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Before You Adopt
So, you're thinking about adopting a boxer. You've taken the first step to a rewarding experience with your dog!

"But," you ask, "how do I know if a Boxer is right for me? Or even what age dog I should get?"

We have some information on this page that might help in your decision. For instance, is a Boxer the right breed for you? How Good Is That Dog? What if you are considering A Puppy? Why not consider an older, more mature dog? And what support can I get from BAR after I adopt?

Click on any of the links above or to the left to see more information.

Is the Boxer the Right Breed For You?

The Boxer is a unique breed of dog. They are very athletic, energetic dogs that need human companionship and understanding. The Boxer is not the breed for everyone.

Owning a Boxer
Published with Permission from Cinema Boxers

The boxer is thought by many to be the ideal family dog. Those who love the breed know them to be exuberant, loyal and loving companions. They are NOT, however, the ideal breed for everyone. The same qualities and characteristics that endear them to those who love them may make them unsuitable for some households. To those who are considering owning a boxer we offer the following information - not to discourage potential loving owners, but to aid them in making a conscientious decision. Owning a boxer is a joy - acquiring one demands a true commitment to the physical and emotional health of the dog.

One of the primary characteristics that must be taken into account when considering a boxer is the high energy level common to the breed. Boxers are lively, active dogs, and may be too boisterous for some households. The proper balance of rest and exercise is essential.

Boxers are extremely "people-oriented" and have a great need for human companionship. Those who receive insufficient attention may resort to "bad" behavior in an attempt to gain it.

The boxer is a HOUSE dog. While they may enjoy regular play and exercise outdoors they are not suited for outside living. Their short coats cannot protect them from long exposure to cold temperatures and their short muzzles make them susceptible to extreme heat.

The boxer is a natural guardian of his home, but should NOT be purchased solely for that purpose. ALL dogs require intensive training in order to perform properly as protection animals. Only those with absolutely sound temperaments are suitable.

As with any breed, obedience training is essential for a well-mannered, disciplined companion. Boxers are an intelligent, clever breed. It is important to remember that an intelligent dog can devise more ways of getting into trouble than a dull one. Boxers must be trained in a firm but fair manner – they do not respond well to (or deserve) harsh treatment.

The Boxer's short, tight coat requires little grooming, however like most breeds, they DO shed, particularly in Spring and Fall. The degree of shedding varies with the individual. Some lines are prone to skin allergies.

Some Boxers, especially those with "loose lips" may drool. Usually this is only an occasional occurrence, but some may find it unappealing. They may also snore.

The Official standard of the Boxer calls for cropped ears. While many pet owners opt not to have this procedure, those who have their boxer cropped must be prepared to perform the necessary aftercare and taping to ensure the ears stand properly. This CAN be a lengthy process.

Finally, on the rather delicate subject of flatulence - the Boxers digestion is sometimes less than perfect. Even when fed a high quality food, SOME may have rather frequent and, well-noxious episodes of passing gas. This, of course, varies with the individual and may not occur at all. (Just don't say you weren't warned if it does.) A tablespoon of fat-free or low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt may help this situation.

How good is that dog?

In rescue we are often asked the history of a dog, are they good in a variety of situations, with other dogs, kids, other species. (Hold on, kids are another species, right?) Sometimes these answers are not as straightforward as one might first imagine and there are certainly no guarantees.

A dog's behavior is not set in stone, just as we can rehabilitate and retrain a dog with undesirable behavior, so too can it's new human home have an influence on the dog in such a way that it's behavior can change from what appeared to be a calm, sociable dog to one with a quite different personality. I prefer to use the term 'undesirable' over words like 'bad' because 'bad' implies that an animal is that way by choice or of his own making rather than as a result of human interaction. By using 'undesirable' I am talking about behavior that a dog adopts as a result of living with people that we would seek to change, for the good of everyone.

"Why does this happen?", people ask, "Why wouldn't a dog remain the same from one home to the next?"

