Chili is a well-trained, sociable lab/pit
mix who's been waiting for a home
since October 2010.
"Chili" first arrived at Sarasota County's Animal Services shelter as a puppy in October 2010. He's well-behaved, walks easily on a leash, and even gets along great with other dogs. But like other black dogs (and cats), his color is one reason why he is constantly overlooked.
Carolyn Repeta, a volunteer with Sarasota in Defense of Animals, is fostering Chili to give him a break from stressful shelter life. But Chili desperately needs his own home. If you'd like to take him in, contact Carolyn by clicking here. A word to cat lovers: Chili is scared of cats and avoids them, so don't be discouraged from adopting him.
To learn more about "black dog syndrome," read this column from Maria Goodavage, a former staff writer with USA Today who now writes the "For the Love of Dog Blog" for dogster (click here to read more):
Of the muted rainbow assortment of colors dogs come in these days, those who are black have the hardest time getting adopted. They'll languish in their shelter cages day after day, week after week (if they're lucky enough to not be killed first), and watch as their brown, yellow, red, white and other color neighbors go off happily to new homes.
A black dog may be the sweetest, friendliest dog in the shelter, but because of his color alone, he may well be passed over until the clock hits the deadline and he must make room for another dog. Each year hundreds of thousands of black dogs and cats are killed for no other reason than because they're not the right color. This phenomenon even has a name: Black Dog/Cat Syndrome.
The reason behind it has nothing to do with racism. And while the unfortunate notion that black dogs are unlucky or more dangerous plays some role in the syndrome, experts think the main reason black dogs are harder to place is more likely that they don't attract our attention. (Black cats may suffer more from the "unlucky" superstition.)
Pitch pooches don't stand out. Their faces are less easy to see, and even pleading eyes and the plaintive "please take me home" expressions can be lost on a black dog's dark face. Black dogs suffer partly because they're not easy to photograph. Black dogs suffer even online, on adoption websites. Black dogs are notoriously difficult to photograph.
Check out this photo of the black puppy on the right. He's cute as can be, but he kind of looks like a
black blog in the photo. Ironically, this photograph was used on a well-meaning person's Flickr photostream to attract people to adopt black dogs.
Fortunately, more rescue organizations are trying to do something to remedy the plight of black dogs and cats. The Best Friends Animal Society is hoping to help thousands of black pets find forever homes: during its "Back in Black" adoption event, which runs through Sept. 17, anyone who adopts a black pet from a participating shelter gets 50 percent off adoption fees. The list of shelters isn't terribly extensive, but at least it helps get people thinking about the plight of black dogs and cats.
Dogsters, even if you don't adopt a black dog during this event, maybe you could help your local shelter learn about how to better promote black dogs online. There are many web tutorials on how to photograph black dogs so their features stand out. This one at PawPrintsLife.com is very helpful. It's astounding that something so simple can mean the difference between life and death ....