Black dog syndrome

December 23, 2013 | By | Add a Comment


In my book, I describe the fact that although I didn’t realize it when I began searching for my first dog, I was a “color bigot.” Meaning, the value I was seeking most was a spiritual connection – but I thought the one I ended up with would be a brightly-colored Yellow Lab, Golden Retriever or German Shepard or mix thereof. As I was in deep grief and mourning at the time, it never even occurred to me that the spiritual connection I made would be with a black puppy.

When I was told by the shelter, on the last day of my three-month search, that they’d rescued two black puppies the day before, my first thought was, “Nope, not for me.” But then, the “little voice” I describe in my book, which has nudged me in certain directions since 9/11, urged me to not be a jerk, and just go back and take a look. Had I not listened, I wouldn’t have met or fallen completely in love with Shayna, who helped to save my life and spirit, and to keep me positive and motivated during some of the darkest, most difficult periods of my life.


As I researched this issue of my “color bigotry,” I discovered I was not alone in my “color bigotry. Shelters around the world report that black dogs are the last ones to be adopted. Some articles on this issue:

“Black Dogs Face a Hard Choice at Shelter,” by Deb Hipp, Bark, Mar/Apr 2006.

“Black pups face doggie discrimination,” by Melissa Dahl,, March 5, 2008.

“Black & White,” by Hsin-Yi Cohen, Dogs Today (UK), February 2007.

If you’re in the market for a dog, please – maybe give a black dog extra consideration.  Don’t be a “color bigot” like I was.

Filed in: Black dog syndrome, The Blog

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