Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Black Dog Syndrome - Take a Second Look

My entry into the world of animal rescue began in September, 2006 after the loss of our beloved collie-shepherd mix, Shen, to spleen cancer. I stumbled upon the Pet Haven website, and it wasn't long before I found myself immersed in the world of animal rescue. I also soon learned about the plight of so many big black dogs - I learned about something that is known in the animal welfare community as Black Dog Syndrome. In 2008, MSNBC wrote a piece about it. On September 23, 2006 Missy (a black lab/pit bull mix - photo on left) came to join our family. We thought we could simply foster her but we quickly fell in love with her. She had spent 8 months in a shelter in rural Iowa - rescued by some wonderful women of People for Pets - who continue to this day advocating for the big black dogs who are so often overlooked. Like pitbulls and cats, they are euthanized at high rates in shelters across the county.

In July, 2007 our sweet boy Mister joined our family. He too was originally rescued by People for Pets in Spencer, Iowa. Mister, along with two of his litter mates, were found in a ditch. Well, this beautiful black lab/flat coated retriever mix pup has grown into a handsome boy ... granted he's been quite an energetic handful with separation anxiety, we love him to death. This summer we may even begin training to see if he can become a therapy dog like his sister, Ahnung (our third "foster failure"). 

Ahnung, another black dog (with more white markings) officially joined our family in January, 2009. Adopted through Pet Haven but originally rescued by Karen of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue she was dumped with a litter of 8 pups. Mostly black (but with gorgeous white markings) her rescuer Karen knew Ahnung's odds of finding a home would be more challenging especially since it appeared that Ahnung (like Missy) was not only black in color but also had some pitbull in her. Top all of that with the fact that she had heartworm, it did not look good. Well, I fell in in love with Ahnung (like Missy and Mister) and knew that she needed to come live with us ... and so she did. These gorgeous big black dogs have blessed our homes with their uniqueness, their personalities, their quirks, their playfulness, their spirit and their unconditional love. Unfortunately ... Missy, Mister and Ahnung are the lucky ones. 

I stumbled across this video created by Black Dog Rescue Project which formed in June, 2009. It's a great video ... please help spread the word about Black Dog Syndrome and if you are considering adding a new furry friend to your family, please consider taking a second look at a gorgeous black dog at your local shelter or rescue.


  1. Have you heard about the project I'm doing this summer to bring light to black dog syndrome? I create a print called Dogs Around the Lakes and for Lake Calhoun this summer I'm teaming up with Start Seeing Black Dogs and featuring only black dogs on the print :) There will be a big group walk and everything! Let me know if you would like to join us and I'll send more info

  2. Hey Sarah, I haven't heard about it but would love to hear more about it. Drop me a note with more info!


  3. Marilou you are a rare saint...I remember when you got took you about half an hour to "foster fail!" :-)

  4. I have 3 black dogs and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world!! I love my babies, I wasn't blessed to be able to actually have children and I so wanted to have one but knowing I couldn't I decided to adopt and all 3 are my children and they are the best kids a mom could ever ask for.

  5. I rescued a black lab/Rhodesian Ridgeback and a black cat . I love them to death. I prefer black animals the best for their personalities.