National Black Dog Day – October 1st

8th October 2018

“What is so special about October 1st?” I hear you ask. Over recent years, the 1st of October has marked more than just the changing of the seasons and the official welcome of Autumn.  October 1st has become an annual observance to mark a day dedicated to black pets awaiting homes in shelters across the country and overseas.  You may wonder why an entire day should be ear marked specifically towards those dogs, and other animals, with darker fur.  It might come as a surprise to you to hear that each day, in pounds and dog rescues across the country potential pet owners pass by kennels which contain perfectly adoptable black dogs.  Disinterest in dogs with black coats is so common that it has been actually coined its own name – Black Dog Syndrome.  Each time, another black dog goes unnoticed by potential adopters, no matter how waggy his tail, how sweet her nature or how playful the pup, people ask ‘why are they still here?’ and the answer, almost certainly, will be met with a shrug and the response ‘Black Dog Syndrome.’  Black Dog Day has become the national outcry to help grow awareness to help those pets with black fur be seen.

No one knows why exactly black pets go unnoticed in shelters.  Personally, I’ve heard a range of reasons that hold dogs with dark fur back when it comes to finding a forever home, ranging from poorly lit shelters that make dark-coated canines in cages less noticeable and shelter photos that fail to capture a black dog’s striking features, to silly superstitions, to people wanting the more striking or interestingly marked dog.   We can hand on heart promise you that the black dog that may not grab your attention at first glance for whatever reason, maybe he’s shy and cowering in the back corner too afraid to look up, maybe she’s getting overshadowed by her fawn and white or brindle bouncing kennel mates, maybe he first looked like he wouldn’t appreciate your attention or a kind voice call his way because he so used to visitors just walking right on passed him, are all just as lovely as their lighter coloured counterparts.

Even though National Black Dog Day has already passed, we at PAWS, would still like to take the opportunity to say it loud and clear to please, take a second, before walking past a black dog who may not have caught your attention at first glance for whatever reason.  In the words of author, H. Jackson Brown, Jr., “Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye,” and this time you will surely notice the black tail thumping thanks to your attention, and the affection and hope in the dog’s gaze.  You may just have your best friend.

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