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Spreading Boxer Luv

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Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 12:00 am

The inner workings of Boxer Luv Rescue may seem as complicated as a large corporation with various divisions, including an intake team, medical team, adoption team, volunteer team and public relations team, but in actuality the rescue’s mission is a simple one that fulfills the vital need in the Valley of finding safe and happy homes for Boxers down on their luck.

Boxer Luv Rescue has taken in 385 dogs this year, and Jill Bittner, Ahwatukee Foothills resident and coordinator of the public relations team for Boxer Luv Rescue, expects the number to reach 450 by the end of the year.

“It’s overwhelming to take in so many dogs that have been abandoned or neglected by their former owners, but thankfully we have an amazing volunteer network that is able to handle these types of numbers,” Bittner said. “We adopt out anywhere from five to 10 per week and on average have about 110 Boxers in our immediate care at any one time.”

Boxer Luv Rescue has taken in more dogs this year than any other since its inception in 1998.

“You hear about all of the foreclosures and people losing their homes, which obviously affects a large number of dogs,” Bittner said. “This is a record year for us.”

Unless they are staying with one of Boxer Luv’s partnership veterinarians to receive medical attention, the homeless dogs stay in foster homes until a permanent home can be found. Each Boxer is evaluated to make sure it is healthy before it goes to a foster home.

“The foster families help us learn more about the dogs and their personalities, which helps us make good adoption matches,” Bittner said. “We can find out if they get along with other dogs or cats, how they are around children and how they do on leashes.”

If interested in adopting a Boxer, people go through a screening process by Boxer Luv Rescue’s adoption team.

“If you make it past the initial application, a volunteer comes out to look at your house and make sure you meet certain conditions, like having a fence that is tall enough,” Bittner said.

According to Bittner, adopting a dog instead of buying a dog from a breeder is incredibly rewarding and helps solve the Valley’s pet overpopulation program.

“There are huge numbers of dogs being euthanized at Valley shelters because they can’t be adopted out,” she said. “For some people getting a dog that is already trained to go to the bathroom outside and use a doggy door is a huge benefit.”

Bittner encourages those who are interested in getting small puppies to experience the puppy stage to check with local rescue organizations.

“In the spring we had three litters of puppies when a police officer found a Boxer under a tree that was pregnant,” she said. “We had a total of 24 to 30 puppies in the spring, you just have to ask shelters what they have.”

Boxers in particular seem to keep the puppy personality for longer than the normal puppy stage.

“Boxers are puppies their whole lives,” Bittner said. “They are gregarious and have high energy, and their personalities are a riot.”

Looking to the future, Boxer Luv Rescue plans to create and develop an education component to increase knowledge about proper dog care to avoid over population. Bittner plans on going to local elementary schools to speak to children about proper care and adoption.

“We need to help educate children when they are young so that we can teach them the value of rescuing an animal and the value of spaying and neutering,” Bittner said. “We all have to work together to bring down over population.”

To become involved or find out more about Boxer Luv Rescue, visit www.arizonaboxerrescue.org or call (602) 530-5671.

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