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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Black Dog Day

Today is National Black Dog Day so I decided to celebrate our insanely wonderful black dog, R.
If it weren't for our experiences having all three colors of Lab in our pack at once, I'd probably be skeptical of "black dog syndrome". It is said that black dogs take the longest to be adopted and are much more likely to be euthanized in shelters than dogs with other fur colors. We've always feared what might happen to R if we were both to die at the same time. Fortunately, he and Shyla have an absolutely wonderful godmother who will take care of them in that unlikely event.
When we had a yellow, chocolate, and black Lab at the same time, we saw that people wanted to pet the Yellow Lab the most, the Chocolate Lab second most, and the Black Lab least. Lots of children would *only* want to pet our Yellow Lab. How could you not immediately love R's goofy face?
That was also the order of their ages, from oldest to youngest. Our Yellow Lab was oldest by far and definitely the most mellow of the three which probably was part of the reason why everyone wanted to pet him. Meanwhile, R was a fairly wild and crazy youngster which might have been why many fewer people asked to pet him.

Yet, from what I read, black dog syndrome is real, and that fact makes me sad.
I can see how a dark visage with gleaming white teeth might look scary but when you get to know R, and many other black dogs, they are big goofballs and lovebugs at heart.
On the goofy side, R loves to hear his own voice. In fact, he really loves to sing. When the coyotes start howling outside our house, R adds his own mournful howl to the chorus. His howl is more like a sad wolf's howl than a coyote's yipping so it adds a nice harmony to the mix.
As for his sensitive side, R loves when I take him out all by himself. Usually, he spends his outdoor time with the Runner but sometimes he sees me taking photos of Shyla. He gets super jealous and wants to be the center of my attention. So, when I tell him that it's time for just him and me to head outside, his exuberance overflows.
I love this boy. I will admit that it literally took me a few years to get a clue about how to photograph him. No "auto" settings work - so I had to learn to choose my own settings. Usually, I like cloudy days so that there's not too much contrast between R's black face and the rest of the world. That lets me set the exposure mainly to show off the details of R's face.

It was cloudy today, until R and I headed outside together. Then, the sun suddenly broke through the clouds, making it a non-ideal day to photograph R. Ah well - the point was for us to spend some fun time together, and we succeeded in that venture!

Today, I discovered a blog that I'm probably the last person on Earth to have found because it's described as so popular that it's "viral". It's called Black Dogs Project. It even has a section where people can submit their own black dog photos and stories to be published on the blog. Maybe R or your black dog will appear there someday!


  1. A perfect post for today! Your photos of R are amazing and enviable, and he is perfectly handsome!! :-)

    I'm still learning how to photograph George, and am slowly figuring it out thanks to advice like yours. The kitten we have is black too, and that's been a bit of a challenge too.

  2. You are so cool R and we the the goofy you photos! Black cats have that same problem, silly.

  3. He's so handsome! Black labs have always been my favorite.

  4. I can't believes no one would want to pet you R!!! OMD, you have the cutest face in the worlds! (shhhhh...don't tell Shyla...☺) I don't understand the reluctance to adopt a black doggie. it is just crazy.
    Ruby ♥

  5. I love black dogs! Well, I pretty much love all dogs, no matter what their color is. I don't understand how someone can make a difference because of the color of their fur.

  6. Happy Crazy Love your "R".
    He has so much personality it shows through in photos.
    We remember once you called him a cracker dog.
    I'd say he's the prize in the cracker box.
    xo Cinnamon and Linda

  7. He is a handsome guy. I don't get the black dog syndrome at all.

  8. R is so lovely, his coat shines, his eyes say so much, he bounds with joy, plays with Shyla, and is to be loved always. Black Dogs, are they like black cats? I think there is that extra gloss on their fur.

  9. I have never understood why, but as a shelter volunteer I have seen firsthand how a big percentage of dogs are, in fact, black. Black, goofy, loving dogs that love to play and snuggle. Sometimes humans are just hard to understand...

  10. We're definitely a 'black dog' family. Once saw a campaign showing only black dogs up for adoption and stating how hard it was to find them families. Nuts, isn't it?

  11. We just happen to think that black is beautiful! You go, R!

  12. Happy Black Dog Day R! Let's celebrate all the black doggies today and let's celebrate life... because life is as beautiful as black doggies, right?

  13. Hari OM
    R, you 'are' certainly handsome and some of these photos are definitely of your more goofy side!!! Sadly, 'mum' is correct; there is something of a prejudice towards black dogs. I have a (very) vague recall of my grandfather once commenting on the matter. His Golden had produced a Blackie in her litter at that time (40+yrs back!)... his theory why the pup wasn't getting chosen was that folk felt pests (ie fleas) couldn't be seen on black coats. Nowadays with all modern treatments, that ought not to be a valid reason! Anyway, you demonstrate that dogs are dogs are dogs and like peeps, the skin makes no difference!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  14. I personally don't understand the bias - but black pets are my favourite! I now have a black dog and a German Shepherd and people just steer clear of us! Sigh!

  15. There is something about R. He is just so charismatic. It's easy to see why you adore him. You absolutely should share your photos of R with the Black Dog Project.

  16. Love to hear about your observations. I often thought in Labs people gravitate towards the yellow because they've become the iconic Lab - my parents aren't dog people and mum knows them as "the Kleenex dog" while dad knows them as "the Guide Dogs"!

  17. We have a feeling that everyday is Black Dog Day in your home:) One of my daughters has a black lab Gypsy and yes, she is a goofy lovable girl too:)

  18. Momma grew up with black dogs, mostly Labs, so she loves R!

  19. Hooray for beautiful and funny black dogs.

  20. I have been thinking about Prince Arrrr today because he is the October playboy on your calendar (which I love!) Right above the calendar I have a plate with a golden moon face and off in the distance its black with a bright moon and a witch flying across! The colors are just a delight with the background of R's pic!

    Black Dog Stella was in the slammer for 3 months before I found her!She has now figured out I am totally deaf and when she has a message for me, comes up close to my face and barks it. Gives me the giggles.

    Cheers and hugs,
    Jo, Stella and Zkhat (all three adoptees)

  21. We love R ! Everything about him,, his personality.. his beauty,, his goofiness! We just love him!


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