Black dogs and cats get a raw deal when it comes to being unwanted. Ending up at a shelter is bad news for any animal, but black critters are the least likely to be adopted and if they are lucky enough to be chosen by an adoptee, they will have waited for the longest.

I've done a bit of research on this and there seem to be four major reasons that black cats and dogs are last on the list for potential adoptees - firstly, they don't look good in animal photography shots (I think these images disprove that point) which is tragic if you want to take over Instagram with your new pet (repeatedly smacks forehead against the wall), secondly, black dogs can look intimidating and aggressive, thirdly, black cats are superstitiously unlucky (or should that be stupid-stitiously) and lastly, they are a bit plain and boring to look at. What. Evs.

So, because I'm a fan of championing the underdog (and cat), these pet portraits are my PR stunt to show that black dogs and cats are far from boring. I have of course used some creative license with the descriptions (aside from Casper who really did try to wear a feather boa) because, like a publicity-hungry Kardashian, I'll do anything to get the animal shelter inhabitants the attention they deserve. I've even made a book about shelter dogs which you can find here.

All the adorable animals in this series have been safely adopted/rescued and are now living it up in loving family homes, just in case anyone is wondering.

My Googling did reveal an interesting tip for shelters looking to encourage people to adopt their 'boring' black dogs and cats - place them with dogs and cats who are wearing alternative colored outfits. Apparently, if there's one black dog amongst a run full of brown dogs, he's most likely to be selected. Make them stand out. Apparently, humans are a bit partial to clever marketing and fancy packaging.

Thankfully the dog and cat moms and dads who brought their precious rescues to the studio for beautiful photos selected their creatures based on their super personalities. The exception to this rule (there's always one) is DOGG. He was picked up at the side of the road, called 'Dog' because he was only going to be a foster but then he changed his name to D O GG and refused to leave.

Shelters worldwide often euthanize black dogs and cats more frequently purely because they know they are going to be more difficult to re-home. Some don't even get a chance to meet their forever family. Heartbreaking.

Changing perceptions amongst potential adopters as well as using clever 'marketing' tools to make them stand out seems to be the key.

The general public (worldwide) needs to be educated about the sterilization of pets to reduce the number of unwanted critters running around. Many of the stars I snapped were accidental arrivals (don't tell Truffle) and whilst they are unbelievably loved, another critter will have not been so lucky. It's a numbers game, one that must be reduced by getting cats and dogs 'fixed' before more accidental babies arrive.

Potential dog owners also need encouragement to adopt. There are a whole bunch of misconceptions about shelter dogs and cats. Sometimes they can be difficult, sometimes they take a while to settle, sometimes they require extra TLC and a behaviorist, but mostly they don't. All shelter pet parents will tell you that the love you get in return is 110% worth it. All the shelter pet parents I talk to who have bought a dog or cat previously tell me that they will never, ever buy a dog again because their rescued friend has changed their life for the better.

Have you got a black rescue dog or cat who has added immeasurable joy to your life and perhaps relieved you of some furniture or curtains? Tell me about them and include a photo in the comments below.

More info: emmaobrien.com | Instagram | Facebook

#1

Echo

Echo

Small. Cute. Master manipulator.

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Theory Buchannon
Community Member
1 year ago

I WANT HIM

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#2

Merlin

Merlin

Lost his eye whilst on a secret mission for MI5. Keeps requesting a monetary allowance for a diamond-encrusted patch. Keeps being denied. Has put in an order with Cartier and is going to expense it.

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glowworm2
Community Member
1 year ago

Get Merlin that diamond-encrusted eye patch! He's adorable and deserves it!

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#3

Guinness

Guinness

Judgemental as all hell. Found living under a trailer but is in no way trashy.

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Theory Buchannon
Community Member
1 year ago

why do people not want him

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#4

Merlin

Merlin

An enthusiastic advocate for the legalization of The Nip. Might have had some before the shoot.

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Daina Daina
Community Member
1 year ago

Beautiful cat!

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#5

Gabriel

Gabriel

Insisted on a head shot only because he's still trying to get bikini ready.