Would my own pack behave in the same way if placed in the hands of a stranger? Well the truth is they could go either way, try to take over and become unruly, or be even more calm and submissive than they are with me.

The answer lies in the leadership that a dog gets in his or her current family or pack. When the stability of this changes, then so too can our dogs behavior. A calm submissive friendly dog in one home, could for example, change into an anxious, challenging and aggressive dog in another. How often do we hear people say "He never used to behave that way" or "She used to be so sweet with other dogs". You could go on and on.

Why would this happen? To see how these changes can occur and what we can do to prevent them or reverse them if we have taken on an unfriendly or aggressive dog, let's look at it from a dogs point of view.

As we know, all dogs are born to live as a pack member, they are not meant to be solitary animals, life is way too hard, food difficult to find and you will never stand a chance of passing on your genes unless you join a pack. So then for a pack to work successfully there has to be a leader, one who sets rules, boundaries, makes decisions such as when to leave the den, when to eat, who is allowed in to the pack, who mates and so on. Leadership is determined within a pack or when an outsider tries to join. A leader is only as good as he is convincing, any chink in the armor would soon be noticed by another dog with dominant traits and a challenge takes place.

OK , we all know most of this, but how does it directly apply to our own families? Let's keep thinking dog. When a dog joins your family, whether from another family, shelter, pet shop or other means, they are looking to find where they can fit in, they will certainly want to, for all the reasons stated above. How the new dog's arrival will be greeted will depend on the pack leader and his or her ability to show good, calm assertive and trustworthy leadership. The new dog will be looking to accept or challenge the pack leader or pack members, depending on what kind of personality the newcomer is. (submissive or assertive) The pack leader's ability to keep control in this situation is critical, respect can be won or lost if they are not seen to be dealing with the situation well. If the newcomer walks in and attempts to challenge or become aggressive with existing members, then it's up to the pack leader alone to step in and show authority, remaining calm but assertive. A pack leader who is anxious or loud is clearly not up to the job and won't get the desired response or respect. Equally if another dog in the pack steps in to seek to remove or drive away the newbie with aggression, then the leader is clearly not an effective one, maybe not leader at all, maybe this dog, is in fact pack leader, or is challenging for the role.

So if we apply this thinking to our own family, we can see that by offering a new dog good leadership while at the same time making sure that our existing dogs know the order of the pack, it doesn't necessarily matter whether we know much of a dog's past, we can help him to be a good calm, submissive family member, whilst ensuring that our own dogs accept him. It's we, the humans, who determine these things, not the dogs. It's our job to maintain order and decide who is allowed into our family. On this theme it's also our job to be ever watchful of our dogs behavior changing, even when we've owned them for years and explore why those changes, even subtle ones, are happening.

If you don't take the role of leader with calm confidence, then one of your dogs will, it's not a dog turning bad, it's a dog's way, his innate way of survival. Who is going to be pack leader is up to you, most dogs would actually rather be followers and even the most dominant, assertive dogs can be shown good leadership, they just need more convincing. I think we can all see the importance of taking on the task, it's one of responsibility, one of protector, provider and disciplinarian, it's not fair or right to allow one of our dogs to take on the role. So to answer the question "How good is that dog?" we need to ask "How good is that human?".


Kim Barnett, Formar BAR Foster Mentor and Post Adoption Advisor

Considering a puppy?

A puppy can be a wonderful addition to your house, if you are ready for it. What child doesn't ask their parents for a puppy nearly every chance they get? The following story might give you a little insight into making your decision. (more...)

A Puppy Story

I am a Puppy, This means that my intelligence and capacity for learning are the same as an 8-month-old child.

I am a Puppy; I will chew EVERYTHING I can get my teeth on. This is how I explore and learn about the world. Even HUMAN children put things in their mouths. It's up to you to guide me to what is mine to chew and what is not.

