|The San Diego Boxer Rescue Project||
Welcome to the Boxer Rescue Project
In the mid-2000s, I went camping and met two "perfect" Boxers that belonged to some friends. They were friendly, beautiful, healthy, well-trained, and didn't even need leashes -- they ran around the campsite off-leash and went on hikes with us. At night they'd hang around the campfire and snuggle with us. I knew right then and there that THIS is the breed for me!
Shortly after that camping trip, I adopted my first Boxer "Murphy" from our local Boxer rescue in San Diego, California. He was not without issues -- overprotective, not friendly with alphas or other male dogs (could never be off-leash), he had eye ulcers (had to take him to an ophthalmologist), and he started to get separation anxiety when I'd leave for work. I went back six months later and adopted a female Boxer-mix (Maggie) to help him with his separation anxiety issues. She, too, had her own issues, (underweight, mange, afraid of certain people), but they were far fewer and less serious than what Murphy had, and she was a perfect match for him. They became fast friends and Boxer companions, and they were my "non-perfect" Boxers that changed my life for the better -- forever!
I then needed to be trained on how to train them and learn what their behaviors meant. I enrolled myself in training and took them pretty much anyplace where dogs were allowed. I became so fascinated with this breed; I knew I had to do more. Should I get involved in showing? breeding? competition? It was a calling, and I needed to surround myself with these dogs. One of the biggest questions that remained with me was this: "Why are so many Boxers in rescues?" Having been through my own experiences with my rescued Boxers, I quickly learned that not all Boxers are created equal, and they are not meant for every family or individual ... equally.
The "textbook" Boxer is friendly with adults and children, lives to be approx. 12 years old, big enough to scare away people you don't want around, smart but goofy, etc. Sounds perfect, just like the two Boxers I'd met while camping years back. But the real-life everyday Boxer, I found, is much more complex and emotional, many with health issues or behavioral issues -- nothing at all like the perfect dog I'd read about in all of my research. They are, after all, considered to be part of the "Bully" breed. Still "perfect" to me no matter what, they are often misunderstood. And it requires knowing these dogs' personalities and making sure they have homes that will fully understand (and embrace) their needs for their lifetime.
Regardless of health or behavior issues, the economic downfall in 2008 created situations where many, many Boxers ended up in rescues or shelters due to people losing their jobs and then their homes, having nowhere for their Boxers to go. Haunted by every "smooshie face" I met at the rescue and had to leave behind, I wanted to save them all. I would lose sleep, wondering what's going to happen to them. Somewhere along the line the reality set in that I can't save them all, nor am I in a position to become my own rescue -- I already have a full-time career -- but I can certainly do something to help in keeping as many as possible in the care of a rescue or foster until they have found their forever homes.
I began taking photographs and creating calendars to raise funds for donations back to Boxer rescues in Southern California. That process brought me closer to people who owned their own Boxer -- or, in some cases, several Boxers -- and I found myself "matchmaking," telling people about a Boxer that needed a new home, learning that someone out there just happened to be looking to adopt another. Within a couple of years, I had matched up a few Boxers with new homes, our local rescue shut down, and suddenly my e-mail and phone were blowing up with messages from people, asking if I could help them either find a Boxer or help them re-home theirs. In that 2-3 year span of time, I went from Boxer "stalker/photographer" to fundraiser to matchmaker. Thus began "The San Diego Boxer Rescue Project" -- networking Boxers from families and individuals and shelters with a goal of getting them into their "furr-ever" homes!
Fast-forward to 2014, the SD Boxer Rescue Project is still active; however, I'm now on the board of a rescue group in Oceanside, California. Formerly "Boxers 'N Birds Rescue," they became a nonprofit and changed their name to "Last Chance at Life All-Breed Rescue & Adoptions," taking in all breeds but still having a main focus on the Boxer breed. If you have a Boxer that needs nothing more than minor medical attention and has NO major behavioral issues, the BRP is here to help find your Boxer a home! We can take care of spay/neuter, vaccinations, de-worming, microchip, and other minor things. If you're searching for such a Boxer, check out or Available Boxers tab here and follow the steps to inquire. If you have a Boxer that needs major medical and you are planning to surrender, please contact me -- I will try to help get your Boxer into a rescue. I also post all of the LCAL Boxers on this page and courtesy post for other Southern California rescues needing exposure.
PLEASE NOTE: SDBRP does not take in or network Boxers with aggression issues. If they are friendly with dogs, kids, and have no bite history, we can help. If your Boxer is fine with people but aggressive towards other dogs, we can still help network him/her into a rescue group if space is available or try to find it a home with no other dogs. If your Boxer has aggression towards humans or has a bite record, please contact me so we can talk about your options and responsibilities of owning an aggressive animal.
~Audrey Cox-Ricks, SDBRP Founder