Big, Black and Not-So-Bad!

Happy Belated National Black Dog Day.

RoofTop Chalie reminded us today that October 1st was National Black Dog Day! Given how people sometime respond to big black dogs, Chalie wanted to make sure we knew that his kind have a special day to encourage people to be open minded.

Black Dog Syndrome is the name for the phenomenon that occurs in some animal shelters, where prospective dog adopters pass over black dogs in favor of lighter colored breeds.

According to the theory, a black dog is more likely to be viewed as potentially violent, regardless of breed.

Appearance is clearly very powerful and can affect how people interpret the disposition of prospective pets.  For some folks, unfortunately, when they see a big black dog, images come to mind of a junkyard attack dog….a dog with a name like Killer.

I had never heard of black dog syndrome until we adopted RoofTop Chalie, a big black greyhound dog.

If you have known any greyhounds firsthand, you are probably surprised that Black Dog Syndrome applies to them too.  Even among this quiet breed, black greyhounds are adopted at a significantly lower and slower rates than their lighter or brindle colored track mates.

Seeing a group of greyhound dogs who have come directly from their racetrack home to be adopted is an interesting experience.  These dogs lived their entire lives at a racetrack and before being presented for inspection to potential adopters, these pups have experienced a whirlwind few days. They have been plucked from a life of rigid routine and have traveled, sometimes for hundreds or even a thousand miles, in the company of strangers. Everything is different and their sense of routine is uprooted.

Other breeds of dog who have had such a shake-up might exhibit nervous behavior and you’d expect to see barking, scratching, howling, whimpering, chewing or even growling from those anxious and displaced doggies.

But greyhounds are not like other breeds.  Greyhounds expect a strict schedule and they cope with dignity by actually clinging to that routine.

So the first time we saw RoofTop Chalie, he was standing in a fenced-in field, with about fifteen other greyhounds and standing around.  There was no playing or running, or barking or sniffing or eating grass…..or anything.  These doggies didn’t look at all like a group of potentially loving and interactive house pets.  They were just standing there, averting their eyes.  Have you ever witnessed fifteen dogs in a fenced-in area who just stood there?  From a distance, this resembled a horse farm, except that horses would have been much more animated.  That afternoon, to me, that group of dogs looked more like a gathering of shell shocked refugees or like a group that had recently been returned from alien abduction than like a group of eager doggies ready for adoption.

But given their strict daily routine, standing around quietly and calmly actually makes sense.  Because on a daily basis, these dogs only had a few activities on their agenda.  So when they were put out into that field that day, they searched their activity agenda for what to do.

Hmm, is this running time?

Nope, is it eating time?

Err, is it potty time maybe?

Or sleeping time?

And when the answer to all of these items was a definitive no, standing around was the only logical choice.

Of course, after a few weeks or months in a loving and patient family home, these quiet and stoic and statuesque dogs all become loving and LOVED pets. They are sweet and playful and can become ideal companions.  They just need to be taught a new routine.

So given their disposition, how can anyone make an assumption and  lump these guys in with the big black dog syndrome dogs?

And for that matter, how can anyone lump ANY dog into this category?   Big and black or small and brown, get to know your dog before you decide.  Don’t judge a dog by his fur.

Here’s a few images to help you understand……

Scary black dog?

chalie in bed

Err…….Dangerous Black Dog????

chalie pup

Aggressive Black Dog?

chalie pup1

Destructive Black Dog?

chaliepup8

Come on people- get out there and adopt a big black dog!   Making choices based only on appearance is small-minded and you may be missing out on the sweetest family pup!  Get to know your potential pets and don’t let size or color dictate your choice!!

chaliepup5

Happy National Black Dog Day from RoofTop Chalie and me!!!

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About RoofTop Creations

My name is Lisa and I have a craft business/hobby called RoofTop Creations where I use repurposed materials to make useful housewares. This blog is about my crafting process and what inspires me. It is also about my shop's mascot, RoofTop Chalie, my repurposed racing greyhound.
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2 Responses to Big, Black and Not-So-Bad!

  1. shirl18@comcast.net says:

    Sounds like an other chapter to your book. loved it Lisa keep writing-Shirl

  2. Loretta says:

    What a handsome black dog!

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