Aug 10

Bring Black Back!

Changing the color of adoptions...

Could pet owners be racist? How about those who "pull" dogs from shelters, saving them by bringing them to private rescue programs? Would they actually dish a dog just because of his color? Umm.....maybe so. Just ask any dog or cat rescue volunteer. Black often translates to "unadoptable". For some odd reason, potential adopters are incapable of seeing black. Not even black with a tad of white. Has to be "tuxedo", enough white to be a real oreo in order  to catch an adopter's eye. Unfortunately, this translates to...if a pet has the misfortune of landing in an animal shelter.....the blacker they are, the more they are doomed.. And  even for black animals who do make it out  to a rescue program, if they happen to be black, they may wait months, sometimes years, for their forever homes.

Animal shelters are nearly always full of wonderful black dogs and black cats. Ask them what percentage of them make it out and you'll find that it is very few. I don't know why this prejudice exists. Of course with cats, it could be superstition, but that is pretty ridiculous - ask any cat lover and they can relate stories of the sweetest, most amazing cats they have known who were black in color. Our own sold black cat, Gabe, adopted from Angels of Assisi, is simply incredible.

Speaking of black and incredible, meet "Dutch". He's a great black dog (touch of white) who is mostly Lab, mixed with something else, something made of joy and sweetness. He really has no faults other than his color. And why is that a fault? Like all black creatures, his coat is absolutely gorgeous right after he has a bath....I love the way it glistens when the sun hits it.. Dutch loves people, never meets a stranger. He's a quiet dog, and he's young, under 2 years old. He loves to play with other dogs and go on car rides.

Dutch was rescued from a high kill rural animal shelter on the very day that he was scheduled to be put down. We have been fostering him under Angels of Assisi's umbrella for many months....and he has been a wonderful ambassador for black dogs when he attends adoption fairs. But always when he is brought back to his kennel situation here, I imagine that I see disappointment in his eyes. After all,  whenever I give him a bath and put on his bandana, I whisper in his ear that today might be the day..his day, the day that someone looks into his eyes and makes a forever commitment to make him a part of their family.

Let's bring black back. Think about it.  In venues other than pets, we recognize that black is classy, upscale and elegant. Think furniture in a New York apartment, the model's amazing dress at the Hollywood cocktail party. The gentleman's dark overcoat you notice when he steps out of his sleek black BMW. 

Black has value. Stamp it on a dog and it should increase the value, not decrease it!  Let's stop the sad holocaust of black dogs and cats who take their last breath at an animal shelter.

Let's get back to black. Help Dutch find a home. Could you forward this to all your friends who might happen to know someone who would love and appreciate a special boy? Dutch longs to come out of the kennel run and become someone's very valued, beloved pet.  Can you help? His adoption fee is small, but his value is very great.

This photo of Dutch was taken by Vickie Holt, who gives generously of her talent to photograph the pets awaiting adoption at Angels of Assisi in Roanoke, Virginia. If you have interest in giving Dutch his forever home, email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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Comments (10)
  • Joni  - Bring Black Back!

    What a sweet-looking boy! I hope he finds his forever home soon! Personally, I love my "black dogs"! Those rich chocolate brown eyes against the shiny black...beautiful!

    Good luck, Dutch!


  • Vickie Holt  - My experience with black

    Melanie, I love this piece! And thanks for the recognition. I'd like to add, however, something I have noticed about black cats. I have literally photographed thousands of cats, and in handling them all, I have to say that, on the whole, I have noticed that black cats are sweeter and more affectionate than any other color group. Certainly, there are individuals with less than lovable personalities, but this trend was so obvious there was no way NOT to notice it. I always hear people saying they want a loving and affectionate cat, and I want to just let everyone know to check the black cats FIRST. Especially "Biggie", who is currently at Angels of Assisi. What a love-junkie!

  • Melanie S  - black cats

    Vickie - I feel this exact same way!! I have much less cat experience than dog experience, but Gabe (was formerly Baby when at AOA) is truly the sweetest cat I have ever known. Diane Novak is always fostering black cats and telling me how truly wonderful they are. I thought our other cat was the friendliest cat ever, but Gabe is far and above her in the way he interacts with people - he is just amazing! I love the expression you used for Biggie - "love junkie" as that describes my black cat Gabe to a tee!!

  • Kristen

    I had no idea about the statistics regarding black dogs and cats! The best dog I ever had was a pure black lab mix, and I'm partial to them. In fact, we've begun looking for a family dog and found you through the Angels of Assisi blog, and may be contacting you about meeting Dutch.

    I wish every dog looking for a forever home could have as wonderful a writeup as Dutch has here!

  • Melanie S  - Kristen/Dutch

    Thank you Kristen. I think (hope & pray) that Dutch may have found his forever home. Just tonight he went home with a couple who are an absolutely perfect match for him. They do have a cat though, so we just have to pray that those two get along! If they do, I think he may have at long last found his dream home.

    There is a big black Lab mix named Pete who just came to Assisi this week (was returned due to family circumstances after being adopted some time ago) - I have heard he is a great dog too, so you may want to drop by Assisi and ask to see him! I think he has longer hair than a Lab but is very pretty.

  • Kristen

    Thanks for the tip, Melanie! I think we will try to stop by Angels of Assisi this weekend. I'll keep my fingers crossed for Dutch's happiness with his new family!

  • Kristen

    Just wanted to let you know, thanks to your mention here we were able to adopt Pete and brought him home yesterday. He's a big boy, seems to be a mix between black lab and golden retriever, but a wonderfully sweet dog. Thanks again!

  • Melanie S  - Pete's adop;tion

    This is such wonderful news Kristen! Thank you for letting me know. It always makes my day to know an animal was adopted from Angels of Assisi - I just love them and the work they do. Best wishes to Pete in his new home!

  • Melanie S  - Dutch has found his dream home!

    Dutch left last night to the most wonderful couple ever. Update today is that he is doing well - has to learn new things like climbing stairs but he is getting there. They seem to love him already, and have renamed him Duke (they both graduated from James Madison, JMU).

    Many thanks to all who prayed for Dutch to find that special home - GOD IS GOOD!

  • Pat M.  - Beautiful Black Dogs

    I love black dogs! The vast majority of my dogs have been black and red German Shephards, with emphasis on the black. Several where almost all black with red paws and just a little red on their faces. All but one was sweet and loved everyone. They were the best baby sitters for my 3 girls. There were from 2 to 7 of them most of the time
    I am so thrilled that Peter and Dutch found their forever homes.

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