Dog Adoption and Black Dog Syndrome

I’m a dog person – sorry internet, I know you’re more of a cat person – for me, dog beats cat any day of the week.

Growing up I had a Yorkshire Terrier, and I always knew I wanted my kids to grow up with a dog too. But juggling three kids (and let’s face it, a husband too) doesn’t leave a lot of energy to take care of another baby.

We’re finally at the point where the kids are all big enough to be measurably helpful in the day to day business of life – and they’ve begged, pleaded, and groveled for a dog for the past 2683* days straight.

I did some online research and discovered that the local animal shelter was having an adoption day at a nearby pet store this past weekend. Early Saturday morning the kids all fell out of bed, anxious to go find their new best buddy.

We did meet some really sweet dogs, all deserving of their forever home, but none that really felt like the perfect match. Our next stop was the animal shelter, but I wasn’t sure we’d find a dog, because the shelter’s web site was page after page of pit bulls. I know there’s a lot of advocacy for pits and people do keep them as pets and swear they are sweet and loving, but I just can’t get one. They’re not for me.

At the shelter we told the lady at reception what we were looking for – a medium sized, short haired dog, must be good with kids, house trained if possible, not a puppy.

Immediately she suggested a particular dog and called for a volunteer to take us to see her.

I thought I was looking for a boy dog, but when I saw this sweet girl I couldn’t think of one good reason to stick to that idea.

We played and bonded with Nessie for close to half an hour. She was well behaved and engaged, as interested in the kids as they were in her. And she responded to me like she’d met me before. It was obvious that she was the one.

She’d been surrendered to another shelter when she became pregnant and transferred to this shelter soon after. She gave birth to 10 healthy puppies and had recently come out of the maternity ward to be placed on the ‘ready for adoption’ list.

After our play time we went straight to the office to fill out the adoption paperwork. Every employee and volunteer we talked to, cheered for Nessie for finding herself a new family.

Her adoption fee was noted as $75 but the office staff explained it was actually reduced to $0 – that’s right, zero – because she is a black dog, and the shelter is taking part in a nationwide promotion of black dogs, hoping to overcome Black Dog Syndrome (BDS).
I’d heard of BDS before, from a story on the local news a few months back. Apparently black cats and dogs spend longer in shelters and pounds because people just don’t want to adopt them at the same rates as their paler counterparts.

There doesn’t seem to be any solid reason for this, but the statistic back up the theory. BDS is a real thing.

As you can tell by my list of dog ‘must haves’ fur colour was not something I had considered.

Nessie is sweet, well behaved, and great fun. It will take some time for her to completely settle in to her new home and schedule but she’s off to a fantastic start.
No through-the-night accidents! Woo!

She’s a rescue dog, she’s a black dog and she’s perfect.

*number is fictional, but likely close to truth. I did not keep count.

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