Bridget Conner, Secretary
Hello fellow boxer lovers. I am honored to be part of the MustLuvBoxers Rescue leadership team and to be owned by two MLBR alumni pups, Kelly Catherine and Dozer, both my foster failures.
I became a part of the MustLuvBoxers family in 2007 when I adopted my first boxer, Thor. I joined Dogster, an online group for dog parents. Soon after, Holly invited to me to join her MustLuvBoxers forum board. I did, and a friendship was born. The MLB forum was an invaluable resource to me as a first-time boxer parent. I met other boxer parents from all over the continent, with whom I would later become further acquainted through social media and rescue. I was one of the last holdovers on the MLB forum and had just recently signed up for Facebook when MustLuvBoxers transitioned to a Facebook group. In 2013, I reached out to Holly for help with a multi-rescue collaborative effort to save over a hundred boxers in a bad situation and was thrilled to learn that MustLuvBoxers Rescue was beginning the 501c3 approval process. I became an MLBR volunteer in 2015 by helping establish partnerships with shelters and rescues local to me. Later, I helped create the MLBR adopters and fosters group on Facebook. In 2016, I took on the duties of Area Coordinator for California.
I grew up in a rural community where livestock, poultry and a family dog were a part of my life from infancy. I missed having a dog in my life during my college years. Sascha, a Siberian husky puppy, joined the family after we moved into a house with a yard in 1991. Sascha was my running buddy and road trip copilot. Sascha lived to be 15 years old and never lost her husky spirit. When she was 4 years old, we adopted a Shar Pei/American Staffordshire mix pup, Brandi, from a local no-kill shelter for my stepson. Brandi was the little girl with the big growl who loved everyone her humans allowed into the house. Brandi, who was diagnosed with Addison’s disease at age 2 years, lived with us when my stepson was in the military. When he was home on furlough her entire world revolved around him. She became depressed when Sascha passed and her illness worsened. Brandi had a stroke just 3 months after we lost Sascha; it was two months before my stepson returned from overseas. She waited as long as she could.
We were empty nesters when Brandi passed; no kids and no fur kids for two months. We wanted another dog but knew our next dog could not replace either of our girls. We researched dog breeds and decided to adopt a boxer from a rescue. Enter Thor, affectionately known as his papa's cyber-date. Papa found him online and knew he was the one. They were best buddies for 4.5 years. Thor was amazing! He was a perfect starter boxer. So began my love affair with the boxer breed. Thor was our one and only for four fabulous years. He had a myriad of heart issues, but in typical boxer fashion, he was stoic. In his last year we began searching for a companion for him because we didn’t want him to be alone at the end. We contacted his original rescue and after careful consideration arranged to meet several special abled, older boxers. After a couple of shaky intros with her, we decided to take a chance on 8-year-old Lizzie-the-tripawd. Shortly after adoption, Lizzie began experiencing seizures and we learned she had brain lesions. Then, Thor became quite ill with hemangiosarcoma on his spleen. He recovered from surgery, but his heart gave out weeks later. Lizzie had been with us only four months. She lived with the seizures for 18 months. Lizzie had tremendous inner strength and a determination that was inspiring. She was a survivor. I began volunteering with rescue because of Lizzie. She accompanied me to rescue events and pretty much everywhere I went. Lizzie was legend.
When I shared the news of Lizzie’s passing with our adoption “match maker,” I told her we wanted to honor Lizzie by adopting a bonded pair and were ready to schedule some meet and greets. Two weeks later we adopted the brother pups, 5-year-old littermates, Jack Dempsey and John L Sullivan (Sully). Dempsey was fearful and reactive his entire life. He suffered from chronic pancreatitis and, because he chewed to alleviate his stress, he underwent two emergency foreign body removal surgeries. Dempsey was diagnosed with lymphoma when he was 8 years old. He died at home, in his sleep, after 9 months of chemotherapy and holistic treatments. Dempsey’s best friend and protector was his deaf brother, Sully. Sully was large and in charge, always had a smile on his face and never let the small stuff get to him. He was my partner in rescue for 5 years, serving as control dog for countless dog-to-dog evaluations, helping to bring dogs into multiple rescues. He assisted with dozens of home inspections and was a fabulous ambassador for deaf dogs. He was a happy boy, even after his spondylosis became painful and an inoperable chemodectoma on his heart made breathing difficult.
When Dempsey passed, Sully and I brought Kelly Catherine home as an MLBR foster. We had already met Kelly when Sully and I went to the shelter to do her evaluation. When we returned to get her out of the shelter, Kelly remembered Sully. She brought the bounce back into his step. She challenged his dominance and it amused him. Kelly is a typical boxer female, though she is only 5/8 boxer. We adopted her on Valentine’s day. Kelly has short spine syndrome, but it does not slow her down in the least. Her favorite pastime is retrieving tennis balls! We said goodbye to Sully just over a year after Kelly came to live with us. Kelly missed her mentor and misbehaved in ways she had not previously. Within a week after Sully left us, MLBR was asked to help 4 boxer siblings whose owner lost his ranch. One of them was a 5-year-old, big boy, named Dozer. Kelly is dog selective but prefers large male companions, so I arranged for Kelly and Dozer to meet. Kelly approved of Dozer and Dozer accepted that. He became our foster that day and we officially adopted him 8 weeks later. Dozer led a sheltered life on the ranch, so busy city streets and noises startled him. Dozer is a giant love bug who prefers to cuddle with his people or Kelly. He does not seem to know how to play; but chewing antlers is his favorite activity aside from eating.
During the past 13 years, I have learned so much about the boxer breed. My love for boxer dogs deepened with each of my personal dogs and every boxer I meet in rescue. Each one has wiggled his or her way into my heart and soul. I am grateful to have been a member of the MustLuvBoxers forum; fortunate to have received awesome guidance from Boxer Rescue LA with all 4 of my BRLA alumni; thankful for 8 years of experience volunteering with 2 rescues and at my local shelter; and humbled by the opportunity to pay it forward in any way I can through my new role with MustLuvBoxers Rescue. This is home. I have come full circle.
I look forward to MLBR forging new partnerships, embracing current partnerships and, of course helping more boxers to safety and a better life.