Wednesday, December 18, 2013


   Today a social-media posting discussed a certain "prejudice" against big black dogs, particularly when it comes to adoption of such animals.
   Some time ago I discussed that issue with a volunteer at our county animal shelter. Every week she photographs a number of dogs who need homes, and these photos, along with her notes about each animal, are published in a local paper.
   One week she focused exclusively on "big black dogs." Apparently those pooches  have had more trouble finding homes than the other dogs. Some shelters even call it "the big black dog syndrome."
   It's a fact; large breeds are not as fashionable these days. Animal officials speculate it might be partly because large dogs sometimes seem frightening to people. But even smaller dogs of chocolate or black coloration don't seem to adopt as easily.
   Personally, I love big dogs, and the color doesn't really matter to me; I have owned or been a friend to many big black dogs. One I remember particularly well was an oversized labrador who happily grew up with a neighbor's family from the time the children were small. He was a gentle, ever-present playmate and guardian for those kids, and the entire family grieved when he died at 17, even though the children were grown by that time.
   In my own household since the mid 1970s, we've had dobermans. All were large, and with one exception, they were black-and-tan (mostly black). They were easy to train and a great deal more polite than many a smaller dog. Jokingly, we called them "doberpersons," so attuned were they to the human beings in our household.
   When one passed away, we would grieve their presence. Soon we'd adopt another, always making a point of finding one that truly needed a home. They were Baron, Lady, Mike, Jack.. and behind each name are stories and good memories. And now our latest canine companion is Mick.
   People have asked, "Why such a large dog, now that you are older?" I have often answered that question with a light-hearted: "Because, if my back is bothering me, I don't have to lean over to scratch his ears or pat his back!" But these big dogs have been the finest friends you could imagine.
   If you're seeking a dog, please don't give up on the big black dogs until you've brought them out of their cages, looked them over and "talked" to them a bit. At our county shelter, you can even get to know the dogs a little better by RE-visiting). 
   A larger dog might be just the dog for you; it might be love at first  (or second) sight! Nothing against the little guys, but big dogs (even if they're black) have much to offer. Over the years, I have learned that over and over again.
   I encourage you to share with me your stories of "Big Black Dogs (or big dogs or black dogs)We Have Loved," and I'll be happy to share those stories through this blog.
(Direct your comments to me at