Black Dog Syndrome in the Burque?

I have been volunteering at Animal Humane lately, working with dogs that are timid, shy or otherwise difficult to place in a new forever home. Recently, a young dog came in who was shot in the jaw and left for dead. The folks at the shelter named him "Casino" because he was found wandering around a Casino just outside of Albuquerque. I was asked to do some Reiki energy work on him because he was obviously in a bad way. Because he was young and such a sweet dog, the vets in the shelter had taken the time, effort and expense to rewire and reconstruct his jaw.

My friend Lisa, the behavior specialist there mentioned that she hoped that he would get adopted in spite of being a black dog.

"What, what what?" I said. I had never even thought of such a problem, but she informed me that black dogs, especially big, black dogs are often very difficult to place and the last to be adopted in shelters all around the country, if at all. I couldn’t believe it or didn’t want to, however, it appears to be true. Check it out at Black Dog Syndrome.

“Black dogs are commonly the last, if at all, to be adopted. Destined for death in many shelters they are passed up for whatever the reason."

Now I like to work with Unconscious Social Contracts in my practice and I think this one definitely qualifies.

Prejudice runs deep and is often very unconscious. As children, we read about about black cats and Halloween, and buy into the superstition before we're even old enough to understand what it means.

The old status quo contract says

"White means good and black means bad"

and it has been part of the archetypal mythology for far too long. If you're interested in finding out more about how these collective agreements work, you can check out the intuitive reframing game I call Sacred Cow Tipping.

While you are playing the game, you’ll get an opportunity to envision a different kind of world for yourself and others - including Casino.

PS. Casino is looking for a temporary foster home while his jaw heals - if you can help him or any other shelter animal by fostering, call Animal Humane at (505) 255-5523.

Views: 66

Comment by Kelly on June 17, 2009 at 8:54am
We adopted a black dog from the Animal Humane shelter way back in 2000. He was the last of that summer's crop of Camp Love A Pet dogs. I prefer to think that his lack of adoption for almost 8 weeks was because of his hyperkinetic energy rather than his lovely, sleek black coat. He needed a very active owner, which he got. Now his black chin and lips are speckled with white and he's slowed down a bit. But grab the leash and he still bounces off the walls.
Comment by rheanni on June 17, 2009 at 9:03am
It's true. The really hyper ones need just the right kind of owner. We used to have a black Lab/terrier mix. She was one of the smartest dogs I've ever known. She used to conspire with the cat to open the fridge or get food off the counters. She really kept us on our toes.
Comment by NxDLamb on June 17, 2009 at 9:37am
yes it's very true, unfortunatley. I was actually an employee at AHANM for many years, late 90's thru mid 00's. and although i personally never had to handle any of the euthanasia there, many of the black dogs and pups found this fate. I'm not sure what the E-rate is now there, back then it was 20%. I remember summers where there were loads of black dogs and puppies coming in that never found homes. 8( it was hard to swallow but very much a reality..
Comment by IrishRider on June 17, 2009 at 9:44am
Interesting. I am the exact opposite....I love black animals. My horse is black, I have two black a kid my favorite animal was the black panther. White is too hard to keep clean. ;) Good luck finding a home for Casino. He has the sweetest face.
Comment by summer of like on June 17, 2009 at 9:54am
I am the proud owner of a big black dog myself, and lots of people are scared or intimidated by him. (Which if you know him, is absolutely hilarious.) Thanks for the post! I'm interested in fostering if it's a good personality fit with my dog - I just fostered last week for PACA and it was a great experience. I'll give humane a call- Casino looks like a sweetie :)
Comment by Sun Dog on June 17, 2009 at 10:15am
I'm a volunteer dog walker at my local animal shelter and we always have a majority of black dogs...often up to about 75-80%. Even the black puppies are left behind when their litter mates are adopted. Some of the smartest and best behaved dogs we have are passed over for no good reason.
Comment by Patricia on June 17, 2009 at 10:33am
I'm so glad you posted this. The only black dog I ever had growing up was an amazing springer spaniel with a huge heart and a gentle soul. I hope Casino finds a great forever home.
Comment by Devon on June 17, 2009 at 11:17am
All my extended family has are black dogs. I wonder what that means about us?
Comment by mombat on June 17, 2009 at 12:59pm
This never occurred to me as problem, except to worry some in the summer that my animals were going to overheat.
We had a black lab when I was a kid. I had black cat although college, she lived to be 15. My husband's mostly black tortoise shell cat is always complemented on what a lovely cat she is.
We now have now have a black rabbit, although with rabbits it is apparently the white ones that don't find homes.
Comment by mombat on June 17, 2009 at 1:00pm
Sorry, all through college - I hope that sweet boy finds a home.


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