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 …
I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of the other dogs ‘out there’.
I can sleep soundly, assured that when I wake my world will not have changed.
I will never know hunger, or the fear of not knowing if I’ll eat.
I will not shiver in the cold, or grow weary from the heat.
I will feel the sun’s heat, and the rain’s coolness,
and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose.
My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted.
Here in this house…
There will be an effort to communicate with me on my level.
I will be talked to and, even if I don’t understand,
I can enjoy the warmth of the words.
I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many.
My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it!
Here in this house…
I will never be a substitute for anything I am not.
I will never be used to improve peoples’ images of themselves.
I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone’s idea of who I should be.
I will never suffer for someone’s anger, impatience, or stupidity.
I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all.
If I do not learn my lessons well, they will look to my teacher for blame.
Here in this house…
I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch…
knowing that, no matter what they do, they do it for the good of me;
If I am ill, I will be doctored.
If scared, I will be calmed.
If sad, I will be cheered.
No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and thought to be of value.
I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough.
My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought.
I will learn that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs.
Here in this house…
I will belong.
I will be home.
— Author unknown
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.