If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (or following me on Twitter), you know that I’m a cat owner and an animal lover. I grew up with dogs, and honestly never thought I’d own a cat. But Max literally ran into my home, and into my heart. And although he’s a feisty little guy, our love is real and he’s made my life richer.

There’s something so awesome about coming home after a long day to a furry friend, who greets you with a delighted yelp or inquisitive meow, and is happiest when snuggled up with you on the couch.

These days, animal shelters are struggling. More and more of them are facing reduced donations. And because of the economy being in a period of slow recovery, many people are giving up their beloved pets in an effort to reduce their at-home costs. Because of that, many shelters are having to euthanize even more dogs and cats than ever before. Every year, of the 8 million dogs and cats that enter animal shelters, 3 million of these healthy and treatable pets are euthanized. In an effort to combat the difficulties faced by shelters across the country, The Humane Society, Maddie’s Fund, and the Ad Council has devised The Shelter Pet Project. Click here to visit!

The goal here is to increase shelter pet adoption, and to let everyone know that adorable pets are waiting for you to give them a loving home.

I fully support the Shelter Pet Project, and in order to help even more, I’m starting something new here on Afrobella. Bellas, fellas — I bring to you Afrobella ♥ Animals, where I’ll feature two shelter pets every month!

For my first month, I want to highlight an unfortunate trend in abandoned animals, one I’d LOVE to see reversed. It’s sometimes known as Black Dog Syndrome, Black Cat Syndrome, or Black Pet Syndrome. And what it means is, animals that are black in color have a harder time getting adopted than any other animal.

This article on explains it well:

The myth of the unlucky black cat is just a laughable superstition for most, but for animal adoption centers, it’s a real problem. Blacks cats are among the last cats adopted from shelters and rescues. They’re are more likely to be euthanized because of lack of adoption than non-black cats. They receive even more stereotyping around Halloween when images of the feline in frightening poses pop up in commercial and home decorations.”

Sad but true, ancient superstitions still hold true for people looking to adopt a pet. And consequently, black cats have the short end of the stick. But this extends to black dogs as well, and all of these critters are just as furry, loving, warm and sweet as any other cat or dog waiting for a forever home.

So for my first Afrobella ♥ Animals, allow me to introduce you to two cute and cuddly pets who could be your forever friends, if you live in their neck of the woods.

The Newfoundland puppy you see up above will be available at an adoption event TOMORROW, Saturday October 24, at Petco in Colorado from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Click here to learn more about him, and where you can scoop him up in your arms.


And Miss Kitty here is named Prudence, and she’s a 1 year old black kitty available at the Anti-Cruelty Society here in Chicago. Click here to see photos of Prudence!

Every month I’m gonna feature a doggie or kitty available for adoption, and I sincerely hope that someone steps up to give them the kind of loving home they deserve. For more pets near you, check out Petfinder, or The Shelter Pet Project!

Are you a pet owner? Tell me about the little fuzzball who makes your life complete!

