What does it take to get a neglected or abused Boxer out of a terrible situation and into their furever home with their new family? It takes a lot of hard work by volunteers who have big hearts and are willing to give their time to save these pups, but it’s always worth it. Today we’ll share the story of that journey, and how it changed the life of a little brown Boxer named “Dribble.”

Dribble’s Journey Begins

For Austin Boxer Rescue, the process starts at local shelters across Texas. When a Boxer is brought into a local shelter, they often contact ABR as they know we have a fantastic group of volunteers and an excellent reputation for saving dogs. One of our local volunteers visits the shelter to evaluate the dog and see if it’s healthy enough to travel to Austin to our vet clinic.

Volunteers then set up transportation for the dog. Sometimes, it’s one person making the trip to the shelter and back to Austin with the dog. Other times, depending on how far away the dog is, there could be three to four legs of the journey (no pun intended!) with multiple volunteers.

Once the dog arrives at the vet clinic, they are given a thorough evaluation and check-up. The dog is given a rabies vaccination if they don’t have any records of previous shots, and any immediate medical issues like gastroenteritis or ticks are addressed.

Dribble’s tale is just one recent example of many of how this process works. In late August, during the triple-digit heat of the Texas summer, ABR was contacted about a cruelty case involving a six-month old Boxer who weighed a mere 14 pounds. Severely malnourished and extremely underweight, Dribble was literally skin and bones when he was rescued.

Next Steps: Dribble Gets a Foster Home

After Dribble was pulled from the shelter, our foster coordinator evaluated him to determine what kind of home environment would be best while he healed and waited for his furever home. If a dog has medical issues, like Dribble did, ABR will place the dog with a foster who has experience in dealing with those issues. For example, ABR has taken in many Boxers who have had advanced cases of mange which aren’t contagious, but that need special attention and TLC.

Once Dribble found a foster home, he was showered with the love and attention he deserved. He was well-fed and bathed, and given monthly preventive medicines (all provided by ABR). One of the most important aspects of fostering for Boxers like Dribble is that for many Boxers, this may be the first time they have lived indoors or have been in a healthy pack environment with other dogs or companion animals like cats, or with children.

Within just a few days of being rescued, Dribble began wagging his tail. He also drank water from the bowl for the first time, and his foster family continued to give him electrolytes. Not surprisingly, he loved sleeping with his new family members and didn’t want to be left alone.

A week after Dribble was rescued his weight had gone from 14 pounds to 19 pounds and he began to finally play with a stuffed toy. After a few more weeks of recovery time, Dribble’s foster took him on a short field trip to meet the outdoor cats, Waddles (a duck), and the family’s chickens. He paid no attention to the cats (indoor or out), was curious about the noisy duck, and quite naturally, wanted to run after the chickens. With a loving foster mom to gently correct him, he quickly learned to leave the chickens alone.


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Finding a Furever Home: Dribble Gets a Family and a New Name

Fosters are encouraged to bring their dogs to Adoption Days and other ABR events so that the dog can get exposure and improve their adoption chances. As Dribble’s story had generated such an outpouring of interest and donations on the ABR website, he found a furever family quite quickly once he was ready for adoption, and they renamed him Dobby, after the beloved house elf from Harry Potter. “Dobby escaped some dark wizards to find his freedom,” as his new family said, and we couldn’t be happier for him.