Black Dog Syndrome. Are you aware that the least adopted, most feared and most killed dogs are black dogs?
Click this link to see the Today Show Video for the Black Dog Story.
To overcome this phenomenon Green Pets America has created a Awareness and Advocacy program Black Dog Syndrome.
The fear of black dogs is classified as a syndrome. Fear of black dogs is a phenomenon throughout the world. Because of this bias and fear black dogs are passed over for adoption in favor of lighter-colored animals.
Animal shelters work to overcome this syndrome from pet adopters but black dogs still remain the most abandoned and most euthanized dogs in animal shelters.
As Executive Director and founder of a dog rescue nonprofit, Green Pets America Charities, I have spent the last 12 years involved with rescuing dogs from shelters. Everything from walking in and pulling them out of kill shelters, to taking them to vets. To bringing them to our rescue group. We then vet them and place them in foster care. We work diligently to adopt them into loving safe homes. I’ve spent many a weekend at Pet Smart with two dozen dogs trying to get them adopted.
Through all this, one thing became apparent to me. Black Dogs are the least adopted of all the dogs we rescue. They are the least adopted in the shelters we go into as well. We always have a higher than usual selection of black dogs, versus light colored or mixed color dogs. We found that black dogs languish not only longer in shelters, but rescue groups as well. Where we can adopt other colors out on average in three months, some black dogs take up to a year…. Some, even more.
So we did some research and found that our experience was not unusual, it was sadly normal. There is a phenomenon and its name is Black Dog Syndrome (BDS). Black Dog Syndrome is known by shelters and rescue groups throughout America. Numerous respected national organizations have long recognized BDS as an issue that adversely affects the adoption rates of black pets.
So, what exactly is this syndrome? Black Dog Syndrome is a sometimes conscious, but most times unconscious mental, and emotional bias in humans against black dogs.
Well, there are many reasons, including superstitious fear of black dogs, “old wives’ tales” about black dogs, Black dogs depicted in movies and literature as evil or devilish. A scary, growling black dog can be seen in The Hound of the Baskervilles, the Harry Potter series and The Omen.
Because of Black Dog Syndrome, black dogs are the most euthanized dogs in our animal shelters.
In a survey, Pet finder the respected national organization where we post our dogs available for adoption, animal shelter and rescue groups reported that most pets are listed for about 3 months, whereas, black dogs and senior or special needs dogs average 12 months on the Pet finder adoption site.
The only real fact, not ignorance, superstition or media, and folklore bias are that black dogs do not photograph well on animal shelter websites. This is easily overcome however by simply photographing black dogs in front of blue screens or blue paper, as we do at GPA. At Green Pets America Charities, we believe that the color of a dogs coat has nothing to do with the dogs’ temperament or personality. Ask any owner of a black dog. Ask me: we have three black dogs, I rescued from shelters. Our black dogs are as loving, playful, smart and a joy to be with each day as our other two, non-black dogs.
So what can you do to help end Black Dog Syndrome?
You can go to an animal shelter and adopt a black shelter dog.
You can share this with friends and family, encouraging them to consider adopting a black dog the next time they get a dog.
You can teach people it’s not the color of the dog, but the size of her or his heart that is important.