacity most of the time. I say this because these are the people who say it and really mean, “It’s just another thing that I own.”  These are the people that, once the newness is gone the dog is simply cast aside like a worn out pair of shoes or a torn coat. Most “Just a Dog’s” are left outside in the yard or kept in a small kennel with barely enough to eat, little or no shelter and very little (if any) human contact. In the worst-case scenario, these kinds of people drive them out into the countryside and dump them by the side of the road miles from home. They are left to fend for themselves. But theses aren’t the worst “It’s Just a Dog” people. Not by a long shot!

There is one more group of people that say, “It’s Just a Dog”. They are the ones who see nothing wrong with abusing dogs. They are the ones who hit, kick, fight, shoot and take pleasure from inflecting abuse.

This group of people has no respect for life, human or otherwise. They use and treat dogs like property. They use them up, throw them away like trash, and then get more. The really scary part is that a lot of these people are children under the age of 18. A study of children who have been convicted and treated for animal abuse issues are almost 3 times as likely to commit violent crimes after they reach the age of 18. (Source: Juvenal Justice Newsletter)

It is up to use to spend time and teach children from a very early age. They must learn that animals are not things that can or should be abused. The study showed that incidents of abuse started as early as the age of three.

It’s up to us. The ones who never say, “It’s Just a Dog” … We are the ones that know and respect what dog’s can do. We are the ones that need to educate those who do not know that there is no such thing as “Just a Dog”.

Please support the Iowa Dog Trust and other organizations like us. With your help, we can all make a difference.

National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week: Nov. 6–12, 2011

National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week is designed to bring awarness to the plight of homeless pets that are waiting for new homes in shelters and rescues across the country.

There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the United States that serve an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals each year. Still more find themselves in need of the services that are provided by local rescue groups.

These cats, dogs, and other companion animals end up in shelters and rescues through no fault of their own. And there are a number of reasons that these pets end up there. But if given a second chance, these wonderful animals will make fabulous family pets.

National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week is also a great way to thank the people who work tirelessly to find loving homes for these homeless animals.

Your local animal shelters and rescues desprately need your help. They are on the front line of the battle to save pets in need. In order to provide homeless pets with this much needed help they count on all of us to donate our money, resources and our time.

We’ve all seen the TV advertisments. But contrairy to popular belief, the Human Society of the United States doesn’t do much of anything to help homeless pets. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States has no connection of any kind to ANY local shelters in this country. The only thing they DO have in common is the two words “humane society” in their name!

They do however collect donations from people like you and me. They make us think that we are giving our hard-earned money to them so they can help local shelters. But that’s NOT the case. They’re real good at tugging on our heart strings in their advertising. So good at it it fact, that they collected $131 million in 2010. $131 million that could have, and should have gone directly to help the local shelters that really needed it. But tax records show that they actually offered up less than 1 percent of their donated budget to local pet shelters or humane societies to help them care for homeless animals.

So if you really want to help homeless and abused pets, you need to give your donations locally. The HSUS does not house or adopt out any pets. They are for the most part a political lobbing group.

Shelters and rescues are always in need of towels, toys, treats, cleaning supplies and food for the animals they care for. Every shelter and rescue group has a “wish list” on their website. Please take a look at the list and give what you can. And ask your family, friends and colleagues to do whatever they can as well. Every little bit helps.

Tough times effect us all, so If you can’t afford to make a monetary donation you can still help. You can help by taking a few moments to send an email, make a call, or stop by your local shelter or rescue to thank the people who work tirelessly to care for the homeless animals in your community.

If you are considering a new family pet, be sure to adopt it from them. If you have an adopted pet, send the organization an updated picture to let them know how well your pet is doing! Just a minute of your time can make a huge difference.

If you’re not in the market for a new pet, you can still make life better for homeless pets in your area by volunteering at your local shelter or rescue organization. They can always use an extra hand.

Another great way to help is to be sure that your pets have an identification tag or a microchip. This can not only insure that your pet will be returned to you if it gets lost, it will also save the shelter or rescue presious resources that could be better used on a real homeless pet.

Lastly, have your pets spayed or neutered. Unwanted pets make up the bulk of the shelter’s inmates.

