Friday’s Facts: Black Dog Discrimination

Discrimination…does it still exist? The sad truth is yes. It is happening to our furry friends, in shelters all over the world.



“The Black Dog Syndrome” is the idea that a black dog is less likely to be adopted simply because of his coloring. It is not based on their personality, health, or breed traits; just the color of their fur. There are many beliefs as to why this may be true…



-Big black dogs have been portrayed as symbols of death in  literature and legend, cast as bad guys in movies, and even  featured in modern stories like the dog Grim in the Harry Potter tales.

-Black dogs don’t photograph well. They sometimes need to be specially  lighted for photography and therefore don’t show up well on shelter websites,  and in pamphlets and flyers. Visitors have trouble noticing them too in poorly lit kennels.



-Adopters may perceive black dogs as common, or generic.

-Ordinary lackluster names may not be helping the cause! “Rodney Taylor, associate director of the Animal Management Division in Prince  George County, said he’s working hard to get better photographs of black dogs.  He’s also instructed his staff to start giving some of the shelter’s dogs celebrity names—like Foxy Brown, Faith Hill, Al Capone, and Beyonce. “The name is really  important,” Leonard told me. “At the shelter I used to work at, all these dogs  would come in with unattractive names that really wouldn’t do them any favors. I  remember hearing about one woman who named a black cat who no one was adopting  Jellybean, and then she got snapped up right away. So then every time she got a  black cat, she’d name it Jellybean, and it worked like a charm. I’m not sure if  the name Jellybean would work for a big black dog, but we should come up with  something. We need to help these dogs.”

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Meet Thelma & Louise…adoptable lab girls @ The Wakulla Animal Shelter














Sometimes I get so frustrated by the pictures I see coming out of shelters. While I know they are almost always run by volunteers, and no one expects professional pictures, some of the pictures are just…not good! If you notice on close up pictures, that show a dog’s eyes, people often comment about how sad or happy, soulful or playful, a dog looks. Sometimes a dog may be primarily black, but also has unique markings to note…like Louise above, who has little white “socks” on her feet! Pictures should help show the dog in a positive light! And then there are the names…where do they come up with these names?! We need to put on our creative hats & adorn these pups with better names. Even if the name is temporary, having a cute but unique name helps bring positive attention to the dog!

This beautiful boy has been living in a vet’s clinic, after being an owner surrender. He was been there for months, and is at the end of his time. He will be taken to a shelter soon…will he make it out alive?




Unfortunately this particular issue is not tracked, so there are no numbers to show. We don’t know the total of black dogs in shelters, or the amount of black dogs that are put to sleep from being left in shelters before catching an adopters eye. But I do know, if you take a minute to look through your local shelter’s available dogs, you will see an awful lot of black pups needing homes.














Take all of the dogs in this post for example…they are all good, sweet, cute available dogs for adoption through either Last Hope Rescue or Wakulla Animal Control. Many of them waiting for a very long time to find a home of their own. Some are urgent, at risk of being put to sleep. Please take a moment to share them, and maybe we all can be a part of their happy endings. I know I love my very own black dog, Oscar! Thanks friends, and happy Friday! 🙂

Black Dogs




Sharing IS Caring!

Today I thought I would do something a little different. Instead of showing you adoptable pups, and begging you to share them, I am going to do just the opposite. I am going to share some (short) adoption stories, and the importance of social media sharing.

First, there’s my little Oscar. He was located in a shelter in Gainesville, and after about a month, his time was up. As a last ditch effort, the shelter sends out emails to any rescue contacts they have, to try to save the dog before he/she is put to sleep. Angela, founder of Last Hope Rescue, received the email about this little dog named Half Pint. She forwarded it on to her contacts, which included me. Half Pint found his forever home, and was renamed Oscar! Oscar came to me as a fully potty trained, crate trained, 11 month old dog. He is unbelievably sweet, gets along with every dog he’s met, and loves everyone. He also already knew “sit”, and has quickly learned “off”, “kennel”, and of course “treat!” He was going to be put to sleep simply because no one wanted him, and they needed room for more homeless dogs. When I think about what a goofy, loving dog he is, and how his life was about to be cut short, I am so relieved that he is in my hands now. So, moral of the story? Had the shelter not shared him, and then Angela not shared him after that, I am certain he would no longer be alive. And what a shame that would be, considering the good, loving, sweet dog that he is!