I am a Puppy; I cannot hold my bladder for longer than 1-2 hours. I cannot "feel" that I need to poop until it is actually beginning to come out. I cannot vocalize nor tell you that I need to go, and I cannot have "bladder and bowel control" until 6-9 months. Do not punish me if you have not let me out for 3 hours and I tinkle. It is your fault. As a Puppy it is wise to remember that I NEED to go potty after: Eating, Sleeping, Playing, Drinking and around every 2-3 hours in addition. If you want me to sleep through the night, then do not give me water after 7 or 8pm. A crate will help me learn to housebreak easier, and will avoid you being mad at me.

I am a puppy, accidents WILL happen, please be patient with me! In time I will learn.

I am a Puppy, I like to play. I will run around, and chase imaginary monsters, and chase your feet and your toes and 'attack' you, and chase fuzzballs, other pets, and small kids. It is play; it's what I do. Do not be mad at me or expect me to be sedate, mellow and sleep all day. If my high-energy level is too much for you, maybe you could consider an older rescue from a shelter or Rescue group. My play is beneficial, use your wisdom to guide me in my play with appropriate toys, and activities like chasing a rolling ball, or gentle tug games, or plenty of chew toys for me. If I nip you too hard, talk to me in "dog talk", by giving a loud YELP, I will usually get the message, as this is how dogs communicate with one another. If I get to rough simply ignore me for a few moments, or put me in my crate with an appropriate chew toy.

I am a Puppy; hopefully you would not yell, hit, strike, kick or beat a 6-month-old human infant so please do not do the same to me. I am delicate and also very impressionable. If you treat me harshly now, I will grow up learning to fear being hit, spanked, kicked or beaten. Instead, please guide me with encouragement, and wisdom. (For instance, if I am chewing something wrong, say, "No chew!" and hand me a toy I CAN chew) better yet, pick up ANYTHING that you do not want me to get into. I can't tell the difference between your old sock and your new sock, or an old sneaker and your $200 Nikes.

I am a Puppy, and I am a creature with feelings, and drives much like your own, but yet also very different. Although I am NOT a human in a dog suit, neither am I an unfeeling robot who can instantly obey your every whim. I truly DO want to please you, and be a part of your family, and your life. You got me (I hope) because you want a loving partner and companion, so do not relegate me to the backyard when I get bigger, do not judge me harshly but instead mold me with gentleness and guidelines and training into the kind of family member you want me to be.

I am a puppy and I am not perfect, and I know you are not perfect either. I Love you anyway. So please, learn all you can about training, and puppy behaviors and caring for me from your Veterinarian, books on dog care and even researching on the computer! Learn about my particular breed and it's "characteristics" it will give you understanding and insight into WHY I do the things I do. Please teach me with love, and patience, the right way to behave and socialize me with training in a puppy class or obedience class, we will BOTH have a lot of fun together.

I am a Puppy and I want more than anything to love you, to be with you, and to please you. Won't you please take time to understand how I work? We are the same you and I, in that we both feel hunger, pain, thirst, discomfort, fear, but yet we are also very different and must work to understand one another's language, body signals, wants and needs. Some day I will be a handsome dog, hopefully one you can be proud of and one that you will love as much as I love you.

Love, Your Puppy.

(This is something good to send out to people considering a puppy and may be posted, reposted, cross-posted and used with permission as long as credit is given. © 2000 J. Ellis)
A printable copy of this story can be found here. (less...)

Ten Reasons Not to Buy a Puppy From a Pet Store

by Catherine M. Sheeter

1. Health (more...)

That adorable puppy in the window of the pet store is hard to resist, but you may be paying a lot of money for a dog that you know very little about. Pet stores generally rely on impulse buys to sell their "product". There is a good chance that the pet store puppy will develop a health problem sometime in its life that may cost you a lot of money to remedy. When you buy a pet store puppy it is very unlikely that the puppy's parents were screened for genetic diseases that can be passed to their offspring. Every breed of dog has genetic problems that are passed from generation to generation by breeding dogs that carry the flawed gene. Many of these genetic problems can be detected with today's technology, but these tests are expensive. People who are concerned about the welfare and future of their breed will have these tests conducted to preserve and improve in the future quality of their breed. Most good breeders are more concerned about the health of the puppies that they are producing than the money that they will or won't make on the production of a litter.

