I am 11 years old!

I turned 11 years old on November 5 and mom has always said that I would be the Boxer that would outlive and outlast all the others. I am going gray, but still have playful energy even though my life has slowed down considerably.

samson11birthday1Here I am enjoying a cuddle with my new birthday toy, which I promptly “de-stuffed” within a few minutes. Mom has never had a Boxer that has loved toys as much as I do. I get so excited when given a new one and will prance around the house, play tug, keep-a-way, and just generally walk around with the toy in my mouth all day. Stuffed animals are my favorite, but they never last very long and mom will find a trail of white fluffy stuffing all throughout the house because I quickly disembowel any stuffed animal I am presented with.

My family celebrated a nice, quiet birthday with me this year. I am healthy and doing well and hope to spend many more together with them.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~Samson

Good-Bye to our VERY special FBR Volunteer, Eve

This week Florida Boxer Rescue, Inc. had to say good-bye to a very dear and beloved long-time volunteer, Eve Semanie. She was a wonderful, giving and caring woman who spent YEARS donating her time to the abandoned Boxer dogs in Florida. It is with great and immeasurable sadness that we have lost such a unique and compassionate human being.

Eve will be missed tremendously by her loving family and friends and all of the volunteers at FBR. We like to think that she received a warm welcome and is happy and pain-free at the bridge with all the Boxers that she has helped over the years, but who have passed on.

EVE, WE MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!

Not feeling so well lately

Hi Boxer fans,

Sorry I have not posted in my blog for a long time. I haven’t been feeling so well lately. I have been skipping breakfast and yesterday my mom noticed head tremors while I was laying on my bed. Obviously that means I’m going to go visit my vet. I’ll keep you posted. Wish me well…

~Old Man Sam

Happy Birthday Earl

Composed on August 13, 2008

On this day eighteen years ago, my mom’s beloved Boxer Earl was born. He passed away on July 1, 2000 – just six weeks shy of turning 10 years old. Mom would be remiss if she didn’t acknowledge this special dog and his story on his birthday.

Earl was my mom’s third Boxer. When I was a mere 4 month old crazy Boxer puppy, my mom (like many) learned very quickly that having more than one Boxer is almost a necessity. She knew I would enjoy the companionship of another Boxer when she was working and so my mom and dad started the search.

One day they opened the Tampa Tribune and turned to the pet section where they read an ad that said “7 1/2 year old male Boxer needs a new home soon or will have to be put to sleep. $50.”

After my mom and dad got over the initial shock that someone would post such an ad, they talked for about half a minute before deciding to call the phone number given. A 7 1/2 year old Boxer was a bit older than what they were thinking, but a dog in need was a dog in need. My parents put me in the car and we drove about 45 minutes to the home and saw Earl in the window. He was skinny and had a huge lump in his mouth. And we could all hear him growling at us. The people brought him outside and he was stand-offish, not really even coming over to say hello. No kidneybean dance, no Boxer wiggles or kisses. Still, he was beautiful and needed a home. Mom talked briefly to the older couple who had him and learned that Earl was not their dog, but their son’s. He had moved and ditched him. Earl was used to being chained on a terrace with another dog. He stunk to high heaven and was clearly not cared for properly. While he wasn’t the friendliest upon first impression, there was no way mom or dad was leaving that day without him. So, they handed the people $50 and in return my mom got a thin folder of his paperwork.

Earl visited the veterinarian the following day and was unfortunately diagnosed with advanced heartworms. He also had an enormous epulis that was so large it prevented him from even being able to close his mouth. After $1200 and about six weeks, Earl was feeling better and gaining weight. It took about two weeks for him to even come anywhere near my mom. Later, we had him evaluated and learned he suffered from fear aggression. After lots and LOTS of patience and TLC, Earl blossomed into a more typical Boxer dog, although he was not always welcoming of strangers. Mom remembers being very happy when Earl first wagged his nub and twisted into the classic kidney.

When Earl was nearly ten, he became ill and started losing control of his bowels. It was very difficult for him to get up off the floor and he often tipped over when trying to go to the bathroom outside. My mom will never forget the look of utter shame on his face one day when he fell backwards into some fresh poop. He locked his sad eyes with hers as if to say, “Please help me. I can’t do this anymore.”

My mom was devastated when Earl passed on July 1. He had come so far and she was disappointed that she would not have more time to give him the life that he should have had all along. One day she looked through his paperwork and decided to write to Earl’s breeder.

Earl’s breeder wrote back, to my mom’s surprise, and they began to correspond through email. The woman was kind enough to go through her things and send my mom photos of Earl as a puppy. Mom told her about the neglectful home that Earl had to endure for 7 1/2 years of his life. Of course she was upset to learn this, but as my mom says when people breed their pets, they must be aware of the risks and that most of the pups or kitties will end up in unsuitable, uncaring or uncommitted homes. The massive euthanasia rate in our disposable pet society speaks to this fact.

Earl was eventually a happy Boxer dog that watched a baby grow into a young child. He was loving and gentle with this fragile being. He enjoyed his two Boxer brothers and sister and mom stayed home so he was hardly ever alone. Other than watching over the child, Earl loved his tennis ball the most. My mom and dad are very glad that they opened the newspaper that morning. He was such a joy to have and he was a great, tolerant big Boxer brother to me.

