Did you know that black dogs spend 3-4 times longer in animal shelters awaiting furever homes than pooches of any other color?
Why? And how can we all help?
National Black Dog Day, celebrated on the first of October, and Black Dog Syndrome (BDS) Awareness Month, which is recognized for the whole of October, may be unknown to many folks. Black Dog Syndrome is a phenomenon in pet adoption, a conscious or subconscious bias against black coated dogs, and the purposes of the holiday and the month of awareness is to help end the unnecessary oversight of equally lovable black doggos.
Observed by animal shelters and animal rescue groups across the nation and the world for decades, BDS is a matter negatively affecting the adoption rates of black dogs. There are several possible reasons for the phenomenon, and knowing them, being conscious of them, then spreading the word to others, may greatly assist in overcoming the unfortunate issue.
Dog adopters might overlook black dogs, big or small, because of a fear stigma: Current signals and portrayals in our culture are all around us in our media. Books, movies and television shows often portray big, dark dogs as aggressive, mean, and intimidating, which may have a huge negative influence over potential adopters.
In mythology and folklore, black dogs are very often portrayed as evil, overwatchers of the dark energies or the underworld. Seen as jinxes or bad omens, superstitious ideologies and cultural teachings go back many, many centuries, and unbeknownst to us, those ideas may have burrowed in our modern minds, so much so that they surface in the very media we consume..
Cause aside, when we lovingly take steps to adopt a home-needing puppy, adult, or senior dog, our subconscious biases may come into play while searching a shelter for our new furry family member. If we worry that black dogs represent evil, black coated pooches face a longer (sadder) stay in a shelter: statistically, 3-5 times longer than any lighter colored dog. Similar to the situation of black cats, known as black cat syndrome, these poor animals face fear bias by no fault of their own.
How to Help
When undergoing the adoption search, choose pets based on temperament and suitability to your family’s lifestyle, and make sure you have the time and resources needed for responsible dog ownership. Not judging a book by its cover, or a pupper for its coat color, we can help give these equally sweet, smart, sassy, and deserving black dogs a wonderful home and life, helping to conquer Black Dog Syndrome furever! Other ways to help: If you’re unable to get a dog of your own, then think about donating to local shelters or animal rescues to help support their operations and, therefore, give a black dog more hope.
You can also volunteer to support local shelters. Often, shelters will have volunteer opportunities to walk, play with, or even just relax with dogs. Volunteering is a great way to positively influence a dog’s life without spending the big bucks or making a life-changing commitment. Another wonderful way to help the Blck Dog Cause is by fostering a black pooch. Fostering can extend the chances for his or her adoption, helping better socialize the pooch, giving them individualized love and attention that they wouldn’t necessarily get at a shelter, and extending his or her time away from the shelter.
Lastly, you can make a difference in a black shelter-animal’s life by sharing your thoughts on the issue with friends, family, and community members. Encourage them to adopt a black dog (or cat!) and be sure to share photos of adoptable pets on your website or social media channels to give them a boost. Word-of-mouth makes a surprisingly big impact. Any way you choose to help, especially today, Thursday October 22, 2020, which is the second ever #MakeaDogsDay Day! Is a big paw-step in the right direction! Here’s to making a Black Dog’s day!
#NationalBlackDogDay #BlackDogSyndromAwareness #BlackDogSyndromAwarenessMonth #MakeaDogsDay