Donatello, a pit bull mix, has watched more than 1,189 animals be chosen over him at the Woodford Humane Society. Whether it’s his 62-pound size, his breed or his coloring, this 5-year-old dog has been continually overlooked by adopters for the last four years.
But, now, staff members at the organization are begging people to please give Donatello a chance. Here’s a Facebook post from earlier this month, which names him as “Pet of the Week” and tells his story to the rescue’s followers on social media:
“Donatello checks a lot of the boxes that make pets easily overlooked by adopters: he’s a large, black dog; he’s a mature adult; and he’s a pit bull,” the post says.
There’s a perception out there that black-colored animals (including cats) are less likely to be adopted than animals with lighter fur. This prejudice even has a name: “black dog syndrome.” While research on whether this is really a thing remains inconclusive, rescue workers still feel the bias exists, anecdotally — although the reasons for it aren’t clear. While superstition could be a culprit, some experts believe it might just be because dogs with black in their fur are harder to photograph well.
This is where photographer Maggie Epling comes in.
When the University of Kentucky student first learned about black dog syndrome last year, she had the idea to offer her photography services to shelters. By creating beautiful images that captured the true personalities of these animals, she hoped to increase the likelihood that these overlooked pets might be adopted.
Epling snapped adorable shots of Donatello that have been shared by the Woodford Humane Society, along with the characteristics that make this pup so special and so worthy of love.
In this post from May 13, staff members are celebrating a bittersweet milestone: Donatello’s four-year anniversary at the shelter.
“He’s perfectly house and crate trained,” the Facebook post says. “He’s a belly-rub connoisseur. He zooms for about 5 minutes at a time, then couch potatoes for hours. He loves kids (although we recommend older, harder to knock over ones, as he’s basically a perfect wrecking ball when he’s zooming). He’s endlessly patient with being dressed up for photo shoots. He’s pretty sure he’s a lap dog, scoot over on the couch so he can show you.”
Shelter staff describe sweet Donatello as “happy” and “endlessly patient” and say they really want him to have the chance to enjoy a home of his very own. To make an appointment to meet him, you can contact the shelter directly.
The Woodford Humane Society is located at 265 Thomas Lane in Versailles, Kentucky. Email the shelter at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website here.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for additional stories.