Black Beauty, the majestic English colt, stole the hearts of many folks he encountered. Padfoot, the canine incarnation of Sirius Black, came to Harry Potter's rescue on several occasions. Bagheera, the black panther in The Jungle Book, rescues the baby Mowgli and becomes a fast friend for life.
Sadly though, black cats and black dogs in animal shelters often have the most difficult time finding new homes. "There's not a lot of that type of statistics on many aspects of sheltering," says Kim Intino, the director of animal sheltering issues for the Humane Society of the United States. "But I think that every person that has worked in a shelter can attest that in shelters, animals with black coats can be somewhat harder to adopt out—or to even get noticed."
Behind the shelter's doors, a friend for life is awaiting your arrival. Whether sleek like Bagheera, spunky like Black Beauty, or steadfast like Padfoot, many black cats and dogs are ready to bring good things to your life.
And don't forget the top 10 reasons to find true love with true black:
10. Black animals are warmer on your lap
9. A lint brush isn't required before a black-tie affair
8. Holding a black animal is very slimming
7. Black dogs and cats match any décor
6. Black animals are like onyx, a beautiful gem
—Susan Glowacz, APS volunteer, and Simon Woodrup, APS Director of Community Outreach
To adopt Lexie, Teddy, Genevieve or another black dog or cat, contact Animal Protection Society of Durham at 560-0640. Visit www.apsofdurham.org for more information.
Update (Aug. 26, 2008): Lexie and Genevieve have been adopted and are in their new homes.
Age: Young adult
Occupation: Unemployed house cat
Body art: I'll never tell
Best feature: My deeply expressive eyes
Three things you are most thankful for:
1. Rolling balls sliding along a linoleum floor
2. Anything or anyone to bonk my head against
3. Three squares a day
Who are you looking for? A loving companion; age does not matter to me
What do you do for fun? Chase feather toys
How often do you exercise? As much as I can
Where do you sit on the political fence? On the side with the mice
Last December, SAFE Haven rescued 41 cats from a hoarder in northern Wake County. Loretta is one of those cats. She lived in a small covered outdoor cage with six other cats. Her body posture and expression show how desperate and despondent she had become. When she came to us, she was terrified of open space, windows, being touched and, in general, everything. She didn't know what it meant to be a cat!
Loretta is just over a year old now and has made tremendous progress. She would do great in a home that is neither a library nor a carnival. She will adjust to new situations over time rather than quickly. When you are home, she will want to be by your side; when she's not playing with toys, that is. After a significant recovery, the last step for Loretta is a home.
—Pam Miller, SAFE Haven for Cats founder/ executive director
Loretta and 10 other cats rescued from this hoarder are still available for adoption. To inquire about them, contact SAFE Haven for Cats at 872-1128. Visit www.safehavenforcats.org to fill out an adoption application and for more information.
Shep reminds me of the sweet, intelligent boy who is the last to be picked for a team at school. He is not pushy or showy—he has a laid-back, "live and let live" attitude to life—and he is invariably courteous and friendly to all, humans and canines alike. Shep takes treats with the gentlest of mouths, even when other dogs around him are gobbling them up.
While he is not a show-off, Shep has wonderful talents (if only his schoolmates knew!). He is a remarkable sprinter and loves to run. He'll be a great running companion for someone, as he is perfect on a leash.
Shep is also an accomplished long jumper. Being a very smart dog, he knows how to back away, take a starting run and leap over a 4-foot fence. Shep does not dig or climb, and a 5-foot fence keeps him inside and happy (he is very content in his foster family's 5-foot fence). Shep's only goal in jumping is to be where his people are. He is too intelligent to stray; he just wants to hang out.
One other talent: Shep is a championship snuggler. He is happiest when snuggled up with his people. He enjoys nothing more than tummy rubs and ear scratches. Shep's favorite pastimes are watching TV and sitting in the computer room curled up at his person's feet.
Shep is longing to be someone's life-long friend. He has lots of love and devoted companionship to offer. All he needs is a family to pick him for their team.
—Carolyn Wood, Shep's foster mom for C.A.R.E.
Shep is 3-year-old Collie/Labrador Retriever mix and weighs 50 pounds. He is neutered, current on all shots, house and crate trained, and in perfect health. To inquire about Shep and other adoptable animals, contact Chatham Animal Rescue and Education (C.A.R.E.) at 542-5757. Visit www.chathamanimalrescue.org for more information.
Snickers' name belies her regal appearance, referring more to her colorful calico coat—splashes of gray and orange painted in broad strokes across a pure white background. Healthy, clean and well fed, she has a gentle, affectionate demeanor suggesting she has known a life of feline luxury. Why, then, is she now inside a cage at the Wake County Animal Care, Control & Adoption Center, and not curled up comfortably on a sofa or lounging lazily in someone's windowsill?
The truth is, most people who adopt from the Center choose cute, cuddly kittens and puppies rather than often better behaved and more grateful mature animals. There are plenty of each at the Center, but those such as Snickers, who would make wonderful pets, are too often overlooked. Animals in Snickers' age range (she is 7 years old) are considered "mature," while those aged 9 years and over are "seniors." Given that cats can live up to 18 or even 20 years, Snickers likely offers another 10 years of loving companionship. Mature animals are almost always housebroken or litter trained, and tend to be quieter and less demanding of time and attention.
If you approach Snickers' cage, she'll rub her head against the wires, hoping your fingers will find their way in to just the right spot. She recently enjoyed a rare afternoon out at an off-site adoption event, where she curled up in laps, greeted children, and acknowledged then ignored curious dogs. She is ready for immediate adoption, having been spayed, micro-chipped, de-wormed and vaccinated. The Wake Animal Advocacy Group (WAAG) has donated $20 toward her adoption fee. Snickers has been at the shelter since June 21—a very long time during the Center's busiest season. She really wants, and needs, to go home.
—MJ Ainsley, Wake County shelter volunteer
To adopt Snickers or another cat with the wisdom of years, contact Wake County Animal Care, Control & Adoption Center at 212-PETS (7387). Visit www.wakegov.com/pets for more information.
Update (Sept. 4, 2008): Snickers has been adopted by a Wake County shelter volunteer.