Joey’s Legacy Boxer Rescue, Rescuing and rehoming boxer dogs Across the UK
Joey was the most stunning boy in the world! I got him as a pup in Nov 2002, and heartbreakingly lost him Oct 2012. I turned to the internet and joined online dog forums, which resulted in me setting up my own boxer forum and meeting likeminded boxer people. The forum became quite large and extended into rescue too, we were often asked to help advertise rescue boxers needing homes and of course I ended up adopting old and ill boxers myself, all whilst helping out boxer rescuers by providing them with free websites and fostering.
It became apparent that there was not a lot of help for boxers up in Liverpool so when I received a call from Liverpool RSPCA about a boxer who was days away from death, we officially took in our first boxer and became Boxer Rescue with a small amount of savings invested in a website, vet bills and kennelling.
Losing Joey I felt like my whole world fell apart and I was about to quit rescue forever as I couldn’t even look at another boxer. But in time, I decided to carry on in his name which also made me feel like he was still with me, seeing his face and saying his name daily in the charity means he will never be forgotten and remains with me every day.
There are seven volunteers on our main committee, plus our amazing helpers who are on hand when needed for home checks and transport.
We’ve been operating for 9 years on limited resources, predominantly for boxers but we’re suckers for a flat faced dog, so we end up with all kinds of other breeds. We currently relying on boarding kennels that we have to pay for and foster carers – not ideal but the best we can do without our own premises.
We take in a lot of dogs with behavioural and/or medical issues. We work closely with reputable behaviourists, and where needed we also have a dog ‘rehab’ in Dorset who takes our more difficult dogs and return them once they have had the behavioural training they need.
When the dogs are in kennels, we can only see them between 9-5pm which makes it difficult to introduce new adoptive owners and to work with difficult dogs who need more specialist daily care.
We want the money we spend on private boarding kennels to be greatly reduced and invested into our dogs, meaning we can be more hands on with the dogs on a daily basis, meaning more successful adoptions, less dogs being returned to rescue and all dogs get our full attention regardless of day or time.
We train people too!
Our own premises will provide opportunities to people too. Getting into the animal care industry is extremely difficult, so we hope to be able to offer as many people as possible the chance to work with dogs too. We are always inundated with people asking to volunteer, from cleaning kennels to feeding and walking our dogs, but sadly we have to decline until we have our own premises.
It is our 10-year anniversary in September 2019 and we are desperate to get our own place, our goal is £250,000, something we are set on achieving. This will massively increase the number of dogs we can take in, sadly the problem is funding. We must have premises secured before we can be eligible for grants to help towards building or renovations etc.
We have volunteer home checkers all over the country, enabling us to rehome dogs to pretty much anywhere in England, Scotland or Wales.
Our rescues can take place worldwide, including Spain, Romania and even China.
Boxers and bull breeds find it extremely difficult to find homes in these countries, many of them are left out as street dogs, or put in kill shelters. With the help of contacts in these countries we have been able to get many of these dogs safely boarded with an organisation where they go through the relevant health checks, passport etc, before entering the UK for re homing.
Meet the dogs
Boxers are a breed like no other, they are known as the clowns of the dog world, a toddler in a dog’s body! Once you have had the love and companionship of a boxer they will always be “your” breed. Although every boxer has their own personality, it’s those little boxer traits they all have that make them stand out; the kidney bean bum wiggle, the groan they give when they put their head on your lap, the unique ‘boxer bark’, the playful “boxing” that often ends up with you getting a paw to the face, and not forgetting the confused head tilt. But with every boxer, the love and loyalty they give is second to none.
“It can be bittersweet seeing them leave; feeling proud, anxious, sad and extremely happy all at the same time!”
We sadly get a lot of neglect cases, where vet care takes number 1 priority (our vets are amazing!) Every dog that comes to us in need of vet care will get everything they possibly need to get them fit and healthy again, this often means being referred to specialist vets which can be extremely expensive
We don’t rescue elegantly coiffed, classically beautiful, completely trained, perfectly behaved dogs. We get dogs that have been incompetently bred, inadequately socialised, ineffectively trained, and badly treated. They’ve been pushed from one lousy situation to another. Some have never had proper veterinary care, kind and consistent training or sufficient company. They’ve lived outside, in a crate or locked away. They’re scared, depressed and anxious. Some are angry. Some are sick. Some have given up.
We also take dogs from families who have sadly had to give up their pet through no fault of the dog’s, these dogs are in good health. Sadly, just as many of them will come to us needing some sort of medical treatment.
Example; a dog we took in last week had been left with untreated sarcoptic mange (unbearably sore and itchy skin), probably for the whole of his life. After just over a week with us he has shown huge improvement.
How can you help?
The main area we need help from volunteers is fundraising. Many people offer to be hands-on with the dogs, that’s why they follow us, but our fundraising team needs strengthening in order to be proactive. We do prefer helpers to be local to us so we can meet regularly but people from other areas are welcome and can help with online sales, collection of donations or promoting us in their own area.
We welcome volunteers for home checks and transporting all over the country as we don’t currently have our own vehicle so we rely on volunteers using their own cars.
We want to be able to offer as many dogs as possible a second chance, regardless of age, medical condition or temperament; we believe they all deserve a chance. The number of homeless dogs is increasing each year, resulting in more and more dogs being put to sleep.
Donations from our kind supporters are our only form of funding – we’re an entirely voluntary organisation.
Can you help us by making a small contribution to our new kennels. Please help us reach our goal.
Nicky Heeley: Founder and Chair