"Half Pint"
“Half Pint”

Next I want to share the story of Champagne. She was on the urgent list at a local shelter. The shelter was begging and pleading for help. They were full, and had already put down a few dogs due to the never-ending drop offs. The shelter has certain criteria that indicates which dogs go first, and Champagne was now at the top of the list. They were sharing her on facebook as much as possible; I shared her; multiple rescues were sharing her; fellow volunteers and dog lovers were sharing her. Next thing you know, she is adopted! Again, another dog that is perfectly sweet, about to be put down because of over crowded shelters, but she was lucky enough to be saved.

Champange is safe, thanks to her forever hero!
Champagne is safe, thanks to her forever hero!

The next story is on this adorable little pup, Roxy. She was found roaming a golf course, and a good Samaritan took her in (kudos!). Unfortunately that person’s dog wasn’t fond of Roxy, so they needed help ASAP or she would have to go to the shelter. Again, she was shared all over the internet. And now, Roxy has found a new home.

Roxy is sure to love her forever home, much more than the boring ol golf course!
Roxy is sure to love her forever home, much more than the boring ol golf course!


Quite a few dogs from Last Hope Rescue have also been adopted recently, including Duncan, James, & Gracie!


Duncan-adopted by his foster mama!
Duncan-adopted by his foster mama!
James is so happy to have found his forever home!
James is so happy to have found his forever home!


Gracie, a very young mama dog. All of her puppies were adopted, and now she's finally found a home too!
Gracie, a very young mama dog. All of her puppies were adopted, and now she’s finally found a home too!


There are also quite a few adoptions pending, but in fear of jinxing them, I won’t list those stories! So anyway, the first reason for sharing these is just to show that there ARE happy endings out there. It is frustrating and sad to see all of these homeless animals, and sometimes I need to remind myself of the good things happening. I remind myself to think about the wonderful adopters that have given forever homes to my foster babies. I truly feel that they are all now in great homes, to be loved for the rest of their lives. The second point of this post, is to remind you of how important it is to share these animals through social networking. I don’t expect anyone to share every single dog that needs a home. I am certain that no one wants to hear about these homeless pets every day. I am also aware that some people are just not dog people. And that is perfectly ok. No judging here! But, just hear me out…

Our world has turned to social media for so many things these days. People share every minute of their lives, personal moments via their facebook status, pictures of their kids, animals, vacations on Instagram. We have let technology completely take over our lives. Instead of picking up the phone, we text or facebook someone, even email seems to be the last form of communication used. What happened to sending a letter or card to someone you love? We are all in such a rush, always moving, looking for the next thing to do. I am totally guilty of this myself. Instead of watching the news on tv, I read the stories I’m interested in online, usually via Twitter. Sometimes I catch myself thinking of a friend, and instead of calling or even texting them, I go on facebook to see what they are up to. That doesn’t show them that I am thinking of them though, that I am here for them…but while I feel that social media has had a negative effect on relationships, I think it is important to admit that it also has it’s benefits. If there was no facebook and email, how would these dogs get seen? Many of them are stuck in tiny little shelters, on back roads where no one even knows about them.

So, that leads me to my challenge for you today….I ask that just once in awhile, every now and then, when you see a dog posted that is in need of a home, you hit that “share” or “forward” button. You never know who will see that scruffy ol’ face, or that beautiful purebred (trust me, there are plenty of them!). Can you truly say without a doubt, 100%, that you KNOW none of you 239 facebook friends are looking for a dog? Maybe it will inspire someone else to share the post, just like you did, and who knows how many people it could reach from there. So, my friends….will you share today?

Check out these facebook pages to view many dogs in need: Tails of a Foster Mom; Last Hope Rescue, Friends of Wakulla County Animal Shelter