Did you know that today is National Black Dog Day? It’s true! Today is a day to celebrate all of the wonderful black dogs that have touched our hearts—and all of the black dogs in shelters still waiting for their forever homes.

Historically, black dogs (and black animals in general) have been stigmatized by society—they are often less likely to be adopted and the first to be euthanized in overcrowded shelters. The phenomenon even has a name: black dog syndrome. But we can change things!

According to the National Black Dog Day website, this special day was founded by lifestyle expert and pet maven Colleen Paige to create public awareness, encourage everyone to adopt a black dog from a shelter, and “show the world how much light they have inside and out!”

She’s right: They truly do shine love and light into the world and onto their favorite humans. Just last week, I was saddened to hear that Midnight Cali—the beautiful, intelligent, quirky, loving and gentle black Labrador retriever my parents adopted in 2002—had been taken by the angels at age 16 after a brave fight against the ailments of old age.

Cali began her life as a service dog, but my parents gave her a second chance at life and a new home after she retired at age 3. She loved chasing balls, traveling to new places (especially to the beach!), swimming, taking walks with my dad, eating treats and sharing long cuddles on the couch. Most of all, she loved people and remembered everyone, even those she didn’t see often. She was always kind and gentle to my daughter Indigo, even as a toddler—and then again with my little nephew, when she visited him and his family in Southern California for Christmas. Just 9 months old at the time, he would try to crawl into her bed, but she was happy to let him in, nudging him with her wet nose and offering tail wags. Cali, we all miss you so much!

So if you’re thinking of bringing home a new furry member of the family today (or another day soon), think about visiting your local animal rescue and choosing a black doggie. Their hearts are just as big and bright! And in case you need even more convincing, check out these 10 reasons black dogs are the coolest. I kind of have to agree. Happy National Black Dog Day!

Do you have a special black dog who has touched your heart? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “How to help on National Black Dog Day”

  1. Hi Kathleen,

    I totally agree with you that black dogs are extremely special individuals. Years ago, when we decided to complete our household with a dog, we visited the local animal shelter and came home with a very loving Black Lab/ Newfoundland cross named Dundee. He brought the best of both breeds with him, balancing out his disposition and appearance beautifully. The people at the shelter weren’t sure of his age, but it was estimated he was between 1 and 1.5 years old. Although he had very little training (if any), he learned quickly and just wanted to please. He had a heart as big as he was, and gorgeous, dark brown eyes that conveyed pure love. His favourite past times were going for car rides and long walks, and he was the most affectionate, sweet boy I could have ever wished for. Although he went to live with the angels almost exactly 16 years ago now, I truly feel we are still connected to one another. And I believe we always will be. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and how much joy he brought into our lives. I’m forever grateful to him for teaching me what it means to love unconditionally, and to show me that no problem is too large to overcome when there’s a tail wagging nearby. Miss you, My Big Black Dog.

    In loving memory of Dundee,

    Janet Johnson

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