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Kweenie says:
October 23, 2009, 3:56 pm
AWWWWW. I could stare at that puppy all day. I, too, grew up with dogs and have a cat. I told my husband that when we start our family and have a schedule that allows it, we're definitely getting a dog.
Kweenie says:
October 23, 2009, 3:59 pm
I also wanted to add that for those ladies who don't want to (or know how to) train a dog, there are those prison puppy programs where they train them for you and give them for adoption to regular folks (not just the military.) When we get a dog, it will probably be one from this program that is 1-year old and has already been "potty trained".
Quel says:
October 23, 2009, 4:29 pm
Awesome! One more reason to love your if we needed one.
Christine says:
October 23, 2009, 4:51 pm
Oh man, oh man, I would love to get a dog, but both of our job schedules wouldn't allow it. Ergo, we are cat owners, but for the cat haters out there (and my husband is one) we really do have the best cat in the world. Not only is he super easy to care for, but he comes to you for attention and as soon as you walk by him he is on his back waiting for a belly rub. AND he's a shelter cat. Seriously, best cat ever. Here's hoping these posts get some needy pets adopted. Good job Bella!
Alicia says:
October 23, 2009, 5:50 pm
I am so glad you're doing this, Bella. Another thing you may want to point out is that a lot of rescue agencies are always on the lookout for foster homes for their cats. We have been fostering a healthy 4-year-old FIV+ cat for half a year, as his condition had him living in a crate. As foster parents, we can get help from the agency if he gets sick and we need to pay for vet bills.
lola gets says:
October 23, 2009, 5:54 pm
This article is so on point! Because people everywhere are having financial problems, so too are the animals. If youve got the extra cash, now is a great time to adopt - and dont forget the black animals - they need loving too! L
Lee says:
October 23, 2009, 5:54 pm
This is a cool thing to do. The black dog is ADORABLE. I hope these animals find homes.
John says:
October 23, 2009, 6:28 pm
2nd that! Some of our warmest feelings are shared with our pets.
sybil says:
October 23, 2009, 6:39 pm
hey bella, what a great idea! i have two kitties miss sophia who is 17 and shug avery who's 5. if i had room i'd have cats and dogs =)
Athena says:
October 23, 2009, 7:28 pm
My boyfriend and I adopted a year and a half old black lab from a shelter in May. The volunteer basically told us he was on the verge of being put down because no one was willing to adopt him. Hendrix is a sweetie and the best dog we could have asked for.
Lynette says:
October 23, 2009, 7:33 pm
Great post. I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't have a pet (mostly cats). I had no idea that people didn't want black cats. Seems crazy to me.
Merri Lee says:
October 23, 2009, 9:22 pm
Side bar: Not sure if it's still a policy, but King County (WA) animal shelters wouldn't let people adopt black cats near Halloween because people were sacrificing them in Satanic rituals.
bella says:
October 23, 2009, 9:59 pm
Merri Lee - WOW I never even considered that as a possibility before. People are SICK. Looked this up on Snopes and apparently it's a concern: So anyone considering adopting a black kitty this month, please curb your desire until November, when the period of most danger is over for these lovable kitties.
Ericka says:
October 24, 2009, 9:08 am
My Anakin is a big black dog---great dane, lab mix, and is an eternal puppy (he's 10 and a half). The worst day improves when he bounces up to me when I come up the door with his wagging tail. Let's see if I can post a pic or link:
Nomie says:
October 24, 2009, 1:17 pm
Yeah, we got our dog through a Lab rescue organization, and they have much more interest from adopters for the yellow and chocolate Labs than the black ones. Sad, really. Our dog is a black one, though, and he is named Bongo Fury and he is dumb as a brick but he's the sweetest dog ever. He also thinks he's a lapdog, even though he weighs about 80 pounds. And we totally used to have black cats, but my brother developed allergies (thankfully after they all died of old age) so we can't get more. It makes me sad, but I can't really argue with allergies.
Denise says:
October 24, 2009, 1:30 pm
Yay, 'Bella- awesome new monthly feature! As I type, my newly adopted dog is watching me. Willow is a puppy mill rescue who is approximately 5-7 years old. My husband and I got her three weeks ago. She's a sweetie, who is still getting adjusted, but we can tell she's happy. We love her already!
bella says:
October 24, 2009, 1:47 pm
Ericka, Anakin is ADORABLE!! What a good looking boy. Nomie - nope, allergies suck. Maybe I'll do an upcoming post on pets that don't affect allergies! Denise - YAY for Willow! I love stories of rescue.
pets says:
October 25, 2009, 10:11 pm
Hi and thanks for this! WRT allergies - think of the Obamas and their long search for a dog that would be "ok" on allergies. WRT adopting pets whether black in colour or not yes I think that this is very deserving of publication but what happens if there are no adoptions done by a certain period are the pets put down? is there an alternative?
missy says:
October 26, 2009, 11:29 am
My husband is crazy about cats and when we moved into together his two cats were part of the package. Until then I had never owned a pet before. One of the casts is all black - - and she is truly a bit spooky - - but I love her quirky peronality and our home would not be a home without her.
Charrise says:
October 26, 2009, 11:37 am
This is a wonderful idea! I am a huge supported of my local SPCA and of black animals! Both my cats are black and I wanted black cats specifically for the reasons you discussed in this post. I love animals! Glad to see you do too!
Brandi says:
October 26, 2009, 12:28 pm
Oh I love animals. We put my beloved Snuggles, a Bichon Frise, to sleep on the first day of spring this year. Snuggles gave us 15 glorious years of bliss. By the way, Bichons are great for allergies since they don't really shed. I don't think I could do another dog now but I'm jonesing for a cat. I almost adopted one at a ASPCA fair in NYC last week. It's such a pity that black animals get such a bad wrap. Little Prudence had me swooning. Too adorable.
LBell says:
October 26, 2009, 10:35 pm
I've owned (been owned by) cats off and on for almost 30 years. One of my favorites was a big old barrel of a black cat who was all love, all the time. It breaks my heart to hear that black animals don't get adopted. With one exception, I've always had shelter cats. My current one is 14 years old, which is approximately 70 in human years. (Contrary to what most think, for cats it's not a direct 7-to-1 ratio.) Last spring I came home to find a dead mouse on the living room floor. He was standing over it and looking at me like "Yeah, I still got it. What?!?" lol As much as I would love to volunteer at an animal shelter, I don't because I'm too softhearted. My house would be overrun with animals (cats and dogs).
Gisele Parson says:
October 27, 2009, 1:01 am
Thank you Bella for starting this feature! And thanks to everyone here who have opened their homes to the furbabies-I have 2 dogs and a cat, and my Jet is a black lab mix, and the other dog is a golden cocker spaniel. It's incredible how strangers will often ignore my black dog, and play with the golden one. They are both equally gorgeous! The kitty/doggy pics above are precious, and thank you for mentioning this issue.
Amy (Minimally Invasive) says:
October 27, 2009, 3:06 am
Love this new feature, Bella! My husband and I did a LOT of research to find the best breed for us before deciding to rescue a retired racing greyhound. Sadly, Black Dog Syndrome is all too real, even with these gentle creatures. They're really amazing dogs - sweet, very loving, and surprisingly only need just a couple of walks a day! Oh, and did I mention they love nothing more than sleeping?
haisyen says:
October 27, 2009, 4:25 pm
Wow...I had no idea about the Black Pet Syndrome. I mean, I knew about the bad luck thing but sheesh. I too, am an animal lover. So much so that my mom used to (may still be) afraid I will turn my home into a zoo lol. I actually adopted two black cats from North Shore Animal League back in'05. They are the sweetest and most affectionate pets I've ever had..
Nikia says:
October 29, 2009, 10:57 am
I had a cat for 13 yrs. He was a stray cat when I got him. He was 14 yrs old and passed away one month before my 27th birthday, just this August. Since I have no kids, I felt as if my own had died. I took it very hard. I will eventually adopt 2 cats from the Milwaukee Humane Society sometime after the new year. Thank u afrobella for starting this movement....
djinn says:
November 7, 2009, 1:35 pm
My grandmother liked black cats because, as she said, the mice couldn't see them. :) That's what I tell people who want to pass over a black cat because of superstition or whatever reason. Now I need to think of a good one for black dogs. As a shelter volunteer and fellow animal lover, thank you, Afrobella, for this wonderful contribution to our cause. There are many ways to volunteer, as you have shown.


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