Black Dog Friday is a national education program created by Green Pets America Charities. The mission of the program is to educate adults and school kids on the least adopted dogs in America. Black dogs are the least adopted and therefore most euthanized of all shelter dogs. Approximately 750,000 black dogs are euthanized every year. The Black Dog Friday educates on these phenomena, named “Black Dog Syndrome”.
Click this link to see the Today Show Video for the Black Dog Story
To overcome this phenomenon Green Pets America Charities has created the national education awareness program Black Dog Friday.
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 realized that black dogs languished not only longer in shelters, but rescue groups such as ours as well. Where shelters and rescue groups adopt other colors out on average in three months, some black dogs take up to a year…. some, even more.
So I did some research and found that our experience at Green Pets America was not unusual, it was sadly normal. Seems there is even a name for it. This phenomenon is called 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.
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 this bias, black shelter 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, creators of Black Dog Friday 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. 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 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. Remind people it’s not the color of the dog, but the size of her or his heart that is important. And you can donate to our in school training program Black Dog Friday Kids.
Steven Monahan is a best selling author, animal welfare leader, and prior Fortune 500 executive. He is a prolific entrepreneur, the Founder and Chairman of Green Pets America Charities, Black Dog Syndrome.org, Black Dog Friday.org and Canis Magazine.
Steve presents at school education programs and adult seminars. He shares his insights, expertise, and passion on the human animal bond; including, nutrition, pet food, total wellness, animal welfare and animal rights. He can be reached at Steve@GreenPetsAmerica.org