The restaurant was founded in , and became well known for its souvenir T-shirts, featuring its logo of the eponymous black dog. They subsequently expanded to sell other products with the same logo. The Black Dog T-shirts became well known during the s as photographs of celebrities wearing the shirts began appearing in national publications. For example, a photograph of then-President Bill Clinton jogging while wearing one was distributed by national wire services. Black Dog merchandise became part of the Lewinsky scandal , as items from the store were purchased by Bill Clinton and given to Monica Lewinsky. Marketing at The Black Dog was effective. During the early s, the merchandise was only sold at the Martha's Vineyard location.
At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help.
A black dog is a motif  of a spectral or demonic entity found primarily in the folklore of the British Isles. The black dog is essentially a nocturnal apparition , in some cases a shapeshifter, and is often said to be associated with the Devil or described as a ghost or hellhound. Its appearance was regarded as a portent of death. It is generally supposed to be larger than a normal dog and often has large glowing eyes. The origins of the black dog are difficult to discern. It is uncertain whether the creature originated in the Celtic or Germanic elements of British culture. Throughout European mythology , dogs have been associated with death. This association seems to be due to the scavenging habits of dogs. Black dogs are generally regarded as sinister or malevolent, and a few such as the Barghest and Shuck are said to be directly harmful. They may also serve as familiar spirits for witches and warlocks.
And folks who suffer from, work to manage, and live daily with depression know this phrase — this description of a wild, ominously colored constant companion, growling and baring his thick, razor-sharp teeth — to be a fairly accurate metaphor. They also know that, if not leashed in time, their own Black Dogs will snap, lunge, and eventually sink in their teeth. Fortunately, every Black Dog has a collar. Because depression is a manageable, treatable mental illness. What you have to figure out is how to snap a leash on that collar, and regain control, when your Black Dog breaks loose. Step 1: Stop. Stop and listen, just as you would if you really were enjoying a hike through the woods or wandering along the streets and heard an animal growling. Can you tell from which direction the growls are coming?