Black Listed: The Truth about Big Black Dogs
Everyone who loves dogs knows that in shelters, certain breeds of dogs often end up on “doggie death row.” It’s the breeds with the bad reps: The Rottweilers, the Staffordshire Terriers, the crosses, etc.
But there’s something the general dog-loving public probably doesn’t know: Big black dogs (BBDs) are as hard, or harder, to place as these breeds — even if they’re friendly, well trained, and in perfect health!
And why should this be? Well, white and black, good and bad, can it really be as simple as that? Animal shelter workers and behaviorists alike don’t care to do more than venture answers to this question, because the why isn’t the point.
It’s the what that really matters: What they do know is that big black dogs are stigmatized and frequently passed up for adoption for prettier, lighter-colored dogs; they often spend years waiting to be adopted as a result.
One rescue worker who tried valiantly to place a friendly black Labrador Retriever found out firsthand what BBDs are up against. In the process, she discovered that shelters across the country are over-flowing with black-coated dogs like Newfoundlands, Chows, Labs, and Rottweilers.
Rescue groups plead on their Web sites, “Please don’t overlook our black dogs.” The more Tamara Delaney, the rescue worker trying to place Jake, the black Lab, learned, the more determined she was to play a part in changing the fate of the BBD in America. She began by adopting Jake — but that was only the beginning.
Contrary to Ordinary
Delaney created a site she calls, Contrary to Ordinary: The Black Pearls of the Dog World. She uses it to act as middleman between rescue organizations and shelters, by posting the pictures and stories of black dogs who have been passed up for adoption in favor of lighter-coated dogs.
Her purpose, first and foremost, is to get black dogs off death row, but she also aims to create awareness of the BBD stigma; a plight so many who love animals aren’t aware exists.
Black is back
Most big black dogs in shelters don’t have a chance unless they have shelter staff, Delaney, or others who champion their cause pulling hard for them.
Many shelters try to increase the desirability of their big black dogs by putting colorful bandanas on them, highlighting their personalities, teaching them tricks, never putting a bunch of black dogs near each other in the kennel, and more — all in the name of steering potential adopters their way, and making them take a second look.
But even so, each year shelters must turn away BBDs because they simply can’t fill the shelters with them. Jill Wimmer, a shelter manager at a no-kill shelter in Atlanta, says she can easily adopt out three dogs in the time it takes to find a home for one big black dog.
Beautiful black dogs
Delaney’s site, filled with facts about black dogs, brims with great information and resources that highlight just how overlooked and underadopted big black dogs really are.
She and shelter workers across the country are making a difference, and continue to be advocates, working hard for the BBDs in American shelters and foster homes — one beautiful big black dog at a time.
Please visit http://www.blackpearldogs.com/ for more information, or to help big black dogs in need.
Even ol Rover is being passed up for his Blackness?!?!?! The "Man" just doesn't discriminate I guess. The irony of this story just slays me. I actually think Black dogs and cats are beautiful, I personally would own one. *holds up a "Free Rover" sign*.
Labels: Random Musings