Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dog rescue is good for the soul

Edmonton volunteer Allyson with Chewie, and Regina's Sheri with Leia.
Both dogs now live with their new family and two other boxers in BC.

A lot of people are attracted to specific breeds because of certain looks, temperament, or even familiarity. For example, someone’s childhood dog was a beagle, so they’re forever in love with beagles.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that you don’t need to go through a breeder to get a purebred dog. They’re constantly available through shelters and rescue groups. They’re perfectly good pets who are given up for a lot of reasons – some times it’s because their people didn’t realize the commitment it takes to have a dog, some times it’s because life has thrown the family a curve ball in the way of divorce, illness, or job loss.

The Bourries family has been lovingly fostering and adopting boxers for eight years. I asked them to share their inspiring story.

Lovely Libby was Sheri’s first rescue boxer.

1. What attracts you to the breed?

Boxers are the clowns of the dog world, they have great personalities and love to play. They are very social animals and are great with kids. Boxers are loyal family dogs and are very good protectors of home and family. They are athletic and strong, making them great running partners or agility dogs. We also like their short coats and easy care.

Sheri's family fostered the mange puppies Truman (next photo)
and Maggie last summer. Truman is living happily ever after in Winnipeg.
Maggie now lives in Regina.

2. Which rescue group are you involved with?

We volunteer for Without Borders Boxer Rescue, which is located in British Columbia. WBBR affiliates with Boxer Rescue LA, and we place dogs in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

3. When did you get involved?

We have been involved with boxer rescue since 2002. We had purchased a puppy from a breeder and fell in love with the boxer breed. When we were looking for a second dog we discovered rescue and were amazed at the sheer number of beautiful boxers who were available for adoption. We were surprised at the number of purebred boxers who were looking for homes through no fault of their own. This problem has only gotten worse with the downturn of the economy, especially in California. We adopted our first boxer in September 2002 and just adopted our second in September 2010.

Rigby and Truman share a snugly moment.

4. Why do you take adult and senior dogs instead of puppies?

We prefer older dogs as we do not have the time or energy for puppies. Training and socializing a puppy and young dog takes a lot of time and effort. With an older dog you know what size they are going to be, their temperament is much easier to determine, and they have gone through the puppy stage of chewing and being into everything!

We have always adopted senior dogs as most people prefer young adults or puppies, and the seniors can spend years waiting for home. Senior dogs have many years of life in them, and they are more settled than younger dogs. Senior dogs are so grateful for a home, and they are much more adaptable to your routine rather than you adapting to the dog's needs.

The Bourries just adopted Kady, their new lady.

5. What is most rewarding for you about being involved with a rescue group?

This is a tough question as there are so many rewarding aspects to rescue. I love placing a dog with a family and seeing how happy the dog and the family are. Education is another big part of the rescue group. Some people are not sure what they are looking for and after spending time with them we can help them decide. If a boxer is not the right dog for a family I will always refer them to another rescue - there are breed-specific rescues for every breed of dog.

We stay in touch with our adopters for as long as they have our dogs, the follow up visits and emails are always wonderful, and it is great to experience the ripple effect of rescue when people refer their friends to us. The biggest reward is to see a dog who was previously homeless, maybe neglected or abused now living with a loving family and enjoying life.

We are huge advocates of rescue, there are far too many people who will buy a puppy on impulse without spending the time to research the breed or even if their lifestyle is conducive to a dog. I encourage anyone who is considering getting a dog to get in touch with a rescue group to see if rescue is for them.

If you’re planning to bring a new dog into your home, instead of going to a breeder, consider getting a gently loved older dog. Check out your local shelter,, or a local or breed-specific rescue group. If you’re interested in boxers, visit the the Without Borders Boxer Rescue Web site or send Sheri an e-mail ( She loves living with and chatting about boxers.


  1. very good post! I agree its refreshing to do a dog rescue

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