Sunday, March 4, 2012

All I ask for, all I pray...steady rolling woman gonna come my way.

When we adopted Milo, it was not an easy choice.

We had 10 lovely puppies to chose from, of all hues and personalities - from brindled blue eyed beauties to a blonde bombshell.

But yet, we chose one of the two darker puppies in the litter.

When we were choosing, we asked which puppies would be least adoptable. I mean, once we were there, why not choose the pup who was the least likely to find a home, right? I did not expect to hear that the darker pups are traditionally the last to go...if at all.


In our life as dog owners, we have had predominantly black dogs, first with our beloved Chief (our first dog as a couple who we still hold up as the example of the perfect dog) and then the unique and odd Hudson ( but none of his can be blamed on his fur).

We broke our habit with Sushi, our blonde girl, but when faced with a fresh new litter of puppies...I was unquestionably drawn to the darker ones.

Now, apparently that is not the norm. Perhaps we just like to live dangerously.

Twice today i have read articles about black furred dogs languishing for longer times in rescues.

That breaks my heart.

The Montreal Gazette ran a story in the Saturday paper titled "Black Dogs Share Cats' Jinx" detailing how different organizations are attempting to dispell deep seated beliefs about darker furred pups.

The fact that these little guys do not photograph as well even came up as a possible culprit in why they remain overlooked more often than their light coloured friends.

I disagree. i think black puppies photograph beautifully. Perhaps a better photographer is in order...

And then, after my coffee and paper, I opened up my email to a note ( always very personal and relevant ) from Cesar's Way that included an article by Benoit Denizet - Lewis that digs even deeper into the issue. His article, "Travels with My Dog Casey: Black Dog Syndrome"
supports the observations of black dog syndrome with historical examples as to why people may subconsciously stay away from darker dogs...

"Leonard was careful to stress that most people don’t consciously discriminate against black dogs. “It’s not like people come into a shelter saying, ‘I am not leaving here with a black dog!’” she told me. But adopters may perceive black dogs as common, or generic. Leonard also speculates that black-dog bias may have a cultural origin. In British folklore, black dogs are often portrayed as a sinister omen of death, most famously as the hellhound in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, and the Grimm in J.K. Rowling’s The Prisoner of Azkaban. The origins of the ominous black dog (black cats are also less likely to get adopted) may reach all the way back to ancient Greece—in 450 BC, Plutarch wrote that a black dog appeared to Cimon, a prominent Athenian, to foretell his impending death."

Yikes. Winston Churchill even gets a mention.
As does the whole photography issue again. Professional photographers are being hired to help promote black dogs in some shelters.  Excellent idea.

This whole black puppy issue is obviously just one part of a larger, sadder picture. There are simply too many unwanted dogs out there. Shelters are doing a huge service finding these dogs homes. The ones I am familiar with are not just finding homes, but finding forever ( no, I will not say furever ) homes for these animals. The fact that on top of already a seemingly unending parade of unwanted puppies being produced by irresponsible dog owners, there is this  added difficulty of people shying away from darker pups...well...that is just crazy.

And I just wanted to say that out loud.

I skipped over to my favourite animal shelter, Animatch, the local rescue where we got Milo from, and there does not appear to be a hugely disparate number of dark dogs vs light dogs needing homes.


There are many, many dogs who would love a new in support of my darker furred doggie friends, please meet Hendrix - a 5 month old black lab mix just wanting a family to play with him...

photo from's house photog

Oh! And  Zazoo...given up because, sigh, once again people so anxious to get a puppy realized that they...gasp...take time and effort...

photo from 's house photog

 And then, from Rosie's, another excellent Montreal area rescue, there is 6 year old Bosco - 

photo by simplyphotos @susan fischer

These guys are beautiful ( no problem with unappealing photos here! ).

And because I would hate to be seen as showing preference to dark furred dogs, when there is such a need for doggie is the handsome Pup Daddy, released from the life of work from a backyard breeder, this guy needs a *real* home...

photo from photographer gary

So, there you have my PSA for this Sunday morning...mixed with a little myth busting I hope.

Black dogs rock.
I mean, even Led Zeppelin thought so...

"Need a woman gonna hold my hand  
Won't tell me no lies  
Make me a happy man"

**Obviously these dogs are available for adoption locally...but i know many of you reading this are not local. Trust me, there is a rescue dog waiting for you in your very own town, this very minute...**


sharon said...

While our house is full to the brim with animals right now, I wanted to tell you what an incredible photographer you are. Amazing.

marci said...

I've heard that about black dogs too....hence the reason we have TWO of them probably ;)

I swear you are such a talented photographer - if you make me look even 1/4 as cute as your dog, geesh! Um, and yeah, I do remember vaguely discussing this idea with you, but this is ALL you lady, fabulous!!!