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Kaitlin Gaerte
Community Member
1 year ago

OMG so cute

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#6

Truffle

Truffle

Part of an 'oopsie' litter but insists that he's full pedigree. Still thinks this shoot was for Country Life magazine.

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Eagle Girl
Community Member
1 year ago

God makes no mistakes. Truffle belongs at the palace with baby Archie :)

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#7

Jessie

Jessie

As crazy as she looks. Once used a set of toddlers as skittles. Claims it was a total accident.

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Lou Wow
Community Member
1 year ago

Love the caption for this one! 😁

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#8

Maya The Mexican

Maya The Mexican

Won't make eye contact until you've downed four tequila shots and said 'Xoloitzcuintli' correctly. Good luck.

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Theory Buchannon
Community Member
1 year ago

I WANT HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#9

Mia

Mia

Weighs 50kg, thinks she's a lap dog. Can take out a couch once she breaks into a gentle trot.

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Catlady6000
Community Member
1 year ago

Make sure your in a house built to withstand an earthquake

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#10

Casper

Casper

Likes the finer things in life. Insists on silk sheets. Secretly likes to wear feather boas.

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Kaitlin Gaerte
Community Member
1 year ago

awww so pretty

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#11

Parker

Parker

Raised by a cat. Has a full repartee of witty one-liners. Won't wait to be invited to use them.

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Theory Buchannon
Community Member
1 year ago

so fluffy

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#12

Lena

Lena

Full-time retiree. Part-time therapist. Will always share her couch, but may fall asleep whilst you talk.

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Kaitlin Gaerte
Community Member
1 year ago

i love his eyes. so pretty

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#13

Toby

Toby

Has a fetish for sitting on velvet chairs. His tongue isn't the only thing he lets hang out.

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glowworm2
Community Member
1 year ago

I lost it at "His tongue isn't the only thing he lets hang out."

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#14

Dogg

Dogg

Pronounced 'D' 'O' "double G' as in Snoop. Impossibly cool. Fan of hip hop.

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Eagle Girl
Community Member
1 year ago

Snooop Doggggg! Ready for his 'Next Episode'

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#15

Red

Red

Yes, that is paint on his ear. Yes, this is his last ever modeling gig.

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Kaitlin Gaerte
Community Member
1 year ago

is his ear torn? the one with paint on it

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#16

Grace

Grace

Only wears Gucci. Anxiously waiting for a Net-A-Porter delivery that's taking forever to arrive.

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Theory Buchannon
Community Member
1 year ago

AMAZING grace

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#17

Arizona

Arizona

Didn't stop talking throughout the shoot. Also has paint on her ear. Also fired.

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Eagle Girl
Community Member
1 year ago

...and why was their paint on the set?

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#18

Bentley

Bentley

Reserved at first. Secretly a HUGE Madonna fan. Has all her albums.

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Theory Buchannon
Community Member
1 year ago

so cute

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#19

Nancy

Nancy

Slightly needy, snorer of note. Sheds so much that her mom now dresses like Batman.

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Luna Lovegood
Community Member
1 year ago

Awwww

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#20

Pest-O

Pest-O

Celebrated her tenth birthday just before the shoot. Her official age, however, is four and a half. She's waiting for an appointment with her stylist.

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Cindy Jarrett
Community Member
1 year ago

I have had three black cats! Currently have one of them, and a black horse! Love them forever and a day!

Community Member
1 year ago

Amazing, please will you share some pics?

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Bre Johnson
Community Member
1 year ago

5 black cats here, love them to death <3

Whiterain25 furry
Community Member
1 year ago

I have a tortoise

Frozengeckolover
Community Member
1 year ago

I love senior dogs. I had a black, English Shepherd. His name was Shadow. He was at least four when we got him. He had been abused, so he had trust issues at first. He was my buddy and he was wonderful! He lived to be about 17. I miss him so much!

