Boxers have held Americans’ hearts as one of the most popular dog breeds for decades. Their brindle or faun colored coats aesthetically blend with their energetic and active personalities. Snub-nosed with wrinkled markings that lend an inquisitive look, these beautiful creatures have made the transition of German working dogs to the living rooms of thousands of families. Though their good looks and well-mannered behavior has made them a popular dog, they are not for everyone.
“Boxers are not like Labs,” said Northwest Boxer Rescue (NWBR) Vice President Chris Sperry. Sperry, who herself has had over ten Boxers throughout her life. “They believe that they’re humans. They don’t understand personal space,” said Sperry, laughing a little. NWBR is a non-profit organization that has made a commitment to help every abandoned or homeless boxer find the homes and medical care they need. NWBR works with a team of over 300 volunteers and veterinarians in collaboration with city and county groups. NWBR also strives to educate the public and help end animal overpopulation and needless suffering.
“Kim Hamilton will move the entire world to make something happen for a boxer in need,” said Sperry. Hamilton, who lives in Woodinville, is the organization’s CEO and President. While the non-profit’s address reads Woodinville, their network spans five states and even reaches into British Columbia, Canada. As a foster based rescue, the non-profit does not have a central kennel or facility that houses the dogs but relies on the interconnectivity of the organization through its volunteers to find foster homes before the dogs are adopted. The foster homes span the same distance the rescue serves; as far south as California to northern Montana. Idaho, and Washington.
Sperry had initially contacted NWBR after unfortunately losing one of her elderly boxers years ago. She was so impressed by NWBR’s structure, their very careful adoption and fostering processes, and how many people were involved she knew she wanted to help however she could. After years of consistent involvement, she now is the organization’s Vice President. “We’re set up very much like a large business in the sense that we have multiple departments,” explained Sperry. She continued, “we have people that work in intake, marketing, adoption, and events. It’s really a fantastic community.” The organization is massive but everyone that is a part of NWBR is for the betterment and love of the dogs and is a volunteer. No one receives a paycheck. They do the hard work to give these dogs the homes they deserve. “Everyone just works so well together,” said Sperry.
Sperry explained that the sheer massive population of boxers coupled with only a general understanding of the breed has led to hundreds of dogs being put up for adoption. “They make really cute puppies, but they grow up,” said Sperry. She continued, “It really is a shame, but we receive huge rushes of dogs three months after Christmas and then again three months before Summer break” said Sperry. These dogs are high-maintenance and are prone to diseases such as cancer as they age. Right now, NWBR has around 60 boxers for which they are finding new homes. While they occasionally find themselves with puppies, the organization tends to have more older and mid-life dogs. Because of the breeds need for physical activity and constant need for human connection, they typically shutdown in typical shelter facilities.
The volunteer opportunities that the NWBR has right now range from transport coordinator: someone that helps coordinate relocations of the dogs, to social media savvy individuals that can help spread awareness and inspiration to the entire PNW. Hooch, Sperry’s boxer, is a fan favorite on social media platforms like Instagram. “People tend to think that we receive government subsidies, but the reality is that we are completely funded by donors’ generosity,” said Sperry. People don’t only donate their time and money but supplies through Amazon Wishlist.
With many of the current boxers located right in Woodinville, the opportunity for adoption is ripe. “There are days that are absolutely fabulous. I get mail and messages from so many happy people that have adopted the dogs and it just fills me with joy. To see those smiling faces in photos is the best. This is why we do what we do,” said Sperry.
To learn more about Northwest Boxer Rescue please visit www.nwboxerrescue.org