Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Human Hero of the month, Tamara Delaney!

Black Dogs Face a Hard Choice at Shelter
Don't judge a dog by his color

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where did you find YOUR black dog?

Was it the shelter or a stray? A breeder, a friend, craigslist or somewhere else? This is Libby, whom we found seeking a forever home on c.l. She was rescued from a high kill pound when she was 5 months old by her past owner who gave her to us in April of this year when he decided he wasn't able to give her the time and attention and exercise she needs daily. She is a great example of how wonderful a black dog can be!
Share your story!

Black dog Bias?

For many dogs awaiting adoption, the speed with which they find a home may rest not on their breed, gender or age but on one trait that has no bearing on their personality or temperament.

Shelter officials have dubbed it black dog syndrome -- the propensity of dark-coated animals to be passed over for adoption in favor of their lighter counterparts.

Skeptics say the syndrome is an urban legend, but shelter and rescue leaders insist the phenomenon is very, very real.

"It definitely exists," said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. She cited many causes, not the least of which is a misperception that black dogs are mean. "It's that old thing of light is good and dark is evil. The light-versus-dark thing is so ingrained in our consciousness in books and movies. It transfers subliminally in picking out a dog."

It doesn't help that many would-be pet owners now start their search on shelter and rescue websites, where animals' back stories are often written up like the treatment for some Lifetime heart-tugger, each bio accompanied with a canine glamour shot. The problem: Black dogs often don't photograph well. Facial features disappear, and animals can appear less expressive.

"You can't see their eyes very well, and people seem to connect with the eyes," said Ricky Whitman, spokeswoman for Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA.

When prospective adopters do venture to a shelter, black dogs sometimes fade away into the kennel shadows. "They almost become invisible," Bernstein said.

Reliable quantitative studies on the problem are few, and Ed Boks, general manager of the Los Angeles Animal Services department, said his data indicate black dog syndrome is a myth.

In the last 12 months, he said, 27% of the 30,046 dogs taken in by his department were predominantly or all black. Of those that were adopted, 28% were predominantly or all black, he said.

Whitman said the question isn't whether a black dog will get adopted, but how long it will take. The average wait at her shelter is two weeks, she said. Black dogs may linger two months.

Karen Terpstra, who until recently was executive director of the Humane Society of Kent County in Michigan, said the problem is national. "We'd have a purebred black Lab, 2 or 3 years old, pretty much the perfect age, and it would sit there for weeks waiting to get adopted," said Terpstra, now chief operations officer for SPCA Cincinnati. "A tan Lab would go in days."

The lengthened stays create additional problems: Because black dogs are harder to place in homes, shelters often have a glut. "Then you have the problem of people thinking they're ordinary and common, not unusual and interesting," Bernstein said.

To combat the problem, savvy shelters keep their black dogs in their best-lighted kennels. A bright bandanna around the neck helps a dark animal stand out, and colorful toys can lessen the fear factor.

Last year Terpstra's former shelter in Michigan and the Austin Humane Society in Texas independently launched a Black Friday campaign on the day after Thanksgiving, reducing the adoption fee for any black animal. Mike Arms, president of the nonprofit Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, created a program to help black cats, which he said encounter the same challenges as black dogs. Arms' campaign offers a free dark-haired feline with the adoption of any other cat. The program's name: Me and My Shadow.

The Pasadena shelter goes a step further, training dogs to venture from the depths of the kennels to come sit in front as visitors walk by. "People are charmed," Whitman said, and the dogs have a better chance of making a connection. And when all else fails, Bernstein said, SPCA-LA staff encourages adults to bring their children to shelters. "Sometimes," she said, "kids don't see color the way grown-ups do."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Weekdays Black Dog Playgroup in Newbury Park! STARTING AGAIN IN AUGUST!

