Boxer Rescue Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ABRA?
American Boxer Rescue Association
Why is it interesting to join it?
ABRA is a network of boxer rescues working toward a common goal.
The concept of ABRA is to standardized policies and regulations so that we can 'monitor' our own. Any person can call themselves 'boxer-rescue', but unless they are affiliated with ABRA or another recognized effort (such as an All-Breed Alliance) that can be verified, there are greater risks in adopting from these individuals. They may be fine and ethical, but there is no recourse if they are not.
Is a rescue boxer as healthy as a puppy you buy?
Unless a puppy comes with a complete set of health guarantees, from a reputable breeder with a life-time money back guarantee, the answer is yes. Though rescue dogs have no known history, a puppy from 2 dogs without temperament testing, health testing and an uneducated breeder is just at much at risk. Bona-fide rescues will be honest about their knowledge of the dog; many are fostered in qualified foster-homes for several weeks to assess temperament and all qualified rescue groups provide UTD records on shots, spay/neuter and health problems that have been discovered.
Why do we have to pay to adopt a boxer? What does the fee cover?
Rescue is a labor of love. It is a hobby and a contribution of time and money to even be involved. Rescue does not receive income from a particular source; all funds are out-of-pocket from the rescuers; donations and fund raising efforts and the adoption fees from the individual boxers.
Some rescue groups will ask for an adoption fee that covers nothing more than the costs that boxer has incurred. It may include shelter fees but will always include complete veterinarian checkups, usually shots and sometimes spay/neuter cost.
Other rescue groups have a set cost to adopt a boxer. It will normally be an 'average' cost to that group to intake a boxer to that program. Though on some, it may be high, that overage is used to cover the next one that needs extensive surgery or vet care to be healthy again.
Just like purchasing power, rescue costs will vary greatly due to geographical location.
What is the average age of a rescue boxer?
Rescue boxers will average from 18months to 5 years of age. This is the age where the terrible 'teens' set in and many homes are not prepared. If the boxer has not had the benefit of beginning obedience and crate-training, they can and do go through the 'terrible two's'. This is the age also, where the boxer will complete their growth, and many times, uneducated 'puppy' buyers cannot believe the room that it takes to house, exercise, not to mention, feed a dog that is from 45 to 85 pounds (on an average).
Why are they abandoned? Doesn't it mean they created some troubles to their previous owners?
Boxers are taken into rescue for three basic reasons. First: is the 'stray' or 'abandoned' boxer found in shelters, and we never know why they are there. Many times we will find that the boxer is 'sick' (heartworm or mange) and we can only suppose that the owners dumped it because they did not want to bear the cost of treatment, even though both are preventable, if the owners had bothered to take care of their pet. The other reason is that many people do not monitor their pets and they 'escape'. Maybe the fence isn't tall enough; maybe they left the boxer unattended in a backyard and a gate left open; or maybe they choose to exercise with a chain/rope tied to the ground that the boxer managed to escape from...in any case, these reasons are none of them the fault of the boxer, but the fault of bad owners.
The second reason is owner-surrender, and normally this is because of a life-style change of the owner. Maybe they are relocating and can not take the boxer; possibly they have a job change and can no longer spend time with the boxer; and possibly they are getting married or having a baby and no longer feel that the boxer will fit in, even though a well socialized boxers love children of all ages and met very few humans they didn't like.
The third reason is breeder surrenders. These are retired show dogs, sometimes champions, or boxers that have been returned that the owners want a 'retirement home' for. These dogs are well-bred and just need a family of their own.
Can you show me a sample of an adoption contract?
How can I help boxer rescue?
Every boxer rescue can use some type of help from monetary donations, to old leads, leashes and bowls, to help on an adoption day. There is always a need for foster homes, transportation assistance and people willing to do homechecks. Money is always nice, but a few hours a month on the telephone or visiting a potential adopter can really help a rescue group tremendously.
Is it safe to be a foster home for a boxer? Am I covered by an insurance?
This is going to depend on the boxer group, but typically, not by rescue. You should check with your homeowner's policy to see what they will and won't cover.
I heard many rescue boxers have kennel cough. Is this true?
No, not every boxer has kennel cough and many are perfectly healthy and wonderfully socialized. Their need for a new home has nothing to do with their actions or health; it is a lack of the humans that owned them. Every rescue group should have a detailed file on each boxer they are placing. Ask to see it and see the shot records and vet reports.
Are females easier to train than males?
Every boxer is an individual and their willingness to learn is going to be based more on their early socialization and their individual temperaments than their gender.
Many rescue groups will require at least one obedience class for each new family and their boxer and don't be afraid to attend more. It is a great bonding experience and a way to get exercise and have fun.
What is the best? Tattoo or microchip?
There is no right or wrong answer here. Microchips are perfectly safe and have been improved on greatly since first introduced. The horror stories of chips moving does not happen that often anymore and they are very safe when inserted by a professional. The downside is that not all shelters or vets have scanners and not all chips will activate all scanners. The hope is that in the near future, all scanners will indicate the presence of a chip, even if it can't actually read the number.
Tattoo is also acceptable and as long as it is done on the torso and not on an appendage that can be removed. The biggest problem is that there are several groups that nationally register and maintain these tatoo's and the 'finder' must figure out which group holds the tatoo...
How can I know if I can be a good boxer owner? Is the boxer the right dog for me?
Read every book and web page on boxers, their characteristics and temperaments. Visit a dog show, obedience/training club or agility trial and talk with owners (after their dog has competed).
Join an email list or a forum and learn about the breed and be willing to accept that a boxer is not for everyone, but people that do have the lifestyle and temperament to welcome one into their homes very seldom will ever have another breed.