Big Black Dogs – Look With Your Heart And You’ll See Them

“They’re the hardest to adopt out, they’re in shelters the longest and therefore, they’re most likely to be euthanized, if nothing happens.” 

–  Madeline Bernstein, President, SPCA in Los Angeles, CA; 2008.

But not Lulu.  Lulu is dearly loved. She lives in a small piece of heaven on earth for a dog that’s part lab: she’s one of the lake dogs that I write about and she lives just inside of the Adirondack Park, within sight of Hinkley reservoir.

She’s a mid-sized, nondescript black dog. Some people would say that she’s not much to look at. And, I would tell you that those people simply don’t know what to look for; that Lulu is a beautiful dog.

Maybe, it’s more like they don’t know how to look.

Lulu was a lucky dog. She was adopted out of a small animal shelter by a couple who knew exactly what to look for.

Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to looking at black dogs:

1.  As you browse the internet, remember that black dogs don’t photograph well.  Better to pay attention to the words used to describe them than to let the color of a dog’s fur coat be the first thing that attracts you.

2.  Shelter environments are not always pristine. Two factors that can make it hard to actually see black dogs are poorly lit kennels and walls painted in colors so dull that black dogs seem to physically disappear.

3.  Black dogs’ facial expressions are harder to read. If you’re not a savvy dog person, you may feel scared when you look at a black dog. Learn what questions to ask and you won’t be scared.

Before you even look at shelter dogs that are available for adoption, seek out one of the staff whose business it is to know the dogs and talk with them about the kind of dog you want. A part of their job is to know these dogs and to share what they know with potential adopters.  They can’t do their job if you don’t talk with them.

4. Ask that shelter employee to describe how a dog’s “kennel behavior” can disguise a dog’s better nature. For example, one type of kennel behavior is excessive barking.  A dog that barks a lot in a shelter will become calm and less of a barker when it’s away from the shelter, learning manners and getting consistent exercise.

If you have never had a dog, don’t visit an animal shelter by yourself.  Take a dog-smart friend with you and talk with a shelter employee before going to look at the dogs.

But, keep this in mind when you finally do take a look:

“I’ve had to turn away many black dogs because I can’t fill the place up with them,” says Jill Wimmer, shelter manager at PAWS Atlanta, that city’s oldest and largest no-kill shelter. “And every one I turned away had a great temperament.” Wimmer knows that she can likely adopt out three dogs in the time it takes to find a home for one BBD.

Ask to see the black dogs and promise yourself that you won’t be in a rush to bring home a dog to lose your heart.

Because losing your heart is supposed to be forever.  [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]

 

 

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