What is it that really makes a dog spend years in a shelter, unwanted, overlooked and ignored? Factors like the age, the breed and the size do matter – a young dog will be adopted easier than an old one, a purebred easier than a mix breed one and a small one easier than a big one. And of course, the healthier the better.
But most importantly, what really makes a dog non-adoptable is its looks. Appearance matters more than we think, it matters too much – and the dog that never ever catches the eye is the mix breed, brownish -grayish-dirty looking, adult one.
If there was a scale form “most adoptable” to “least adoptable”, it would be: white -yellow – brown – black and white – black – brownish-grayish-dirty looking-inexplicable kind of color. This is Bono’s color, and Bono has lived all his life in the shelter, since the day I rescued him as a puppy. His rescue video has about 100.000 views on the charity’s Facebook page and nobody has called for him. NOBODY.
If you take a tour around the shelters in Greece, you will notice that the vast majority of dogs is Bono’s color. It’s not brown, not black, not even black and tan. It’s this… this combination of black, brown and grey that gives a blurry look to the fur and that never catches the eye.
I am not exaggerating. And what I am about to disclose is quite embarrassing, but it is true, and I need to say it so that I can get it off my chest. Today I went to the shelter to pick up Bono. The previous time I was there, he was in the first kennel on the right, second row. So I approached and there was a terrified dog, hiding in a corner and barking at me. I thought “what the …?”, how come he doesn’t recognize me? And then I looked closer and realized that the dog barking at me was not Bono.
I took a tour around the shelter to find which cage was Bono in, and within five minutes, I had mistaken him for three more dogs looking like him. I could tell by their attitude that they were not him, and when I finally reached his kennel, I immediately recognized his beautiful eyes – besides he was the only dog there that was happy to see me.
I felt so bad. So embarrassed. This is a dog I picked from the streets when he was five months old. I watched him grow. I know him. I thought I could recognize him among a million other dogs, but I didn’t – not at first anyway.
Maybe I am just a moron. Or maybe this is the reason why these dogs are always left behind. Their image is blur, similar to many others, also blur. Average. Mediocre. But the soul always differs. Each and every one of them is unique. My Bono is unique. While I am typing these words, he is right here at home with me, sleeping in his crate. He is so peaceful. And happy. He doesn’t realize that there’s anything wrong with him – and there isn’t actually.