We all love and miss you Earl. Happy 18th Birthday, old man.

Your bro, Sammy

A Letter From Pet to Guardian

Dear Potential Pet Parent,

I’m more than a cute face in a window of a pet store, or that affordable pup in the newspaper. I shouldn’t be an impulsive buy or a surprise gift! I am a living being that is domesticated and will rely on you for all of my needs. You must plan carefully in advance before bringing me home because MY LIFE IS AS IMPORTANT TO ME AS YOURS IS TO YOU.

If you don’t bother to do any research before getting me, then you can’t be surprised when my actions don’t meet your expectations. I was born a certain breed and have those characteristics; I cannot will myself to be what you want me to be in order to accommodate your lifestyle no matter how much I may want to ultimately please you.

I’m not a “practice baby” until a real one arrives. I don’t want you to experiment with my life by using me as a surrogate child only to be cast aside when a human baby comes because you think you will not have any time to care for my needs. Millions of families have kids and pets; there is nothing exceptional required to manage both. Dogs are not babies and frankly I will be FAR easier to care for than any human child.

I am domesticated; therefore, I cannot train myself. You must show me house rules and proper ways to behave. I will respond obediently when my actions are reinforced positively. If I am a “bad dog” it is surely because you have not committed to my training. This will be my downfall when you inevitably give me away; you will not have done me any favors by ignoring my social needs. I may have a difficult time being adopted by someone else or may never even make it out of the shelter where you abandon me.

If you move, take me with you! Don’t leave a family member behind. Show me an ounce of the same dedication that I have given to you my entire life. I’d lay down my life for you without hesitation. If I am truly a part of your family, you will bring me along to our new home. If you give me away or take me to a shelter, I guess I never was.

Consider my comfort in everyday situations. Don’t run errands and leave me in a hot car. If you would be too hot or cold, it would be the same for me! Don’t relegate me to life alone outdoors. I am a social animal, and just as you need interaction and human touch to thrive, so do I. I am called a COMPANION animal for a reason.

Plan for my lifetime care long before you bring me home and this includes emergencies. I will need to visit a veterinarian every year at a minimum and need quality food to eat. Preventative medications will keep me healthy and free of parasites. As smart as I truly may be, I cannot entertain myself while you are away from home so I need safe toys and bones to keep me busy and stimulated. I also need exercise and training. You aren’t doing me any favors when you bring me home and then don’t provide for my care and well-being.

When I am old, show me loyalty and help me navigate through my adult life. If that means I need medication to ease my pains, please get it for me. I have protected you and our home. I have laid silently beside you and listened to your troubles. Do not commit the ultimate betrayal by abandoning me in my golden years, for you will be old someday too. May your family members extend the same consideration that you will show me.

I am not a pet rental from a temp agency. Nor am I like a napkin that is thrown away after being used. When you bring me home, I assume that it is for my entire lifetime and not until I outgrow my original purpose.

I am a companion animal at the mercy of he or she who brings me home. I don’t get to pick who I go home with. My life will only be as good as you make it.

There is one favor I will ask of you…don’t bring me into your life unless you are willing to be a loving caregiver for the duration of mine.

Signed,

Every Potential Pet

*while it is difficult to track euthanasia rates in the US because shelter reporting requirements differ from state to state, americanhumane.org reports an estimated 9.6 million cats and dogs are put to death EACH YEAR because of lack of homes*

FBR Educational Video

Hi Boxer lovers,

Just taking a break between my multiple naps to tell you to check out FBR’s new video about the Boxer breed. Hope you like it – mom says “THANKS” to all the volunteers who work so hard to help so many unfortunate Boxers!

~Old Man Sam

Bathtime Blues!!

As you can see, I’m kind of bummed out. I was just half asleep, minding my own business when I overheard mom talking to Miss June on the telephone. That means the big white van is coming to the house soon. The big white van that Kiki and I get bathed in! Yuck!

Mom has tried taking us to the groomers several times in the past. The car ride there is fun but we never liked the part after the bath where you have to go in a crate and wait to get picked up to go home. In fact, Kiki and I showed our displeasure once by taking big, steaming craps in our crates AFTER we were all nice and clean. But sadly, the joke was ultimately on us because then we had to get a second bath! Ack!

After that debacle, mom decided to get a mobile groomer to come to the house. She found Miss June through a referral and she’s been coming to our house every 4 weeks to give Kiki and I a bath and clip our nails. I am not happy about this but I guess it is better than the alternative. When Miss June is done drying me, I get to step right out of the van and run (or in my case, trot slowly) into the house. I then shake my slightly damp fur once inside and wipe my mouth along the couch cushions just to let my mom know I’m back.

Miss June says I am perfectly behaved during bathtime even though I tremble and don’t like it very much. Kiki on the otherhand, is a “nightmare” (June’s words, not mine). Mom might even videotape the shenanigans next time and post a clip here.

When my new Boxer brother arrives the first thing I am going to do is warn him about Bathtime in the Van!

Wish me luck,

Old Man Sam