This morning I was reading (and crying a little) over the stories in Elise Lufkin's To the Rescue: Found Dogs with a Mission (photos by Diana Walker; New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2009). Among the many bittersweet and redemptive stories are a few that bring up the negative perception much of the public entertains about black dogs. It's called Black Dog Syndrome, and shelters admit that big black dogs lag in adoptions and are euthanized in greater numbers.
How unfair and tragic is that?
While it is true that over the course of history much folklore has arisen about black dogs (and cats, while we're at it), and you've read some of it here, I'd like to think our species has grown past that.
The folks at Black Pearl Dogs have, and they want to share the joy of black dogs with you. Their site is a one-stop-info-shop for learning, stories, and even handy direction to lovely dogs waiting for their new home with you. I'd like to express my condolences to them for the loss of their dog Jake, who passed in 2009. Though it must have been very painful to do so, they keep his photo as the "home" button throughout the site: "Click on Jake, he will always take you home." (oh boy, more tears.)
At this good site you will find:
10 ways to help
A book for purchase celebrating the beauty of black dogs
How best to photograph dogs for adoption
Many articles and stories on black dogs and shelter dogs in particular
There's way more than that, though.
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A poem from a military training regiment's collection of doggerel, 1917:
TO THE LITTLE BLACK DOG
We see you in the morning
When Reveille implores;
We meet you in the evening
At end of daily chores.
On march, fatigue, or drilling
Our friend we find you still,
With kindly, pleasant bearing
And independent will.
You're small, you're thin, you're homely,
You're battered, scratched, and lame;
But in our tasks before us
Pray God we be as game!
ROOKIE RHYMES, BY THE MEN OF THE 1st. and 2nd. PROVISIONAL TRAINING REGIMENTS PLATTSBURG, NEW YORK MAY 15—AUGUST 15 1917