Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heather Rosenwald Helps Black Dogs Break the Color Barrier

Mimi's note: Possibly one of the best and sweetest dogs I have ever lived with (I don't own dogs) is my darling Miss Savannah Leigh (see sidebar). Just a little spaniel mix I adopted as a baby from a local rescue, she grew to be loving and bright and perfect in each and every way. No one - absolutely no one - could ask for a better companion. My son, Jeff, had a black dog mix, Angie Marie, as his friend for nearly 16 years. Angie was saved from the local kill pound at the tender age of only three weeks. Jeff always teased me that he had the only perfect dog on earth!

I'm without a black dog in my life at the present time but I have vowed that my next dog will be a BIG BLACK DOG - not a pup, either. I want to make a difference and bring home a dog that has the least chance to make it into a loving home. After all, if you close your eyes when you cuddle your dog -  you can't see what color it is but you CAN feel the LOVE! And - really - that's all that counts, isn't it? (Sidenote: a severe back injury has kept me away from blogging this past week or so. Hopefully I'll be back to making comments on your wonderful blogs more often in a few days ☺)

PeoplePets.com While volunteering as an animal rescuer, Heather Rosenwald quickly noticed that black dogs seemed cursed: It was always difficult to find them homes.

"Black dogs are truly such underdogs," says Rosenwald, who has three dogs with her husband, two of them black. Instead, potential owners gravitate toward pets "that are colorful and eye-catching." It's a phenomenon that's been dubbed Black Dog Syndrome.

So, Rosenwald, who's from the greater Minneapolis area, decided to act. Nearly two years ago, she founded startseeingblackdogs.com, a Web site intended to raise awareness about the plight of black dogs by providing shelters and rescue groups with no-cost public relations, marketing resources and ideas (like using Yahoo Groups service to promote adoptions) to help them boost adoption rates for black dogs. Now there's a Facebook group, too, called Start Seeing Black Dogs.

The problem, Rosenwald says, is that black dogs and black cats are often considered plain or even threatening. Among lighter-colored dogs at a shelter, they are hard to notice. Rescue groups had so many "wonderful mixed-breed black dogs available, and adopters were overlooking them," she says.

And for adoption Web sites, ink-colored animals are tough to photograph. Pictures often look like a "black blob," Rosenwald explains. To get the attention these dark dogs, and cats, deserve, she says rescue groups should photograph them in an unshadowed area with indirect natural light, or highlight dogs with colorful bandanas.

The adoption problem doesn't extend to black purebred dogs, such as Portuguese water dogs, black Labrador retrievers or black poodles. Those dogs are often saved from shelters by breed rescue groups, Rosenwald tells PEOPLEPets.com, but "mixed-breed black dogs don't have advocates the same way." Consequently, they face a greater threat of being euthanized.

Rosenwald hopes her organization can change the way people perceive black animals. "They bring such happiness to us," she says of her dogs. "And I wanted to help other dogs find a happy home."

National Canine Cancer Foundation


Samantha said...

Oh Mimi! Sooo sorry to hear about your back - I don't think there's anything more painful than issues with the spine or disk problems - may you heal very soon. I did not know that black dogs were more difficult to adopt - that is sad news indeed. But glad to see that there are groups now to help people move through this barrier - I'll go to FB now and join that group. Please get better soon!
Hugs xo

Sammie and Mom

Kari in WeHo said...

BBD syndrome has always broken my heart. I had one growing up

Teddy Bear said...

We hope your Mom's back gets better soon. We had no idea about black dogs. People are funny with their color preferences.

Teddy Bear

Frankie Furter said...

Scout and Freyja, you take good care of mom.
What silly creatures these two leggers are. Imagine not knowing that the color of our furs makes one bit of difference.

Sagira said...

Hope your moms back feels better.
Black dogs are hard to place... :( It is hard to get them to photograph well and they just don't stand out at the shelter. We rescued a black lab as well. :)

Alex93andme said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your back injury. I've had enough of them and they are very painful to put it mildly. I've heard about the big black dog problem which I have yet to understand...why? I love black dogs. I love all dogs. I have been to our SPCA many times and I have noticed that every cage usually has a big black dog waiting in it. My next dog will be a BBD!! Debbie and Holly

Inigo Flufflebum and d'Artagnan Rumblepurr said...

Sending lots of healing RUMBLEpurrs...

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Mimi dear...I hope that your back heals so that your can enjoy life with dogs to the max again.
This was an extremely touching post. You know how to get to the heart, big time.
Hugs...and chocolate...

Tanuki Maxx said...

Hello hello! Hope your back heals soon! Very nice post! thanks for sharing it with everyone and everypup!


Ms. ~K said...

Oh No!!! I too have back ailments (cervical degenerative disc disease) and know how it can take the joy out of life...feel better soon!

Buddy was in the shelter where I volunteered. Although he appears to be purebred Lab, his size and color worked against him...He was overlooked time and time again until I finally decided to bring him home to foster him...that was 3years ago. I knew the minute he got out of the car that he had found his fur-ever home!
BBD is a sad, sad situation!
Thanks for spreading the word!
Sending gentle hugs to you,

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Yet more proof too many hoomans are stoopid...

Thank dog fur the smart ones that khare!

PeeEssWoo: Paws khrossed fur woo and your bakhk!

Cocorue said...

TQ for this post as now you've made mumster smile as she been sad about Max in SAfrica....

i've always known tht hoomans and most 2leggers are 'colour blind ' and you've confirmed it....maybe i should 'colour' my fur black bol....stoooopid hoomans ha


The 'splorin' Wolfies said...

Savannah would be pround of this post! balck dogs and white faced dogs are the first to be overlooked. --great job as always

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Hope you feel better soon!

Trixie the black (and tan, but mostly black) mixed breed would like to say "thank you" for this post.

Carol............. said...

I used to have 2 very large, very dark German Shepherds who were the most lovable guys. I love big dark dogs but I think they've been used in many movies depicting them as bad or evil so this hasn't helped them be seen in a positive way.

How wonderful for you to make a difference.

Sue said...

We love black dogs in this house. Eight of our ten are black.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Scout and Freyja.
We did not know that information about black doggies.
That is SAD.
Is your mommies back getting better? My mama Paulette has a hurt back too.