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The Black Dog

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Jamie Douglas, Madeline Tully, and Leslie Hurd at the Oak Bluffs Black Dog store. Dogs are, left to right: Conrad, Antoine, and Essence. — Photo by Nathaniel Horwitz

On St. Thomas, in the Caribbean, strict laws dictate the euthanization of stray dogs. Here, on Martha’s Vineyard, those same strays, now cleaned, quarantined, and vaccinated, are looking for new homes during the Black Dog’s first Doggie Adoption Month. Throughout March, the Black Dog is teaming up with local animal shelters in ten of its locations to host fundraisers and provide homes for the dogs.

The dogs, primarily puppies, are rescued and transported from the Virgin Islands by Angels Helping Animals Worldwide (AHAW).

“I’ve rescued almost 200 dogs over the past year and a half,” said the organization’s founder, Leslie Hurd. “Now, all of them are in good homes.”

Adopting a puppy through AHAW is quick. “All of the medical stuff is taken care of and a health certificate is available for each dog,” said Ms. Hurd. “We just ask for a donation of $250 to $450, because it costs us that much to rescue and give shots, and to pay for transport and quarantine. And we absolutely need foster homes: you can take care of a dog for a week, and if you love it, you can adopt it then.”

Saturday, March 7, at the Black Dog General Store on Circuit Ave. in Oak Bluffs, the current Black Dog, Antoine, frolicked with several of the puppies waiting to be taken home during the Martha’s Vineyard part of the journey. Balloons floated from the exterior of the building and inside a table with pamphlets and stuffed dog toys dominated the center of the room, surrounded by adoring children. Antoine settled down on a Black Dog logo mat in front of the table, mirroring the memorialized original.

“Antoine’s been the Black Dog for a couple years,” said Jamie Douglas, a Black Dog executive and member of the owners’  family. “He’s named after the French windsurfing champion Antoine Albeau, and he came to the Vineyard through AHAW. The original Black Dog was adopted, too, and Antoine has the same white spots as Black Dog.”

“We’ve done a lot of work like this in the past,” he said. “But this is the first Doggy Adoption Month. We’re trying to make it part of the in-store experience. People will come in and buy merchandise, of course, but last summer, for example, we raised $5,000 for the shelters. And during the month, we give AHA part of all Black Dog proceeds.”

The Black Dog will be donating 20 percent of earnings from dog-related merchandise and 10 percent of all sales, according to a press release by the franchise.

Mr. Douglass is planning similar events in the future, such as another Paw-rade, in which owners can donate $5 to walk with their dog in the parade. “We’re looking forward to our fall Paw-rade and Howl-a-ween, as well as the Black Dog Look-a-like Competition,” he said. “And we may partner with the MVAS (M.V. Animal Shelter) to have a Paw-rade in the 4th of July parade in Edgartown.”

Information about these events and adopting a puppy is available at theblackdog.com. All dogs come with a Black Dog Doggie Starter Kit, which includes a variety of Black Dog treats and toys.