Start Seeing Black Dogs Blog

Friday, June 27, 2008, 12:29 PM ( 136 views )  - Posted by Administrator

My grand plans for blogging daily while in Portland have not materialized- but if you've visited Portland, you know why. There is just so much to do in this town, and not enough hours in the day. Portlanders (Portlandites? I'll need to check into what the preferred term is) love their micro-brew, their bikes, their sandals and their dogs, not necessarily in that order. While I have no scientific proof to back this up, I have to say that they also appear to adore black dogs. I am the type of person to notice dogs wherever I go - I can't help it - and because of my passion for black dogs I take special notice when I see one walking down the street, lounging on a porch or sticking it's head out of a car window. Even the route down the Columbia River Gorge found us running into black dogs galore, like Lucky and Cami, who we met as they were about to hike to the Multnohmah Falls Bridge.

That said, I was surprised to see an unusually large number of black dogs on the streets of Portland this week. I also found that most of the black dog owners I spoke to had never heard of Black Dog Syndrome. Some cards made their way into the hands of folks we met, who went off a little more thoughtful after realizing that their beloved black dogs were among the lucky ones that found their way into a new home.

At the Third Thursday Art Crawl on Alberta Street artists and musicians line both sides of the street for block after block. It’s a huge party – you see and hear just about everything on Alberta Street. Yesterday’s weather was perfect, and we strolled for hours just people and dog watching. Among the many amazing street vendors we encountered were several groups raising money for local animal rescues or shelters.

The crew from Helping Paws Resale and Boutique at The Willamette Humane Society were selling boutique clothing like hotcakes. A unique way to raise money to be sure, though it occurred to me that it would have been a great opportunity to bring some dogs for an off-site adoption event -- or if that wasn’t an option, brining a few of the lower key dogs needing homes along may have generated adopter interest. The crowd was mellow, peaceable and there were dozens of dogs out walking with teir humans, so I can imagine that a few from a shelter would have fit right in. If neither was n option, I also would have loved to see a simple tabletop display with Featured Adoptable Pets at the Boutique – maybe that would have caught someone’s eye? The dog loving Portlanders filing by might have spied a dog they could not live without – what a great audience to get the dogs in your care in front of! Something to consider if you work with a rescue and want to get exposure for your animal during the busy summer season.

During the course of the week I was also glad to see my road trip pal Hunter, the dog rescued from a high kill shelter in Rural Wisconsin by my friend Nicki had settled in to his new home on the banks of the Willamette River. Hunter is not yet a river dog, but there are plans for him to become a regular fixture on Nicki and Dave’s boat. I’m waiting for that first photo of him, hair streaming in the breeze and he surveys his new river kingdom.

Today it’s off to The Second Annual Organic Beer Festival on the waterfront for music, food, beer and of course dog and people watching. My cards are ready to go and I’m ready to make more black dog connections before catching the red eye back to Minneapolis tomorrow. We’ll fetch our own black dogs from where they’ve been romping all week at Downtown Dogs . I may have to give Sugar a doggie energy potion before our weekly Black Dog Walk this Sunday at 10:30. I’ll see you there, in front of the Pavilion . I hear the Minneapolis weather has been gorgeous, and we’re rested, inspired and ready to get back to work on the website and on scheduling black dog events on our own home turf.

Saturday, June 21, 2008, 08:38 AM ( 70 views )  - Posted by Administrator

Black Dog Trading Post. Black Dog Lavender Farm. Black Dog Café. The Lucky Lab Brew Pub - this one counts, there is a black dog on their logo. The citizens of Oregon by all indications love their black dogs. In fact, according to Dog Fancy Magazine Portland ranks #4 on their list of the “Top 10 Pet Friendly Cities.” Having been to Portland many times, I’d have to agree. In fact, I’m heading back to Portland today, only this time, I’ll be ready to spread the word about and our mission to provide rescue groups and shelters with free PR and marketing resources. While this means I need to take a week off from loading content on the website (other type-A ish people, feel my pain here) it will give me the opportunity to reach out to Portlandites on the topic of these overlooked dogs. Of course, I’ll have to visit the black dog landmarks listed above, blog about it and post photos on the site.

So instead of joining you all for our weekly black dog walk at Lake Calhoun, tomorrow will start with a black dog meet-and-greet at Portland’s famous Saturday market , followed by a boat ride down the Willamette River with one of my favorite black dogs in the whole world, Hunter. Saved by my friend Nicki from a high kill shelter in Wisconsin, Hunter is another great example of a black dog who almost wasn’t. The staff at the high kill shelter where Hunter was brought loved this plain black dog so much, they kept sparing him from euthanasia. Fate intervened, Nicki came long, and Hunter has had a dream dog life ever since. I recently drove cross country with Hunter and Nicki to help her re-locate in lovely Portland, and fell in love with this big, gentle boy all the more. Nothing makes a road trip better than having your faithful dog along. Hunter, once on a small sheter in an obscure part of Wisconsin is now happily romping with new doggie friends at his new home on the banks of the Willamette River. A happy ending if ever there was one.

