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 …

Taking Dogs For Walks in the Winter

I wrote this great article about taking dogs for walking in winter weather conditions and I’ve been waiting for the weatherman to start talking about bad weather conditions, (you know: below zero temps, blizzards, hazardous travel conditions and ice storms), but so far its been a nice winter.

I know, we’ve had a few below zero temps at night, but all in all, it’s been great so far. We’ve had NO snow at all and, In fact, today it was 52 degrees and sunny. Patchs and I took two walks for a total of about 5 miles and the only thing blowing out there was a few left over leaves that didn’t get picked up off of the yard!

So I guess I’ll just save it for a little while and tell you about our walk today.

As we were walking I came across a guy I used to see quite a bit. I haven’t seen him for about six months and it turns out that he has been working 3rd shift so our schedules didn’t cross until today. I think he took the day off to enjoy the weather!

He noticed that I had a different dog with me so I told him about Neka passing (that’s who he remembered me walking) which led to him to telling me that his dog had passed away on Thanksgiving weekend.

He told me that he would be getting a new dog this spring and he made a point of saying that it would be “another” rescue. It turns out that he has had many dogs over the years and they have all been rescues.

We spoke for about 10 minutes and when we left to continue our walk he mentioned that when he gets his new dog we should get our dogs together. I said “absolutely” …

So the moral of the story is: no matter what time of year it is, take the time to say hello to the people you see. When you do, you may be able to help them become a better dog owner … or, like me, you may find someone that will inspire you to continue on!!!

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

Death Row Dogs

I was going to write an article about the things my dog and I did this past weekend … and we had a great weekend!!! That is, until I read an alarming article about the amount of dogs and other family pets being euthinized across the county each and every day.

I can not stress strong enough, how very important it is, that when you begin the search for a dog, that you choose the correct dog for your lifestyle and skill level.

8,767 dogs and cats died TODAY in shelters across the land. This isn’t an isolated incident, this happens EVERY DAY. This works out to 3.2 million pets every year or one every 10 seconds. 1 dog and 1 cat have died since you have read this far into this article. And they were killed ONLY because they didn’t have a home to go to.

Most all of these great pets were dumped by the side of the road and captured by local animal control officers, or turned in to a shelter by owners who were overwhelmed or unable to correct a variety of behaivor issues. On the other hand, some owners just got tired of them and were simply unwilling to take care of them any more.

Would they still be in a home if they hadn’t chewed on a shoe? They didn’t know what it was, but it was leather, and it was on the floor. They were just playing and no one told taught them not to chew on it. Someone just yelled at them in a language they didn’t understand. The real problem was that someone forgot to buy a few puppy toys and then teach the dog not to play with certain thing. Or better yet, keep the items out of the dog’s reach so it couldn’t even get near them.

Would they still be at home if they had been housebroken properly? Rubbing the dog’s nose in what it did only made the dog afraid and ashamed that it had to go potty in the first place. There are some really good books, videos and obedience trainers that would have been able to teach that wonderful dog how to go to the door.

Would these dogs still be at home if they didn’t bring fleas into the house? Without anti-flea medicine, they couldn’t get them off of themselves after the owner had left them in the unmowed yard for days on end.

Would they still be at home if they hadn’t continuely barked for hours? It really wasn’t the dogs falt! They were only saying, “Help, I’m scared, Hey, I’m lonely, I’m here, I’m here! I want to be your best friend, come out and play with me.”

Would they still be at home if they would have tried harder to make their owners happy? Hitting them and throwing things at them didn’t make them learn.

Would they still be at home if their owner would have taken a few minute everyday to care for them, play with them and to teach them a few social skills and manners?

After a few weeks, the newness wore off. So they stopped paying any attention to them. But it wasn’t because the dog didn’t try!  They spent all day, every day waiting for their owners to love them again. But it didn’t happen … now,

Dear Human,
“I died today”.

Love Always,
    Your Puppy …