When you look at their smiling faces, it’s hard to imagine anyone passing over a gorgeous black dog when they’re considering adoption. Unfortunately, the truth is that black dogs suffer from the same problems that black cats do. This makes it less likely for them to be adopted, and many shelter volunteers and employees report that black dogs are often the last to be selected by potential families. This also means that black dogs are often more likely to be selected for euthanasia when shelters are overcrowded.
National Black Dog Day is an annual event celebrated on October 1 that highlights the plight of black dogs in shelters and rescue facilities. It is devoted to creating public awareness about these beautiful, shiny fur babies that offer just as much unconditional love as any other dog and deserve just as much love in return.
How can you not love black dogs? We love their shiny satin coats, which are especially luscious when you’re playing outside in the warm, bright sun. But the reality is, a huge number of black dogs are stuck in shelters waiting for forever homes because people are not willing to adopt them.
Even today there are still people who mistakenly believe for some reason or another that a dog with a black coat is scary, dangerous, or bad luck. National Black Dog Day seeks to change this false belief by providing us all an opportunity to give these animals as much love as possible on October 1st every year.
What is Black Dog Syndrome?
People often think that black dogs are bad luck, and this causes them to avoid adopting a black dog rather than a lighter-colored dog. They stay in shelters for much longer than lighter-colored dogs, and this phenomenon is known as Black Dog Syndrome. It is sad because there are plenty of beautiful black dogs who can’t find their forever homes due to the color of their fur.
Why do people not choose black dogs?
Another reason black dogs are often overlooked is that many people associate them with danger or aggression. On the contrary, black dogs are just as capable of providing companionship, unconditional love, and amusement.
One final reason that is commonly attributed to Black Dog Syndrome is the belief that they are not as photogenic. Their darker faces make it more difficult to capture facial expressions, and this can cause them to look less appealing in promotional photos taken by the shelters. To combat this, rescue staff can make adjustments to lighting, use colorful backgrounds, and even utilize props to help bring out the true personalities of these wonderful pets.
Common Misconceptions About Black Dogs
There are some assumptions around black dogs that advocates can help clear up for anyone considering adoption. Here are a few things to know about black dogs:
- Black dogs can be any size or breed. While most black dogs in shelters are medium-sized, many smaller pups with black coats end up there, too.
- Many of the black dogs in shelters are senior pups. These senior dogs make great companions and the love they have to give is unending. Senior dogs typically come with a calm demeanor and lots of patience.
- You will be saving a life! Serious overcrowding in shelters means that many black dogs and senior pets find themselves facing euthanasia every day, but they don’t have to die. When you adopt a black dog, you can give them a second chance at their own happily ever after.
- Even if you aren’t ready to take on a pet of your own, there are plenty of ways you can help and support the rescue centers near you. Simply sharing the information of black dogs who are available for adoption can be a great way to spread the word and lend your support.
How Was National Black Dog Day Started?
National Black Dog Day was created by a pet lifestyle expert and animal rights activist, Colleen Paige. The plight of black dogs is close to Colleen’s heart because of her experience with Sailor, her black rescue pup.
Staff at the animal shelter where Colleen found Sailor spoke to her about Black Dog Syndrome, and stated that they expected her to be euthanized due to lack of interest. Sailor was also in poor medical condition and needed lots of tender love and care.
Colleen immediately knew that Sailor was the dog for her. She waited at the shelter every day for 5 days to ensure her original owner did not return to claim her, and then she was finally able to take her home. Sailor’s physical condition didn’t take long to improve, but her emotional scars stayed with her a while longer. In the end, she adjusted to her new life full of love and care, and she became a truly loving, goofy girl who enjoyed playing fetch, swimming, and going to the beach.
Why is there a National Black Dog Day?
Sailor died of liver cancer at the age of 14, after having a truly wonderful life with Colleen and her family. It was after this that Colleen created Black Dog Day in her memory to help all of the other black dogs in shelters who are not so lucky as to find a loving home.
How You Can Help
The easiest way to support black dogs in need of loving homes is to provide one! Consider adopting a black dog and show the world how much light they have inside and out!
If you are unable to adopt, you can also show your support by spreading the word and helping to increase awareness. If you have any black dogs in your life, tell their stories and show the world how much love and joy they can provide. Even something as small as sharing a post about Black Dog Day (like this one) can help to increase awareness of Black Dog Syndrome.
If you’d like to help shelters get better photographs of their black dogs, consider donating some colorful accessories for photoshoots. Black dogs show off bright colors much better than lightly colored dogs, and bright blue, green, or pink collars can go a long way in bringing some personality into a black pup’s shelter photos.
Black Dog Day has been helping raise awareness of Black Dog Syndrome since 2015 when over 1 million people pledged their support. This year we hope even more will pledge their support for black dogs because they deserve just as much love as every other dog on the planet! If you haven’t yet adopted one or if you know someone considering adoption – consider adopting a black dog this National Black Dog Day!