Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do You Suffer From BDS?

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Are you healthy?  Are you fully-functioning, with no psychological, physical or behavioral disorders?  What you might not be aware of is that you might still be suffering from BDS.

It's not a new condition, nor is it a pretty one. It is cruel, it is unfair, it has no justification. There is no God in Heaven according to this.  Or maybe that's the only place He is, but certainly not here with us on this earth.

So do you suffer from BDS?  Well, if you're a dog or cat, you might.  BDS, or Black Dog Syndrome, and BCS (Black Cat Syndrome) affects the lives of dogs and cats who have the misfortune of arriving at a shelter or rescue.  Their chances for adoption - for a real home, a real life - are very low.  What is BDS?  It's a bias against pets who are all-black.  Too many people avoid the black animals, and head straight for those with  brightly colored or geometrically patterned coats.  It doesn't matter how utterly fantastic, how unbelievably perfect, the pet would be for them - if it's black, chances are they're not interested.

The result is that those who are involved with shelters and rescues know all too well the uphill battle they face in their efforts to find forever homes for their glossy, dark and sometimes mysterious charges.  You would think black was a disease.  It may as well be, for how it affects the lives of these animals.  Kennels are filled with black dogs, cages are filled with black cats.  One of the most frustrating things for an animal adoption counselor to hear is the utterance of "What's with all the black ones?  Don't they have any others?"

To them I say, Black is a color folks.  Seriously, what is the color of the must-have evening dress?  What is the color of tinted windows on the expensive car you just drove past?  What is THE color for formal attire?  Black is elegant, black is sophisticated, black is classic and black is about a little BLACK IS BACK! In our search for the best-looking pet for our home, we're overlooking the glossy sheen, the luxurious elegance, the goes-with-everything,  elite black pet.

Have you ever noticed how nature has a way of balancing things?  The rooster may crow, but the hen lays the eggs.  The male bird may be brilliantly colored, but the brown female rules the nest.  The flowers that come in various shades may have some very eye-popping colors, but the "plain" white ones have the most fragrance.  With pets, the black ones (or even the white cats for that matter) have the most personality.  Not that others don't have it - but the black ones have it in spades!  Ask any pet owner who has a black dog or cat.

It's time for people to stop the shallow hunt for only the "prettiest" or "most exotic" looking pet, and pay attention to what really matters.  There is nothing wrong with adopting and providing a home for any pet, but we have to start taking a second look, or for many - a look - at the black ones.  They deserve a home, too.  They provide at least as much companionship, love and entertainment as any other.  Why not. at the very least. adopt a second dog or cat, in addition to the fancy-colored one you've fallen in love with - and give a home to a black pet as well?

It's Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week.  Let's be the change for pets.  Let's be the change for BDS.  Sponsor or adopt a black dog or cat...or two!

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