So dog walkers, I’ll be back at the Lake Calhoun Pavilion for our 10:30 walk next Sunday 6/29. In the meantime, I’m gearing up for “No Smokey Karaoke” at Buffalo Gap Tavern, a beer at The Lucky Lab, and as many black dog kisses as I can steal from the Portland pooches I’ve yet to meet. Watch for blog posts and photos from our adventures.


Monday, June 16, 2008, 09:50 PM ( 109 views )  - Posted by Administrator

Huge Sampson; adorable and nimble Angus; strikingly handsome Kaiser; springy little Miss Olive and our own funny Sugar all showed up to check out Lake Calhoun on one of the nicest summer days in a long time. Our little group of black dog ambassadors DID get some attention, and we handed out more than one business cards to passing black dog owners.

Kaiser stole the show with his unusual good looks. We heard a lot of “what kind of dog IS that?” If Kaiser could answer, I think he’d say “the lucky kind.” Owner Chris got Kaiser from a shelter in Austin MN, a place where big, dark colored dogs are routinely overlooked.

The adoption chances for large Rottie mixes like Kaiser are low to slim. Ditto for Sampson, whose owners say he was ill treated before being rescued by Red Lake Rosie's Animal Rescue ( and brought to Animal Ark No-Kill Shelter ( in Hastings MN. Sampson, a gorgeous, gentle giant of a dog shows no emotional signs of his hard past. He too would likely have been overlooked in a shelter because he is a “big black dog.”

Walking in the sun with these gorgeous, sweet natured dogs I am reminded of how many other big black dogs are still out there being overlooked every day. Medium black dogs like Angus, Olive and Sugar don’t fare much better. We know about Black Dog Syndrome, but the general public typically does not.

These black dog walks are one little way we can band together and turn an ordinary walk into a PR opportunity for the many, many “big black dogs” that wait in shelters every day. If we reach enough people, the plight of these overlooked dogs may influence their next adoption decision. If we get the message out they may take a second look at the plain black dog that disappears in the back of the kennel, overlooked so often that they even stop coming forward to meet new people. It might encourage them to volunteer for a no kill rescue or shelter. They may even decide to be a foster parent – a tremendously helpful way to save lives.

Do you want to start a black dog walking group in your area? Drop us a line, and/or join our mailing list. I’ll post some tips or starting your own group soon. In the meantime, pass along our website link to dog lovers, black dog enthusiasts and anyone else you think might like our message. The black dogs of the world need someone to help - why not make it us?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 09:42 PM ( 90 views )  - Posted by Administrator
Do you have a black dog? Are you ready to get out and walk now that it's finally summer? We meet at Lake Calhoun to walk once a week, for fun, for exercise and to meet other dog owners.

WHO: Anyone with one or more black dogs

WHAT: A casual walk with our black dogs around Lake Calhoun, or as far as you want to go. We want to get a good sized group of black dogs walking the lake - eventually this will get attention! You don't see that everyday.

WHERE: Meet IN FRONT OF the Lake Calhoun Pavilion, by the picnic tables in front of the concession area.

WHEN: This Sunday, June 15th, 10:30 a.m.

WHY: Black dogs are often the last to be adopted and are euthanised in much larger numbers than other dogs. They are frequently overlooked by potential adopters may consider them to "plain," think that they appear more menacing, or they may simply not see them because thier darker color makes them disappear in their kennels. We want black dogs to become more visible and a little black dog herd marching around the lake is a step in the right direction. It's also a great way to get exposure for dogs awaiting adoption.

Future walk dates are planned at this time on Sundays, AT A NEW TIME 10:30 a.m. at Lake Calhoun unless we decide to switch it up a little. Lakes of the Isles, Cedar Lake, and Lake Nokomis - all could use a little black dog infusion.

FUTURE DATES: 6/29, 7/6, 7/13, 7/20. August dates will be posted soon!

Monday, June 9, 2008, 08:38 PM ( 68 views )  - Posted by Administrator
Ok, so the website doesn't have much on it yet - but wait, what's that? The website menu items have changed? As they say in Minnesota, you betcha’. When I say we’re working night and day I mean it. And others have jumped on board. As I sit here blogging, black dog lovers with expertise in the areas of public relations, branding, marketing, event planning and photography are hard at work to bring their pearls of wisdom to our website.

Why are our contributors doing this? Simply put, they love animals, dogs in particular and black dogs most of all. If you work or volunteer for a rescue group or shelter, our contributors want to help you promote the black dogs in your care. If you’re a member of the dog loving public, they want to inspire you – to volunteer, to tell others about Black Dog Syndrome and to consider adopting one of these wonderful, overlooked dogs.

So thank you for bearing with us while we add content, correct typos and reconfigure our menu bar. We promise, if you hang in there during this little adventure that we like to call “building a web site from scratch”, it will be worth the wait. And if you are one of those smart marketing-PR-branding-event planning people and you'd like to contribute your inspired ideas for increasing black dog adoptions, we’re all ears. Just to prove we mean it, if we use your content on the website we’ll be happy to post you bio and contact information. We may even throw in a few black dog kisses as a bonus.


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