2. The Myth of AKC Papers

Most pet shops would like you to believe that if a puppy is registered by the American Kennel Club, this guarantees the puppy will be healthy and a good example of the breed. This is not so. The only thing that AKC papers certify is that the puppy is a purebred and produced out of AKC registered parents. Even this can be fiction, as some producers register more puppies than are actually born in each litter to receive extra registration slips to pass out with unregisterable puppies. The parents of your puppy may be unhealthy or carriers of crippling or deadly health defects which they may have passed to their offspring- your puppy. They may also be horrible representations of the breed that you are buying. Often times the parentage of pet store puppies is also questionable due to poor record keeping. In other words, your puppy may not even be a purebred, even though it has AKC papers. Responsible breeders do register their puppies with the AKC, but that is only the beginning.

3. The Pet Shop Guarantee

Many pet stores provide a form of guarantee for people buying puppies from them, but their guarantees may be as bad as none at all. A not-so-uncommon scenario goes something like this: after your family has become attached to your adorable new puppy you find out it is sick. It will cost you several hundred dollars to treat, so you take the puppy back to the store to receive your guarantee. What they will most likely offer to do is trade you puppies- take away your beloved pet and replace it with a new puppy, not necessarily a healthier one, either. They will most likely euthanize the puppy you brought back, because this is cheaper for the store. The other tactic that some stores use is to tell you your puppy will grow out of the problem- until their guarantee has expired. Do you want to take this risk?

4. What Will That Puppy Look Like When it is Full Grown?

You may have seen specimens of the breed that you are buying, but this does not guarantee that this puppy will fit the breed standard. You do not know if the parents fit the standard either and cannot see the faults that each parent has. There is no perfect dog, but a good breeder will be willing to discuss the faults and strengths that each of their dogs possesses. You should also be able to see at least the mother of the puppy that you are buying if bought from a responsible breeder. Even then you can not tell exactly what the puppy will look like, but you will have a much better idea of what to expect. Why spend so much money without even knowing what the puppy's parents look like?

5. What do you Know About the Breed?

Employees of pet stores generally know very little about the dogs that are in the store. They can probably tell you a little bit about the breed and then point you to a rack of generic dog books. What do you do after you bring the puppy home, only to find that this breed is not the right one for you and your family? Good breeders are full of information about the breed of puppy that you are considering. They should be able to tell you the general temperament aspects of the breed and help you predict whether this breed of dog will fit into your lifestyle. They will also be able to warn you about specific health problems that the breed is prone to and will be able to tell you what aspects the breed excels in. There is no breed of dog perfect for every person and a good breeder is concerned that their puppy goes to a home that they will fit into.

6. Housebreaking and Training Problems

This puppy that you are buying from a pet store has most likely spent much of its life in a cage. Many pet store puppies have never seen carpet and may never have even seen grass or dirt. Due to the conditions that puppies are kept in at pet stores, they have been forced to eliminate in the same area that they sleep and eat. This goes against the dog's natural instinct, but your puppy has had no choice. This habit may make housebreaking your puppy much more difficult. A good breeder keeps the puppy area very clean and makes sure the puppy has a separate elimination area. By the time the puppies are ready to go to their new homes they will be well on the way to being house trained. Good breeders will often also start teaching their puppies how to walk on a leash and to lie quietly for grooming. A pet store puppy has most likely never walked on a leash or been brushed before. It can be much more difficult to teach a pet store puppy these daily exercises than a puppy that has been brought up properly. Responsible breeders also base their breeding decisions in part on their dogs' temperament and personality, not only on looks or the fact that they are purebred. Most pet store puppies' parents have not been selected for any reason other than they can produce puppies that sell as cute "purebreds" registered by the AKC.

