Knowing Dogs


know. verb, "to have knowledge or clear and certain perception, as of fact or truth."

Bring Back Black!

Changing the color of pet adoptions...

Could pet owners be racist? How about those who "pull" dogs from shelters, saving them by bringing them to private rescue programs? Would they actually pass over a dog just because of his color? Umm.....maybe so. Just ask any dog or cat rescue volunteer. Black often translates to "unadoptable". For some odd reason, potential adopters are incapable of seeing black. Not even black with a tad of white. Has to be "tuxedo", enough white to be a real "oreo" in order to catch an adopter's eye. Unfortunately, this translates to...if a pet has the misfortune of landing in an animal shelter.....the blacker they are, the more they are doomed.. And even for black animals who do make it out to a rescue program, if they happen to be black, they may wait months, sometimes years, for their forever homes.

Animal shelters are nearly always full of wonderful black dogs and black cats. Ask them what percentage of them make it out and you'll find that it is a very small number. I don't know why this prejudice exists. Of course with cats, it could be superstition, but that is pretty ridiculous--ask any cat lover and they can relate stories of the sweetest, most amazing cats they have known who were black in color. Our own sold black cat, Gabe, adopted from Angels of Assisi, is simply incredible.

Speaking of black and incredible, let me tell you about "Dutch". He was a great black dog (tiny touch of white), mostly Lab, mixed with something else, something made of joy and sweetness. He really had no faults other than his color. And why is that a fault? Like all black creatures, his coat was absolutely gorgeous right after a bath....I loved the way it glistened when the sun hit it. Dutch loved people, never met a stranger. He was a quiet boy, and young, under two years old when he was picked up by animal control as a stray.

Dutch was rescued from a "high-kill" rural animal shelter on the very day that he was scheduled to be put down. I met him at an adoption event at Petco and found out that he was not getting any adoption inquiries even though at adoption fairs we could see that he loved children and other dogs. I asked if I could foster him, in hopes of finding him a home through Angels of Assisi in Roanoke, Virginia.

We fostered him under Assisi's umbrella for many months....and Dutch was always a wonderful ambassador for black dogs when he attended adoption fairs. But always when he came back to his kennel situation here, I imagined that I saw disappointment in his eyes. After all, whenever I gave him a bath and put on his bandana, I always whispered in his ear that today might be the day..his day, the day that someone would look into his eyes and make a forever commitment to make him a part of their family.

Let's bring black back. Think about it. In venues other than pets, we recognize that the color black is classy, upscale and elegant. Think furniture in a New York apartment, the model's amazing dress at the Hollywood cocktail party. The gentleman's dark overcoat you notice when he steps out of his sleek black BMW.

Black has value. Stamp it on a dog and it should increase the value, not decrease it! Let's stop the constant killing of black dogs and cats who take their last breath at an animal shelter.

Let's get back to black.


The original version of this article was a blog post about our foster dog Dutch, a black beauty whose color actually ended up being the key to finding his forever home! In addition, an inquiry that came in after Dutch was adopted resulted in another black dog being adopted from Angels of Assisi, another special dog that had been overlooked due to his color.

Could you forward this link to all your friends who might happen to know someone who would love and appreciate a special black dog? Although Dutch found his place in someone's heart, there are thousands more black dogs who long to come out of their shelter run and become someone's very valued, beloved pet, just as there are cages full of black cats. Can you help? Remember, it takes a piece of coal to make a diamond...and once a dog like Dutch is discovered, they are indeed diamonds....beautiful treasures of great value. Gems come in all colors. Whether you or a rescue group volunteer or an adopter, make sure you don't overlook the treasures of darker color the next time you are at the shelter. If you live in or near the Roanoke, Virginia area, please come take a look at the beautiful gems, of all colors, that are awaiting adoption at Angels of Assisi.



(c)2010-2011, Melanie Schlaginhaufen, all rights reserved. For permission to reprint, or to read other articles and find out about our dog ebooks, visit Melanie can be reached through the Contact link.