Black Dogs and Cats: The Underdogs of the Adoption World

Anyone that’s been to an animal shelter has probably seen them. Maybe they’re a shaking shadow hiding at the back of an enclosure. They may even be a ball of fluff jumping with excitement as you idly walk by. Perhaps you were perusing rescue websites and bypassed that midnight colored beauty for someone more colorful.

As their brighter colored friends walk out the door into a new life, they sit back and ponder….what did I do wrong? I did my best to look happy and wag my tail. I rolled around playfully and tried really hard to look adorable. But, you walked by me…you didn’t even give me a second glance. They’ve resigned themselves to a life in the shelter or worse.

I remember when my then fiancé and I decided to adopt a cat back in 2000. He wasn’t a cat person but told me “If you can find the most dog like cat possible we can get a cat.” Together we decided to start looking for a Maine Coon. Large, laid back cats with relaxed attitudes. I was confident adopting an adult was a good choice, and since we only had my great dane at the time I figured introductions and adjustments would go well.

One day my fiancé came running up to me at PetsMart, we both used to work there, and he said “Jaime, I think I found us a Maine Coon!” It turns out one of the employees at the in house vet clinic was unable to keep his two cats for personal reasons, and one of them was a Maine Coon. We jumped at the opportunity to meet “Ruff Ruff” (Yes, that was his name and yes it fit him wonderfully!) The cats were being housed in one of the enclosures at the vet clinic so we went to meet Ruff Ruff. The first time I saw him he was laid back in the corner of the cage just chilling out as if he knew he ruled the world.

All of a sudden the large bump of news paper behind him began to move, and out from underneath this pile of paper peered a pair of piercing eyes giving the biggest go to heck look you ever saw. But, we knew his secret. Behind that piercing stare was his secret plea… “Please give me a chance….“. This, was Darkside. He was a solid black sleek as midnight beauty to whom we may have never given a second glance had we not been visiting his brother. It turns out Ruff Ruff and his brother were a package deal so while we weren’t planning on adopting two cats we did. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. For 12 years Ruff Ruff remained a fairly aloof feline companion while Darkside quickly became one of the most persistently loving cats I had ever known. Ruff Ruff passed away unexpectedly in February of 2012. After that, Darkside rapidly declined and we made the heart breaking decision to end his pain.

In closing on this blog I would like to remind you of a few things. The next time you decide it’s time to add a new family member, don’t go to the shelter looking for a particular type of dog or car. Don’t look for a particular sex, color, or age. Open yourself up to anything because your new best friend may be that shaking shadow hiding under a pile of newspaper.

See you next blog,

Jaime

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