7. How About Socialization?

Your pet store puppy may well have never been in a house before. If this is the case then everything will be new and scary for them. The doorbell, vacuum cleaner, and children playing are all new sensations that can be terrifying to an unsocialized puppy. Good breeders will expose their puppies to many situations so that the puppies are used to them by the time that they go to their new homes. Most responsible breeders have evaluated the temperament of each of their puppies before they are placed in a new home. A good breeder will know, due to hours of observation, which puppies are dominant and which are shy, which are energetic and which are easy going. Then the breeder will be able to match the puppy to the new owner and make sure that energetic pups go to active families and that shy puppies go to a home that can help them overcome their insecurity. This careful evaluation enables a breeder to choose which puppy will fit your household and much of the guesswork is taken out of the selection process. Good breeders can help you make an educated decision about all aspects of your puppy's feeding, training and overall maintenance and care based on your family situation. If you are going to spend so much money on a dog that you plan to keep for its lifetime, why not find one that will fit into your lifestyle well?

8. What is a Pedigree Worth?

Some pet shops make a big deal out of their puppies' pedigrees. This is interesting, as the pedigree is really just a piece of paper with names on it. Unless you know the dogs behind those names the pedigree is really quite useless to the new owner. Can the pet store tell you what your puppies grand- parents died of, or how long they lived? Do any of the dogs in your pup's pedigree carry genetic diseases? Most pet store employees do not know any more about your puppy's background than you do. A reputable breeder can tell you all of this information about your pup's family tree and more. When you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder you are getting more than a piece of paper, you are getting the important information associated with the names too. Almost all responsible breeders will achieve titles on their dogs by showing them under unbiased judges. They will achieve championships on their dogs, which tells that the dog is a good representation of the breed. Some breeders also obtain obedience, or other titles that relate to the job that their breed of dog was originally bred to perform. Many also achieve canine good citizen titles on their breeding dogs. These titles will be shown on the dog's pedigree before and after the parents' names. Ask the breeder to explain what the letters mean.

9. Do you Want to Support Puppy Mills?

Almost all puppies that are in pet stores come from puppy mills. These operations are exactly what the name implies. Most mass produce puppies with money as the prime motive. Their breeding dogs are often kept in very poor conditions and are sometimes malnourished. The dogs are almost never tested for genetic diseases and may not receive vaccinations. Puppy mills often obtain their breeding dogs from people in a hurry to get rid of their dogs for some reason, often through "free dog" ads in newspapers or public auctions. Occasionally they are stolen from their owners. Females are generally bred every heat cycle until they are worn out and then they are often sentenced to death. The horror of puppy mills is encouraged every time a puppy is bought from a puppy store.

10. After the Puppy Goes Home...

Once you take the puppy home from the pet store they do not generally care what happens to the puppy. Most pet shops do not care if the dog is left to run loose and kill livestock, or if it dies of liver disease at one year old. If you have a training problem they will often be unable or unwilling to give you training advice. Most do not care if you take your dog home and breed it continually. Responsible breeders are more than people who sell puppies, they will also be good friends to you and your puppy. They care what happens to their puppies' once they are sold. Almost all good breeders sell on spay/neuter contracts or limited registration. This practice enables breeders to keep dogs that are not breeding quality out of the breeding population and also monitor what happens to their puppies in their new homes. Some breeders sell show quality puppies on co-ownership, so that they retain a portion of the dog's ownership, for better control of what happens to their dog later in it's life. If you have a health or training problem a good breeder will generally be able to offer you advice and help you through the ordeal. Most reputable breeder care about each of their puppies' futures and will be concerned about their welfare. They care not only about their own dogs, but also the impact their dogs will make on the breed as a whole.

So please next time you are looking for a new puppy to buy, do your research. One of the best steps toward becoming an educated puppy buyer and dog owner is to attending American Kennel Club sanctioned shows and carefully researching each breed that you are interested in. Once you decide what breed of dog you would like to add to your household, talk to many breeders. Good breeders can inform you about genetic diseases common in the breed you want and are generally happy to share their knowledge. When you are ready to buy a puppy from a particular planned litter ask the breeder for proof of genetic tests specific to the breed and request to see one or both of the parents of your new puppy.

