November 29, 2012

Black Dog Syndrome

     Black dog bias is a veterinarian and animal shelter phenomenon in which black dogs are passed over for adoption in favor of lighter-colored animals. Black dog bias is also known as "big black dog syndrome." Shelters often use the term BBD, or big black dog, to describe the type of larger dark-colored mixed-breed typically passed over by adopters.
     Some people believe that during the pet adoption process some potential owners associate the color black with evil or misfortune, and this bias transfers over to their choice of dog. Additionally, many shelters feature photo profiles of their dogs on the shelter website. Because black dogs do not photograph well, lighter-colored dogs have an advantage with potential adopters browsing the site. Whatever the reason, black dogs often languish in shelters for a long, long time through no fault of their own. I’ve decided to buck that trend by putting black dogs in my novels.
     I already shared Ray Charles, my blind, black Labrador retriever from The Colors of Death. When I started writing my humorous mystery, Roman Circus, I knew there would be a dog and son of a gun, a black one showed up! My heroine, Harmony Jane Jones, finds a black puppy in dire straits and rescues him. You’ll just have to read the book to find out how! Here’s the beginning of Roman Circus.
Monday I dashed out of my apartment wrapped in a towel after my shower to get the newspaper. My cat, named Cat, closed the door, locking me out. I was late for work.
            Tuesday my office computer crashed. Unfortunately, I had neglected to back up my work for a while - I think it was a year. My boss was not happy.
            Wednesday the Number Ten bus flattened Cat. After corpse retrieval and burial arrangements, I arrived late for work. 
            Thursday, my car died. I had to take the Number Ten bus with all its horrid memories. I was late for work.
            Friday, I got fired.
            Saturday, Eric, my boyfriend of two years, broke up with me after he decided he was still in love with his college sweetheart, Bruce.
            Sunday I picked up the classified section of the newspaper and saw this ad:
                                 “Life treating you badly? Ready for a change?
                                     Run away with us. Come join the circus.”
           So I did.

            Roman Circus is available at: and

     Doggy tip: if your canine friend has dry itchy skin, before you go to the vet for expensive tests, try this. Get a bag of Missing Link. You can find it in any pet store. Missing Link comes in granules that can be sprinkled on your dog’s food. It’s a fatty acid that lubricates your dog’s skin and makes his coat glow!
This entry is a bit short but it’s difficult for me to write about dogs right now. On November 16th we lost our beloved 10-year-old yellow Lab, Tara. She was a very sick girl, and nothing could be done, so I held her and told her what a wonderful girl she had always been and how much we loved her. The vet sent her to the Rainbow Bridge to play with Shadow, Dingo, Princes, Talbot, Clarkie and Molly while she waits for us.
Till next time – kiss your dog , tell her you love her and hold her tight.

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