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— October 14, 2014 —

Let’s Find a Cure for Big Black Dog Syndrome (B.B.D.S.)
by Daniel McElroy Jr.

It’s known by many names, but B.B.D.S. is a leading cause of great dogs spending way too much time in shelters.

Big Black Dog Syndrome, (aka. Black Dog Disease) is an inherited genetic condition. It’s what we say afflicts great, fantastic, highly adoptable (black) dogs that end up sitting in a shelter or rescue for way too long. Sometimes, B.B.D.S is fatal…

Anyone in rescue can tell you that B.B.D.S is real. Black dogs, especially large black dogs are just harder to adopt out. Why? Well, your guess is as good as mine, especially since I’m partial to Rottweilers.

While researching this article, I learned that Winston Churchill referred to his depression as his, “Black Dog.” (See: www.healthieryou.com/exclusive/chanceth0196.html). Black as a color has a sort of mystique to it. That is sometimes viewed as a bad thing. Black also has a number of superstitions and negative labels attached to it. One need only think about the black cat superstitions to realize how disadvantaged black dogs are in the shelter setting.

There are irrational fears that black dogs will be more aggressive. One of the coolest dogs we take care of, Brixton, is a black brindle mix breed dog with a bully, boxer kind of look. Despite his dark, “tough guy” appearance, he’s a very social dog and has never given us the least bit of trouble.

K9 4 KEEPS currently has 4 black dogs available for adoption (Capone, Sophia Loren, Onyx & Luna). Capone has been with the rescue for over 2 years now (well, Capone is a black brindle, but that counts). He is currently living with me, getting a significant amount of training and even still, he gets very little interest or inquiries.

As much as there are irrational superstitions, black dogs can also be hard to see, lurking in the back of dark kennels in a loud, frightening dog shelter. They don’t photograph well and that can lead to less interest. If you’re looking for a dog, look past the cute photos of the fluffy white dogs. They’ll get adopted. Read a description and maybe decide to go meet the dogs that lots of other people overlook. A dog’s temperament matters way more than their color and you just might find a “black beauty” that has been overlooked. Let’s work together to find a cure for B.B.D.S.

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