A common excuse for buying a puppy from a pet store is that you do not plan to show your puppy, you just want a companion. Out of each litter that a reputable breeder produces there is a good chance that at least a portion of the puppies in each litter will not be show quality, but would make outstanding pets. Not every puppy that a breeder produces is destined for stardom in the show ring, but might well be the next shining star in your household. Please pass up the next puppy you see in the pet store and contact breed organizations. They will be able to match you with a responsible breeder that will help you add a well adjusted and healthy new canine member to your family.

Other positive alternatives are adopting a dog from your local humane society or adopting a rescue dog from various rescue organizations located throughout the United States. Every breed of dog registered by the AKC has at least one rescue organization that will take in dogs of that breed and places them in new loving homes. There are endless numbers of dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages and personalities in need of a new loving home. When you obtain a dog from one of these organizations you are more than saving that dogs life. You are also sparing a female dog in some puppy mill from being condemned to produce yet another litter for pet shop sales. So please be rational and thoughtful when you go to get your next dog and help prevent irresponsible pet ownership.

A pet store is generally the worst place to buy a puppy. As long as there is a market for pet store puppies, other dogs will be condemned to death by mass breeding only so that a few people can make some money, often with no thought of the welfare of their "product." This is not to say that a good pet has never come out of a pet store, as many have. For each that has, though, many others have not. Remember, when you buy a puppy, you are adding another member to your family, not just another piece of furniture that can be disposed of at the smallest whim. You would not have a child without careful research and planning for the child's future ten or fifteen years down the road. Your new dog should be no different. Adding a dog to the family is a long term commitment and responsibility that should be taken seriously and only acted upon after careful consideration and research.

NOTE: The distribution of this article is encouraged. (less...)

How About Adopting a Senior Boxer?

Sometimes, an older dog is a great choice. Being older, they tend to be calmer, But still have that boxer energy. blah blah blah....

Top 10 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Boxer

By Michelle Mehan

I have always been an animal lover and believed highly in rescuing an animal rather than buying one from a store or from a breeder. And I have also highly believed in the spaying/neutering of animals for their safety, health and well being. I've also known about the problem which exists in finding displaced senior dogs, warm/loving and safe/secure forever homes. However, I was never an active advocate of this. At least, not until a few weeks ago- that is when Mikey came into my life. (more...)

My husband and I had decided to become a foster home for Boxers in need. With such a high need for foster homes, we had our first foster within a week. We picked Mikey up while on a road trip from Long Island. The rescue was told he was 6 years old, but upon meeting him we knew he was a few years older than that, which was confirmed by our vet. So, I was disappointed at first. I was originally thinking our home would be a revolving door for fosters with a foster coming and going every few months at most. With Mikey, I wasn't sure that would happen. After all, not many people want to open their heart and home to a senior dog. I began to think that he might be with us for a long time. That disappointment lasted for maybe a week - at the most - more like, just a few days. Having a senior dog around is a wonderful experience!! Especially, a rescued senior dog!!! The just know how special it is for them to be given a 2nd chance and they pay you back with love to the millionths!

Mikey has only been with us for about a month now and let me tell you he is the greatest! We are truly, truly blessed to have had the chance to welcome him into our home and hearts. Before becoming fosters, we were thinking of adopting a dog through the rescue. We already had a 3-year-old Boxer and were ready to welcome a second Boxer into our family. And to be honest with you, I didn't pay too much attention to the seniors on the website. I cannot stress to you strongly enough, how much Mikey has COMPLETELY changed our minds about that. We are committed right now to being a foster home because there are so many dogs who need a safe and loving home, to buy them some time, until their forever family finds them. But when the time comes for us to adopt a dog in need - it will be a senior dog - no doubts about it! There are so many wonderful reasons why and I've listed just a few....

