Membership Has It's Rewards! Are You The Right One?

During my time in rescue, I often found myself having conversations about "the right fit." Several times I had volunteers mention to me that they thought a particular boxer was the perfect fit for a family. While I have only been owned by three boxers in my lifetime, I have learned a lot about boxer parenting. I am seriously convinced that the question is not if the boxer is right for the home, but is the human right for the boxer or even a boxer in general.

I dedicate this blog post to all of the boxers that have found themselves in rescues and shelters because the humans were simply not right for them. And also to the "right fits" that I feel blessed to have been a part of.

It was almost six years ago that I made the choice to become a boxer parent. Not unlike an expectant mother anticipating the arrival of a new two-legged baby, I did a lot of reading and a lot of research and a crapload of planning. Truly, though, after six years as the human of a boxer, time and experience are really the only things that have taught me what being a boxer family is really about.

Of all of the choices I have made in my life, and all of the things that I have accomplished, being a boxer parent is definitely my greatest source of pride. I have absolutely no regrets about my life with my boxers.

A boxer is not just a dog. A boxer will inevitably wiggle its way into your heart, and every single aspect of your life. These goofy, wiggling buddies will want to be a part of everything that you do. These are little humans in the most adorable little bodies. When you make the decision to parent a boxer, you are committing to a life-long assistant. Dishes, laundry, cooking, gardening, bed-making, painting, even taking a bath (and as I have recently discovered with Jazzy, showering). Are you ready to never pee alone again? Can you handle this level of companionship? These guys are not for the admitted loner, but rather the human who is ready to share every part of their life with a four-legged, nosey, and oftentimes persistent clown.

Boxers have a concept of personal space that is very original. It is the "your space is my space" concept. This means the bed, the sofa, and pretty much every square foot of your home. If you are not okay with mud, slobber, and water all over the floor and every other place that drool can fly to, you are probably not right for a boxer. Boxer drool is a very serious topic and one that I could do a stand-alone and very long blog on. This is a unique substance that has powers beyond your wildest imagination. Not only is it comprised of something that closely resembles gorilla glue, but it is also capable of reaching places that you cannot possibly fathom. If you are OCD about clean windows, furniture, and walls, a boxer is probably a bad match.

Are you commitment-phobic? Are you unwilling to submit yourself to what can only be described as passionate, all-encompassing love? Boxers need a human that is open and willing to being loved in this way. No boxer should ever be allowed to fall in love with a human that is not prepared to love him back for his entire life. That is just not fair.

Are you a stingy lover? (Get your head out of the gutter, I am still talking about the dogs.) These guys crave attention and love. It is not uncommon to find soulful eyes staring at you  quite dauntingly because you have not loved on them in the last five minutes. My boxers remind me several times an hour that they love me very much, and in turn, they also like to be reminded that I love them right back.

One of the greatest gifts that my boxers have given to me is what can only be described as unconditional love at the highest possible level. This is a love that goes in both directions.

The love that these guys give to their humans is enduring, wonderful, and life-long. It is a love that lasts long after their bodies, but never their spirits have left this earth. We never really get over the departure of our boxers from this earth. When we give ourselves to our boxers, we are making a commitment to understanding that a piece of hearts will at some point probably go with them from this earth and yet another part will always belong to them.

Boxers really are clowns for life. While their birth certificates may say that they are "older", they are really just puppies at heart and in spirit. Are you okay with the fact that you are going to have a puppy in your home for the next 13 years, or longer if you are so blessed? They never stop entertaining, and they never stop being wildly silly.

If you are not okay with the fact that this gorgeous breed will never really outgrow "puppyhood" you may want to consider another breed. If you are not crazy about smiling, laughing and being reduced to tears at least once a day, the goofy, comical boxer is not going to be a good match.

I have been extremely lucky with little Jazzy! She might just be the world's best boxer puppy, or maybe it is the fact that she has an awesome big brother. Everyone who has met Jazzy has looked at me and said, "She's not a typical boxer puppy". Yes, I will be forever spoiled by this little darling, but in all honestly, she is still a puppy, and she is still busy and requires a lot of training, time, energy, and attention. She never really stops which is okay, because I never really do either.

If you are expecting a well-behaved boxer, be prepared for ongoing mental stimulation, not just through the puppy years, but throughout their entire life. Boxers are the world's most cuddly, loving little creatures that you will ever come across, and they are more than happy to keep you company when you want to watch a good movie.... but only after you have played tugged o' war for 55 minutes and walked around the block 17 times, shared cheese from the fridge and then walked around the block another 17 times. These are not dogs that are okay with their humans leaving the house for 10 hours at a time. Frankly, if Jazzy and Duke had their way, I would never leave the house. Crap, it takes me all of one minute to walk to the mailbox and back and by their reactions when I walk in the door, you would think I had just returned from a six-month stint in China. God, it is seriously amazing to be loved this way.

Boxers, like children can often have sensitivities and allergies to food and things in the environment around them. Be prepared for a huge financial investment in feeding your boxers things that are not only good for them, but that agree with them. Sometimes, the solutions are not always clear and the problems not so obvious. Lucy saw multiple specialists and endured many changes in routine in an attempt to rid of her allergies to food and the environment. We never really did find a solution that was a solid fix.

Jazzy and Duke enjoy a raw diet that is a combination of chicken with bones, beef, vegetables, proteins, omega-3's, and yes, cheese.

If you have never experienced life with a boxer, you might be reading all of this and thinking "Good Lord, now I know this woman is crazy!" Life with two boxers is never dull. I am never alone. I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to my boxers as if my heart were walking around outside of my chest all of the time. I adapt my life and my activities around my boxers needs to keep them happy because they do the same for me. We have a wonderful give-and-take relationship, but only because that is the way I want it and that is what they require.

Yes, I spend insane amounts of time cleaning and mopping floors, have nearly killed myself more than once in incidents that most certainly involved drool, and I am forever fighting for blankets and space in my king size bed. I find laundry in my living room, toys in weird places, and my car windows are always covered in boxer art work. But none of these things matter when I think about how full my heart is with love for Duke and Jazzy and even Lucy.

I am proud to be a card carrying, boxer mom.



1 comment

  1. You have said it perfectly. This should be required reading for all potential boxer parents.

    ReplyDelete

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