Tuesday, March 24, 2015


If you think you are one, then you probably are a Boxer-aholic and as far as I know there is no cure or 12-step program for you to get help. You will know them when you see them. They have boxer magnets plastered all over their cars while boxer doormats welcome you into their homes. And, inside the actual home, there is every kind of boxer paraphernalia known to man from sofa throws to rugs to statues and knick knacks. So far I have fostered 3 fabulous boxers for Planned Pethood, Big John, Freddie, and Maxwell (no lady boxers yet). And, you know, I think I may have been bitten by the boxer bug myself. I have always, always been a lab person through and through but…

I was initiated into this cult by my nephew John and his boxer Buster who was a very handsome, sweet-tempered, and loving boy. Sadly, he developed brain cancer and Johnny lost him at only six years old and it broke everyone’s heart along the way. John and his wife, Amanda, have four of the cutest little boys. But when it came time for a lasting tribute, it is not the wife or kids he tattooed forever. You guessed it, it is the boxer immortalized on his body. They have moved on, recently adding a little girl boxer, Dixie, to the family. She made them all proud by graduating as valedictorian in her puppy obedience class.

My own first boxer was a majestic, regal DRD (Death Row Dog) foster who we named Big John (yes, in honor of my boxer-aholic nephew). The BIG part just came with the territory. He was a beast. He introduced me to the unique world of the boxer-aholics. He was a magnet for them at the park, they were drawn to him from the farthest corners, even on the street. They actually speak their own language, a boxer dialect including words like fawn and brindle… And the stories, OMG, the stories just never end. Many of the members cannot understand that anyone would even consider a dog of another breed. No way, dude! My big handsome guy had a wonderful home lined up when the unthinkable happened. He was diagnosed with lymphoma. He spent the next 8 months being spoiled and adored by us until his time was up. I loved him so much, I adopted him posthumously, something I had never done before or since.
My foster dog Freddie the boxer has been celebrated in his own blog. The title is “Freddie’s Saga”. It was posted on 8/30/13 and you can read it at plannedpethood.blogspot.com. I recently got some awful news from his boxer-aholic family, Cheryll and Curt Wegner, who adopted Freddie. After two blissful years, I’m certain the BEST years of his too-short life, Fred tragically succumbed to congestive heart failure. The two C’s have been able to ease their pain of his loss a little after they adopted Planned Pethood boxer, Rudy. Thanks for all the love to Freddie. He was the best!

My most recent boxer foster is the magnificent senior Maxwell. Things looked very grim for the big dude when PPI pulled him from the pound. He was a skeleton with skin on it. I was shocked when I picked him up. I was both horrified and scared. I insisted he visit the vet immediately because I thought he was dying. But, unbelievably, there were no major medical issues. The stress of those months in the pound was literally killing him. Boxers suffer mightily out of their routines and home environment. I was actually embarrassed to walk him because I was afraid people would think I was starving him. Max, who turned out to be a big old Mama’s boy, bounced back with gusto and became the star of the show. He demanded his turn for his “senior walk” with the strangest combination of boxer speak and nudging that could not be ignored. It looked for a while like Maxwell would spend the rest of his life as a member of his foster family, partially because people don’t readily adopt seniors and because he is all charm and was more than welcome to stay.

I told everyone who would listen that Max was not going anywhere unless the application for him was perfect. Then, as in each of these cases, that special boxer-aholic appeared on the horizon. I had actually made a list of all of Max’s negatives which in included: arthritis, he was hard of hearing, he could be bossy at the park, he inevitably had to pee in the middle of the night, and the gas, OMG the right out loud gas. Come to think of it, that would sure have discouraged me. I knew Max had hit the jackpot when none of this dissuaded Jamie who had compiled the perfect app for the big guy. He had boxers his whole life, and, boy could he speak boxer! He had recently lost his own senior boxer and it left a hole in the family that included two other dogs, boxers of course, and his roommate Gavin. Jamie even cooks special meals for one of them due to a digestive disorder. But expect nothing less from a true boxer-aholic, right?

Well, before you know it, Jamie, Gavin, Lucy, and Jasper were on their way to Toledo to meet the big dude. By now, he had gained 13 lbs. and looked stunning. I was proud to show off Maxwell on a walk, enjoying the compliments. Our biggest fear was that Max, who could be a little temperamental, may not be crazy about Lucy who was the alpha of their pack and visa versa. But there was no need to worry, the introductions went off without a hitch. After the paperwork was completed, Jamie hopped in the back of the SUV with the dogs with Gavin at the wheel for the ride back to the Cleveland area. I stood watching them go with tears in my eyes but I knew in my heart, Max was off to the best days of his life with 2 chronic boxer-aholic dads in boxer heaven on earth.

Jamie updates me on Maxwell’s progress periodically. And as great as he was doing when he left, he is thriving over there in Boxer Heaven. He has a luxurious dog bed in front of the fireplace. He has a toy box full of his favorite play things. He plays soccer in the yard and engages in play with his younger siblings. Jamie’s work schedule means rising at 4:00 a.m. Remember those fixed boxer routines? Max’s brain says it is wake up time at 4:00 on Sat. and Sun. too. There will be no ignoring him either. Oops, sorry dude. Jamie has a summer home on a lake and I can picture Max lounging out on the back deck with an umbrella in his water bowl in a few months.

So all things considered, I guess there are worse things to be addicted to than boxers. You never know, one of these days, I may even turn myself. In the meantime, there may be a meeting coming to a place near you where you will hear, “I am John, Cheryll, Curt, Jamie, Gavin, and Judy and I am a boxer-aholic…"