Coats of many colours to help homeless dogs

SWI knitter Winnie Anderson is pictured with Barney the spaniel.

SWI knitter Winnie Anderson is pictured with Barney the spaniel.

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Homeless dogs being discriminated against because of the colour of their fur are being given a makeover by members of the Scottish Women’s Institutes (SWI).

Pooches at the Scottish SPCA’s rescue and rehoming centre at Drumoak, near Banchory, are suffering from Black Dog Syndrome, which means that dark-coated animals are often overlooked by potential owners in favour of their lighter-coloured counterparts.

But now an army of knitters from SWI has stepped in to help them find homes by creating colourful woollen overcoats for them after Edith Smith and Winnie Anderson, members of local SWI, created the first jackes and donated them to the centre.

The hope is that the technicoloured coats – created as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years of the SWI – will make dark-coloured dogs more attractive to potential re-homers.

Christine Hutton, SWI national chairman said: “Some of Scotland’s top craftswomen are making multi-coloured dog coats in aid of homeless pets desperately seeking loving new homes, to boost their appeal and help them become rehomed more quickly.

“It’s sad to think of black dogs being less appealing simply because of the colour of their coat, but we hope that our knitters will be able to kit them out in coats of many colours and improve the chances of them being rehomed more quickly.”

The ‘syndrome’ is due partly to dark animals not photographing well and if they have white or grey hairs, these may make them look older than they are. Their teeth also look comparatively whiter and this can make black dogs appear more threatening. The problem is also partly to do with how black dogs are portrayed in folklore and popular culture, as representing evil forces or harbingers of doom.

Sharon Comrie, Scottish SPCA Superintendent, said: “This syndrome really does affect the adoption of animals in our care and, through no fault of their own, black dogs are almost always the last to find new homes.

“It’s a really creative idea to knit coloured jackets to show these dogs off to their best advantage.

Further details about the SWI can be found online at www.theswi.org.uk