Category Archives: Dog Adoption

Why Black Is Best

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Black cats and dogs are often the last to get adopted out of a shelter.  Informally, this is called the “Black Dog Syndrome”.  This is a particular problem for the bigger breeds, and may be due to the public misconception that big, black dogs are dangerous.  This misconception is often reinforced by the depiction of such dogs in the popular media.  Even the language we use can be derogatory.  For example, the “Black Dog” is often a term used to describe depression.  For cats, the superstition around black cats still persists.

To add to this, it can be hard for black dogs to photograph well.  This means that the photographs that potential adopters see do not ‘sell’ the dog well.  It also means that, for an ad campaign, a black dog is hardly ever used (think about it, you see plenty of golden retrievers in ads; when is the last time you saw a big, black dog?).

Love for a breed can over-ride this bias.  For instance, black labradors are very popular and it would be easier to place them in homes.  But for the average black shelter dog, chances of being adopted can be slim.

Personally, I think they are just beautiful.  There can be a majestic beauty to black dogs.  They can be as friendly (or unfriendly) as any other dog.  For your next dog or cat, make yours a black.

Do you have a beautiful black dog?  I would love to feature some on the blog.  What are your thoughts about the “Black Dog Syndrome”? Is it fact or fiction?

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Could You Be…The Most Beautiful Dog In the World

What do you think is the most beautiful dog breed in the world? Thank you to braith an’ lithe for inspiring this post. I was checking out her blog (which is awesome btw) and had serious dog-envy of her greyhound.  It got me thinking about the beauty of dogs – it’s all very subjective of course, but in my eyes, the greyhound is the most beautiful dog in the world.

The Greyhound

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I dare you to disagree with me! OK, I know some people think ‘they’re not cuddly’ or they’re ‘too skinny’, but there is something elegant and magical about them.  For me, it’s the combination of their soulful eyes in their small faces which gets me every time.

They are often misunderstood and the mandatory muzzling laws in many states gives people the impression that greyhounds are aggressive.  In fact, most are incredibly gentle and loving, and make wonderful pets. They don’t shed hair, require a relatively short walk every day and spent a lot of time sleeping.  They are great as apartment dogs for these reasons.

For those of you in Australia, check out your local Greyhound Adoption Program. In Victoria, it is Greyhound Adoption Program.  Too busy for a full-time dog?  Consider fostering a greyhound.  Also, check out Barbara Karant’s incredible photographs of greyhounds: Greyhounds The Book.  These were the pictures that first made me fall in love with the breed.

Having said all that, the beauty of a dog often lies in what he means to the owner.  A dog that has helped you through a difficult or lonely time will be the most beautiful dog in the world for you.  Sometimes the mixed-breed dog (or ‘mutt’) adopted from the pound is so special in its uniqueness. Being a ‘mixed-breed’ person myself  🙂 I have a soft spot for these type of dogs.

What type of dog is most beautiful for you? 

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So You Wanna Get a Dog?

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OK, so here’s the deal.  As much as I adore dogs, they’re not for anyone.  And the last thing I want is for people to rescue a dog, only to have to return it further down the track.  So here’s my  list of pros and cons of dog ownership, with rose-tinted glasses securely off:

THE GOOD

  • After a rough day, there is nothing more therapeutic than seeing my dogs.  Their utter delight on my returning home is contagious.  My bad mood never stood a chance.
  • I became part of a community of dog-lovers – an instant bond at dog parks, parties or even at work. I can talk for hours about dogs (much to the dismay of some dear friends).
  • Watching my dogs play reminds me daily of the importance of remaining playful in my own life.
  • Walking my dog is my daily meditation. It gets me out in the sun and gives me a chance to take some deep breaths. It reminds me there is more, much more, to life than work.

THE BAD

  • ‘Date nights’  will take a bit more planning.  At least until your puppies are a bit older.  As soon as you walk out the door, the look of misery on your dog’s face will make you wanna turn back.  And at dinner, you’ll be wondering if your dog is OK.  Often, this is our own anxiety more than the dog’s, but there are various ways to make it better.  On the plus side, I think our shared love for our animals has made my relationship with my husband much stronger. I am proud of his kindness to animals and his big heart, more generally.

My dogs can happily stay on their own for a few hours now.  We achieved this by  gradually increasing the   time that we left the dogs alone, not fussing over them when we were leaving the house or returning, making sure the dogs had enough mental and physical exercise during the day and using some ‘environmental enrichment’ (kong toys, scattering treats around the house for them to find when we were gone, etc).  Getting a friend to dog-sit is another solution.

  • Travelling takes more planning too. You have to find a boarding facility, that you trust, that you’re not going to worry about when you go on holiday.   Long trips overseas quickly become expensive if you’re paying for boarding.  Again there are a variety of options, such as reputable pet-sitters.  Leaving your dogs behind can take a bit of getting used to, but once again,  it’s often the owners who worry more than the dogs.

THE UGLY

  • If you have a long-haired dog, prepare for hair, lots of it… think of it as a fine fur coat that lines your polished wooden floors, or a tasty addition to your cup of tea, or an adorable garland that finds it’s way to your best outfit.  Requirements:  powerful vacuum cleaner, lint remover, steely stomach, less attachment to possessions (eg brand new car) and a sense of humour to deal with the whole thing.   But seriously, I love grooming my dog; it’s so therapeutic and a bonding experience.  I’ve found this was the best way to reduce the amount of shedding.

What do YOU love or find challenging about having dogs?

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