Help us celibrate National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week this year. Do whatever you can to help homeless pets in your area.

Man: A Dog’s Worst Enemy

There is an old saying: A dog is a man’s best friends. But it can also be said: Man is a Dog’s worse enemy. When are we humans going to learn? (Present company excluded of course).

I have just spent the last hour or so reading through my Facebook Page. As a result,  I am depressed, upset and frustrated. PLEASE, don’t leave … Hear me out!

I read no less than twenty-five posted about dogs that are in high kill shelters across the Midwest. They are there only because a human has given up on them. Most of them are now in their last hours of life! Unless a miracle happens or unless someone happens to find it in their heart to help, that is. (depression)

There were also a few of those “This dog was rescued from an abusive owner” or “this dog was removed from a back yard were it was chained up with no food or shelter” kind of posts. (upset)

By the time I got through everything, two things were going through my mind! Is treating an animal with a little dignity really that tough?  Are we SO consumed with ourselves that we can’t see what we’re doing is wrong? (frustrated)

Animal abuse and neglect is a big problem. I feel that the only way it will ever stop is to educate people.That’s what groups like the Iowa Dog Trust is all about.

It cannot be denied that dogs are the most loyal living beings on earth. They stand proudly beside their humans not matter what. They are always on the lookout to protect them from any dangers that may just happen to come along. Deep down, all a dog wants to do is please it’s human. And they will protect and defend that human to the death if necessary.

So I ask you. What is wrong with these people? All that a dog asks in return is that they be given some food, water, a warm place to live and a little attention once in a while. Is that SO Hard? What ever happened to the “Golden Rule”?

But just when I thought there was no hope left … up popped a few new posts. One talked about the fact that a number of dogs had been placed in new homes today. Another post said that donations were coming in at a record pace and that the money raised would be able to help a local shelter get blankets and some other greatly needed supplies to help a lot of homeless pets over the next few months.

Cool … my faith in humanity has once again been restored. Now I’m back to the point of being optimistic! This news has given me the will and the strength to move forward.

So let me ask you a question: Is it just me? Or do you all go through this same thing?

Lastly, If you can … Please help homeless pets! And if you want to help, help by donating your time and / or your money to your LOCAL shelter or rescue. When you donate locally, you CAN really make a big difference!

Adopt a Shelter Pet, You’ll Be Glad You Did!

If you are thinking about getting a family pet, start by looking at your local shelter or rescue organization. There are millions of great companion animals in shelters all across America, and they are just sitting there waiting for a great home like yours.

Shelter and Rescue pets are not troubled, rejects, damaged goods or second-class pets. They are just pets that have been turned in for various reasons. These pets have all kinds of different stories. Many were forfeited or given up for adoption because the owners didn’t realize the amount of work it was going to take to care for them until it was to late. Others were given up due to the illness of the owner, or because the owner lost a job or lost their place to live. My last rescue was because the owner lost his job. The one before that was a stray that someone dumped in the country. Both were great dogs, as you have read here.

Are you looking for a purebred? You can find many pure breeds in the shelters and rescues. All you have to do is ask!

So whether you want a puppy or an adult dog, a purebred or a great mixed breed dog, a rabbit or hamster or even a bird, your shelter has the best selection of animals anywhere. And rest easy; they have all been screened for good health and behavior.

Don’t fall into the trap like many people have. Stay away from pet stores and websites that offer dogs, cats and other pets. A lot of these animals come from puppy and pet mill facilities were the pet’s health and well being is the last thing on their minds.

There is an old adage: “Don’t Shop … Adopt! And when you adopt, you’ll be very glad you did because you will not only be getting a great pet, you will also be saving a life. The sad truth is, for every puppy or kitten born, one dies in a shelter because it doesn’t have a home.

When you’re looking to add a pet to your life, adopting a homeless animal from your local shelter or rescue makes sense. At the shelter or rescue a pet placement expert will help you get the perfect pet for you and your families lifestyle. They have compiled all the information you’ll need to take care of and train your new pet too.

To find your local shelters and rescue groups and to see all of the pets available for adoption in your area, visit the The Shelter Pet Project and