Community Member
1 year ago

Awww, Shadow sounds like a darling :)

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Stacey Leigh
Community Member
1 year ago

Miss Oda Mae Brown. She's my little Johnny Cash. IMG_0677-5...9-jpeg.jpg IMG_0677-5cda353b66ab9-jpeg.jpg

Frozengeckolover
Community Member
1 year ago

Such a cutie!

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Cristina Steele
Community Member
1 year ago (edited)

We have two black and white “Tuxedo” Cats, a brother and sister pair—Cosmo and Fuzzberta. The boy is very doggy. Cosmo will play fetch every morning with his favorite toy, follow us around the house and help wake the children up in the morning. Our last boy tuxedo cat was also doggy. Lol.

Marco Andrade C.
Community Member
1 year ago

good

Zori the degu
Community Member
1 year ago

Oh, hope someone makes her the best birthday present ever!

MoonBeam
Community Member
1 year ago

Black Cats FTW!

Matchbanker
Community Member
1 year ago

I have a black labrador dog, I adopted him 2 years ago and I love him to the moon and back

danielw
Community Member
1 year ago

growing up, we had a golden retriever-mix who was black. (with brown eyebrows and belly markings.) No idea what she was mixed with, but Snickers was one of the best doggos ever. she was perfectly okay with doing whatever, so long as it was with her people. (although, swiming at the lake, she was a bit confused. the retriever side of her said dive head long into the lack... the whatever-it-was side would freak out and be like 'No no No no!"

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C H
Community Member
1 year ago

I think black-coated animals are incredibly beautiful and are the only color pets we've ever had. We always had black standard poodles and black cats growing up and I also had a black pug; more recently had a black hamster with white paws. They are the best.

Community Member
1 year ago

They really are beautiful looking animals. The hamster must have been very cute with white paws :)

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sharron lynn parsons
Community Member
1 year ago

I have a rescued black cat, my other rescued cat needed a friend, the black one is the life of this party, love my girls !!!

JUSTINE
Community Member
1 year ago

Gorgeous photos! I have 3 rescues - Cassie, Alfie and Millie. Whilst Cassie may be turning grey now as she turns 13, they were all black and are all unique and I've taken hundreds of photos of them over the years and think they are just as photogenic as any other colours. WhatsApp-I...c-jpeg.jpg WhatsApp-Image-2019-05-17-at-40947-AM1-5ce238f954e7c-jpeg.jpg

Sharon Trigg
Community Member
1 year ago

this is Saskia, not sure if this is her version of the dance of the seven veils or if she if feigning dying from hunger. 60393156_2...21e1f5.jpg 60393156_2352222468381247_935844206675492864_n-5cdf3bb21e1f5.jpg

Jovy Jergens
Community Member
1 year ago

Beautiful pictures of beautiful animals!

Walkus-Andrew Andrea
Community Member
1 year ago

Beautiful smile ❣

Diana Hansen
Community Member
1 year ago

black cats are the best! those shots of the animals are great! love the sense of humor

Ev Inaba
Community Member
1 year ago

Yaki, aging gracefully. IMG_0064-5...35e450.jpg IMG_0064-5cddcda35e450.jpg

Ev Inaba
Community Member
1 year ago

Ipo, after she her 'skunk' bath. IMG_0993-5...bc5b83.jpg IMG_0993-5cddcd3bc5b83.jpg

moeless
Community Member
1 year ago

Rescued two black dogs and a black cat between us. Plus others. Good as any other.

Sherry Harvey
Community Member
1 year ago

Black dogs are the best!

Synnøve Steinmo
Community Member
1 year ago

They are all beautiful! And the photographs are very good indeed!

Bonnie Osborne
Community Member
1 year ago

I have a 14 yr old black cat named Scarface. He got hit by a car at 2yrs and had to have an amputation. He also chipped a tooth. He's a tough old thing. Love him to pieces.

Louise Brigance
Community Member
1 year ago

Perfect as is

Laurie Mumbrue
Community Member
1 year ago

❤️🥰😍

Sofia Brandt
Community Member
1 year ago

I have 2 black cats and 2 black dogs female and male it both wouldn't have it any other way

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