  1. Senior dogs usually come housebroken!
  2. Senior dogs know the difference between a chew toy and a new shoe.
  3. Senior dogs appreciate the fine art of napping.
  4. Hyperactivity does not apply to Senior Dogs.
  5. Senior dogs already know all the "stuff" you didn't have to teach them.
  6. Senior dogs are VERY easy-going and socialized.
  7. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
  8. They know the best place in the world is right next to the person who loves them.
  9. There aren't any guarantees about how long you'll have any dog - even a puppy.
  10. Love & Wisdom. Senior dogs understand all and love all!

They've been there, done that and know what's important in life.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!

So please, I beg you, just take a few moments to look over, really look over, the seniors on our site. I cannot put in words how wonderful the feeling is, that you will have in your heart, when you open your home to a senior dog. There are only so many tomorrow's left for us all, so become a forever family to a senior dog TODAY! (less...)

Adopting a "Senior" Boxer

By Gary Berg

Back in early 2000, we had decided that we wanted to adopt a boxer. We had always loved the breed, and it was time to add one to our family. We also decided that “rescue” was the way to go, as it was comforting to know that we could adopt a dog that had been “fostered” in someone’s home, been temperament tested with other dogs and children, as well as being up to date and spay/neutered. This, in addition to saving a dog that did not have much of a future, and providing a permanent, forever loving home for that dog gave us a good, warm feeling. So, with all that decided, we started looking for our “new” family member. (more...)

We found a reputable rescue, and we started looking for our dog. My initial thoughts were that the ideal dog would be approximately 2 yrs old, past the puppy stage, but still active enough to be “fun”. We looked for weeks after we were approved by rescue, waiting for “that dog”. Shotzie appeared on the rescue’s site in October 2000. She had that “look” that I wanted, and I eagerly started following her progress. I have to admit my initial disappointment when I looked and saw she was 6 years old. I thought to myself “boy, she is perfect, everything I wanted, except for her age. I followed the site everyday, looking at the new dogs that were coming in, trying to find “my dog”, but I kept going back to Shotzie’s page, and read her progress. She had several lumps, which needed to accessed, so she was going to be around for a while longer until the biopsy reports came back. I fell more and more in love with her each day…..but…I kept thinking…..”she’s too old”. More days passed and I followed the site. Still, no dog was “grabbing me”. Just Shotzie, she was moving deeper and deeper into my heart. We talked about her more and more in my house. Her biopsy came back negative, and Shotzie was ready for adoption. We decided to state our interest in her to the rescue, and were told to call the foster home. I reluctantly called; somewhat afraid that I would fall more in love with her, not really sure I wanted her because she was “old”. Well, I was on the phone for 1 hour talking about her, and falling more in love with her. Boy, was I torn. Finally my wife came to me while I was talking and said “take her already!!!, tell them you want her!!!! Well, I hesitated for what seemed to be an eternity, and the words finally came out of my mouth…”WE WILL TAKE HER!!!”

For the next few days, I worried if I had made the right decision. I had read a lot about boxers, and saw that their life expectancy can be shorter then some other dog breeds. What if I only have her for a couple of years, I wondered? Our cocker spaniel only had a few months left with us with cancer, could we put ourselves thru this again? Boy, I was torn. Well, we followed thru with our adoption, and brought Shotzie home. Things did not start out so great. She bit our cocker spaniel, who did nothing wrong but just lay around and get up for a drink now and again. She and my younger Shar pei got into a pretty nasty fight, and this was all in the 1st week. We were committed to making this work, and we worked on the issues. With lots of love and patience (and a few strong corrections) this story has a very happy ending. Shotzie has made this home a very complete place. She has brought so much love and happiness here. She is soooo appreciative of what she has. Her tail is always going a mile a minute, and she gives the most completely loving kisses to anyone who will let her. Her face is the most expressive thing I have ever seen. She has found her “forever” home. With proper intro’s, she has allowed us to become a foster home, and after a few days, she interacts beautifully with our foster dogs.

