Black dogs need loving homes too
March 23, 2007
With spring comes the idea of new starts and plans. As my first acclamation into spring, my boyfriend and I decided we wanted to give a new start to an abandoned canine by adopting him.
After a few weeks of pouring over Web sites full of adoption information and adorable photos of puppies, I came across the Web site www.blackpearldogs.com.
This site shocked and saddened me to the point of deciding to perform research on the topic. I felt compelled to devote an entire newspaper column to the issue.
This particular quote stood out to me: “We are guessing that the general public is not aware of how doomed black dogs are when they are brought to the pound because black dogs, particularly black Lab or Lab mixes are euthanized at a horrifying rate at many pounds and shelters because people pass them up for lighter-colored dogs.”
I have never considered adopting a black dog before, but the more research I did on the “black dog syndrome,” the more guilty I felt for not taking a “chance” on a friendly dark-colored Lab.
The Web site was launched to raise awareness of the tragedy and offered five possible reasons for many adopters to overlook a black dog.
The list included anything from they are too “ordinary” to they are more likely to overheat in sporting events (think sleddog racing). They also mention three that all seem to work together: fear of aggressive behavior, negative labels of being menacing and popular superstitions of a black dog’s symbol.
For example, in many European cultures, the image of a black dog is associated with death and misfortune. Even popular novels like “Harry Potter” are buying into the threatening, aggressive, ill-fated stereotype associated with dark-colored canines.
To put the extent of the problem into perspective, I’d like to share the story of a black Lab named Sheba.
According to the Web site, “Sheba is a blue-eyed beauty. Unfortunately, no one has ever really admired her beauty before. This gorgeous young female black Lab mix spent most of her two years of life chained in a yard without even a doghouse to shelter her from the elements. Sheba’s days are numbered.
This small shelter, with a capacity of 24 dogs, has more than a hundred. If the dogs are not moved into their forever homes or rescued by that date [Nov. 1] they will be gassed.”
While I realize many students live in apartments and residence halls, making it hard to help a suffering dog, I encourage you to pass this Web site along to others and consider saving the “common” dog when you finally are able to add a canine to your lifestyle.
The reward of saving not just a dog in need, but one with many strikes already against it, will be immense.
A black dog isn’t necessarily the flashiest dog to take home, but the companionship you will gain and the plain beauty you will see will be just as wonderful as any other colored (or breed) of dog.
Laney Smith is a student at UW-River Falls.