Tag Archives: chow

The Big Black Dog Dilemma, featuring Teague

People are often amazed to learn that there are many factors that can hinder even the friendliest dog’s chance of adoption.

Meet Teague, who has been waiting for a new forever home for two months. Teague is a perfect dog to illustrate many of the “less-desirable” qualities that keep him waiting while he sees newer arrivals joyously celebrating their adoptions all around him.


Teague (photo by local photographer Lance Young)

OK, now that you’ve seen Teague, see how many attributes you can think of that are keeping him languishing in the shelter day after day. Go ahead, scribble a list.

Some you can see; some you can’t. Make some wild guesses!

Done? OK, here is a breakdown of Teague’s particular problems:

1. AGE – Teague came in as a stray, so there is no way for us to know exactly how old he is. Based on his grey muzzle and his teeth, we are assuming he is at least 6 years old; he may be as old as 10, 12, ?? He still has the inner joy and playfulness of a puppy, but even the most die-hard dog lover is hesitant to adopt an older dog. Most pet lovers have felt the pain of losing a furry best friend in the past… it takes a very special person (one with a stronger tolerance for pain than I have) to be willing to open their heart up to a pet that is already as much as halfway through its lifespan.

2. SIZE – Teague is a bit over 60 pounds, which counts as a “large” dog. The most requested size for an adoptable dog is under 20 pounds – that is because many housing associations, condominiums, and apartments have firm size restrictions. The next most popular size is generally up to 40-50 pounds; people like knowing that they could pick their pet up if they had to.  Then there is a HUGE jump (no pun intended) to people looking for 100-pound-plus dogs; the Mastiffs, Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds of the world have some really dedicated fans! That leaves Teague in the least popular weight category, 60-100 pounds.

3. COLOR – Black. Black, black, black. Yes, black is beautiful, but it is also the last color pup chosen from a litter… the last adult dog to be oooohed and aaaaaahed over in the shelter kennels. Some people think black dogs look “mean” – others just think they aren’t as pretty as the more “colorful” varieties. Because black is a dominant color gene, black dogs are also the most common color (particularly in “mutts”), so there are just plain too many of them looking for homes. They are also cursed with a general lack of photogenic charm (though our latest volunteer photographer, Lance Young, has found the art of capturing black dogs on camera).

4. BREED MIX – Notice that dusky purplish tongue? Purple tongues usually indicate that a dog like Teague has some Chow in his mix. Chows often suffer from breed-banning-overkill, along with several other “dangerous” dog breeds including Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Pit Bulls. Think that covers the banned breeds? Not even close. Some municipalities, homeowners insurance, and housing authorities routinely ban perennial favorites like Australian Shepherds, Airedale Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, and more. See more of the breeds that have been singled out in legislation around the US on the URDOG site. Of course, a dog’s breed doesn’t make a dog dangerous. Bad breeding and bad treatment make a dog dangerous.

5. GENDER – More adopters express a preference for female dogs, often because they are afraid a male dog will mark, or wander, or be more aggressive than a female dog. Often, when an adopter who originally wanted a female ends up falling in love with a male, they tell me how surprised they are at their new male buddy’s affectionate, easy-going nature.

6. INCOMPATIBLE WITH SOME OTHER PETS – In Teague’s case, he is cat aggressive and cannot be placed in a home with cats. (The flip-side is, he would be a fantastic rat-catcher-dog!) Teague should get along well with most other dogs, but a majority of potential adopters looking to add to their family either already have cats, plan to get a cat, or have neighbors whose cats sometimes wander across the property.

So, there you have a picture of one of the friendliest, most loving, easy-keeper dogs I’ve seen this year… and still he waits for someone to choose him.

What can we do to help Teague find his new family? The most important thing is to pass the word around, that this beautiful, affectionate, playful dog needs a home where he can be loved for the rest of his time, whether that is 1 year or 10 years.

Watch his videos on his listing page on our website to see his playful nature. Share his information with everyone you can think of who might be willing to offer Teague a place to enjoy life. Together, we can make a happy ending for Teague.

Teague is growing depressed in the shelter, and would enjoy a cat-free foster home in the Republic area, preferably with a fenced yard, while he waits for his forever-home.