Shotzie fits in great with us. I could not love a dog any more then her. This just proves to “go with your instincts”. It was love at 1st sight, and I almost let it slip away for something as silly as age. In fact, Shotzie has more energy then most of the dogs less then half her age. We have fostered dogs as young as 1 year, and she keeps up with them easily. I think it is that she is a “boxer”, and as we know, there is no other breed like it. At 8, she acts like a puppy. She runs around the house, grabs toys and gets the others to follow. She chases the other dogs and engages in very spirited boxer play. She is just a total and complete love!

I sometimes think what would have happened if I had let her slip away, and honestly, I can’t imagine. This girl has brought me so much joy and love, I can’t image what life would be without her. She has now been with us for over 2 years now (she is over 8 and doing great), and I can honestly say, if god forbid I lost her today, I would NEVER regret the decision to adopt her. It is, without a doubt, the best decision I ever made, and I am grateful I was TOLD to do it. I would not EVER trade in these last 2 years, and god willing, I will have many, many more years of love from this girl. As we know, there are no guarantees, and unfortunately, people adopt or buy young dogs and lose them way to young for one reason or another. So, give that “senior” dog a chance….trust me from 1st hand experience, you will be rewarded with the best gift you could ever ask for in life. Don’t make a mistake like I almost did, open you heart to an older dog, they are definitely the BEST!!! (less...)

The Mrs. Cocoa Story

By Debby and David Gramza

In January of 2001 we agreed to foster Cocoa (later named Mrs. Cocoa) at age 11, Mrs. Cocoa couldn't do a kidney bean dance anymore, but when she tried she did what we called "The two Step'. Her feet would lift off the floor one by one. She would lift our hearts with this dance, we would laugh hard every time she did it. (more...)

In March of 2001 we adopted her. At age 11, we just couldn't see her going to a third home. Mrs. Cocoa gave our family much much joy. Although she couldn't always get up, she still greeted us no matter what. She always had a smile for us. She was wonderful with my other dogs. She was huggable by our young daughter, she was just one big mush face.

Unfortunately, in August of the same year, Mrs. Cocoa was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her aggression towards outsiders worsened, she could hardly walk anymore. Our decision to guide her to Rainbow Bridge was inevitable.

Anyone who fosters/adopts an elderly dog .........my hat's off to you because you couldn't get much more joy out of life. They are the sweetest, most gentle babies I have ever encountered.

My husband and I would do this again - we would foster an older dog and probably end up adopting him/her too.

How could anyone leave the elderly behind, after all, they need TLC just like we do. (less...)

BAR Adoption Information

What does BAR look for in an adoptiong family?

We will only place our dogs in loving homes that will provide a safe and secure environment and where all other pets in the home have been spayed or neutered.

How do I apply for a dog?

Complete the online application or request a hard copy. This begins the process, which also includes reference checks, a phone interview, and a home visit.

Why do you need to visit my home?

By meeting your family and other pets, we will be able to make the best match with a foster dog that "fits' with your family and lifestyle. Our experienced volunteers will provide insight to the "rescue dog" and help your new dog make a positive transition into your home.

Which Dogs Are Available?

Available dogs are displayed on our web site. But we suggest that you apply and be approved before getting your heart set on one particular dog, as available ones change frequently

How will you support me after I adopt a dog?
  • Online chat groups
  • Responses to your post-adoption updates on your new dog
  • A "check in" with the dog's foster family
  • website with ongoing information and links to behavior, health, products, and services for dogs.
What If It Doesn't Work?

BAR understands that unforeseen issues may emerge in new situations: issues with other pets or a behavioral issue that is too difficult for you to resolve. In these cases, BAR will work with you to correct the situation, including training, ongoing advice and support, and, if necessary, returning the dog.

What Can I Expect From an Adopted Boxer?

A dog that will love you unconditionally and live every day to show you that you are a special, cherished person.


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