School is back in session! Once again we start our weekday Black Dog Club playdates at 9:30a.m. at Wendy Park.
Hikes on Wendy Trail at Potrero and Wendy can be joined daily as well at 8:20 am. Confirm so we can meet and walk the packs to

Monday, April 11, 2011

Start a monthly BLACK DOG WALK!


WHO: Anyone and everyone with a black dog. All ages, shapes and sizes of people and pooches are welcome. We strongly encourage area shelters or rescue groups to come and walk a dog in need of a home. If your dog is in need of a home, put your dog in an “adopt me” bandana or t-shirt to help draw attention to him. Let's spread the word about Black Dog Syndrome.

All dogs must be on a leash and up to date on vaccinations. Please be sure to pick up after your dog.
WHAT: Social gathering for you and your black dog to spread awareness about Black Dog Syndrome. You and your dog will stroll through a Park with other black dogs and their people. The Black Dog Walk is a wonderful way to meet other dog lovers while socializing and exercising your dog. You don’t need to sign up or pay a fee to join. You don’t even need to make a long term commitment. If you have a black dog and some spare time on a Saturday or Sunday morning, find a pack near you and help make a difference for homeless black dogs!

black puppy at Davis County Animal Shelter click here for more information WHERE: The Black Dog Walk is happening in communities across the country. The first walk took place on Saturday, August 29, 2009 in Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. Before the first walk even happened we had folks from across the nation looking to find a walk close to them.
WHEN: The Black Dog Walk is a regular event. (weather permitting) The walks usually take place weekly or monthly on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Please email to find the next date!
WHY: Homeless black dogs get overlooked every day. They are the last to find homes and the first to be euthanized. By walking black dogs together and promoting the black dogs in need of forever homes, we will spread awareness about Black Dog Syndrome and begin to change the odds for homeless black dogs.

Please pass this along to your friends and family. The larger the crowds, the more attention we will bring to Black Dog Syndrome. Do your part to help change the odds and help black dogs find loving forever homes.
Hope to see you there!
black dog at Ogden City Animal Shelter click here for more information Thousand Oaks, California! Let's get started in a community near you. I will post the event on our blog and facebook page so others can find you. We will post a flyer on your page so that any one of your pack members can print it and post it on local community bulletin boards in grocery stores, pet stores, veterinary offices, grooming salons or shelters, to help get the word out. Send us pictures of your pack members, adoption success stories or other tidbits about your pack. We'll add it all to your packs page.
All it takes to get a walk started in a community near you is someone willing to be a point of contact. Black Dog Club will do all that we can to help make your walks a success, but we need a point of contact in your community that is passionate about black dogs and willing to commit to walking at the majority of the black dog walks in your area. If this person is you, please let us know! Leave a message on this blog or email to tell us you are interested in starting a black dog walk in your community.



Visit your local shelter!

“Have you ever been to the shelter, walked down a line of kennels and seen mostly black dogs? Many times black dogs seem to be overlooked in favor of lighter colored dogs. There are different theories behind this, maybe its because they are harder to see in the back of their kennel, so there isn’t an instant connection. Maybe the photographs you see on the website aren’t able to depict their features as well as a light tan or brown dog. No matter what the theory behind this phenomenon is the fact remains, black dogs are the most commonly overlooked type of dog in shelters.
The fact is, the color of the dog has no bearing on his or her temperament, behavior or health. Dogs come in all sorts of sizes and colors each with its own personality. It is this personality that draws us to them, not the color of their fur. Remember this the next time you are looking to add a new family member, take a good look at who is in that kennel, you might just find your new best friend.”

Have you opened your heart to a black dog today?

Did you know that many wonderful dogs are overlooked at shelters across the nation every day simply because of the color of their fur? Black is the most common color of dog that you’ll find at any shelter. Most shelters find that black dogs, especially large ones, are often the most difficult to place into forever homes.
As an adopter, you have the power to make a real difference in the life of a black shelter dog--a dog often slighted by other adopters in favor of a more colorful companion. Join others in experiencing the joys of having a black dog in your life and adopt one today!