Black pets find homes during Back in Black promo

Elizabeth the beautiful black longhaired catUp the stairs. Down the stairs. Up the stairs and then down the stairs. The pitter-patter of Elizabeth Taylor’s little paws fills the Colorado home of Amber Denny. Day and night, the beautiful black cat (aka Lizzy) with stunning greenish-gold eyes loves accompanying everyone all around her house, especially if they’re taking the stairs.

Lizzy is such a stunning cat that it’s surprising she had to wait more than three months at La Plata County Humane Society in Durango, Colorado, before Amber met and adopted her. But it can be tough for black pets in shelters. If there are 50 cats for adopters to choose from, people always look for the one who stands out. If 15 of those cats are black, it’s harder for people to see their individual special qualities because to a casual observer, they all look the same. That’s why Best Friends helps give black pets in shelters a boost through the Back in Black adoption promotion, which ran in April this year. It helped Lizzy and many more perfect pets find homes.

Promotion prompts awareness about black pets

La Plata County Humane Society is part of the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network, which means it is supported by and encouraged to participate in Best Friends adoption promotions designed to help more pets who need a leg up to get into homes. Since joining the Network in 2013, La Plata County Humane Society has rocked over a dozen Best Friends promotions, including Back in Black.

Joining the promotion means that organizations receive beautiful marketing materials to use at their shelters and online to show off black pets to their best advantage — all to help the public see them in a new light. Jonell Jones, marketing coordinator at La Plata County Humane Society, says, “I downloaded all the materials from the digital marketing tool kit that Best Friends sent, which included posters, kennel tags, postcards, social media pictures and Word documents that helped me best utilize the event.”  The shelter also lowered adoption fees for black pets during the promotion. The result: black pets could no longer be overlooked.

“There was a positive response from the community,” says Jonell. “Many of them were confused as to why black animals had a harder time getting adopted. I explained it to them and was able to enlighten a lot of people.”

Elizabeth Taylor the longhair cat is so cute, how could anyone not want her?Forever homes abound

La Plata County Humane Society made out like bandits in stealing the hearts of those who met the featured pets. The shelter reports adoptions of 15 black or mostly black dogs and 10 black or mostly black cats. “It makes me feel great that we were able to find homes for that many black animals in one month,” says Jonell.

Amber was in the shelter a short time before she met Elizabeth Taylor. While they were getting acquainted, the sly cat pulled off an extra adorable maneuver. “She started gently gnawing on the palm of my hand. It was the cutest thing ever,” says Amber. “She’s so cute, how could anyone not want her?”

Lizzy is the perfect family member in her new home. When she’s not escorting people around the house, she’s looking for a lap to claim.

In addition to seeing Lizzy happy in a home, Jonell is pleased with the far-reaching implications of Back in Black. “I think the most positive thing that came out of this is changing the way people think about adopting black animals,” says Jonell.

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Photos by Jonell Jones and courtesy of La Plata County Humane Society