Jennifer Ramirez with Sage (pup) and Cheyenne (mom)

Even though this story, at times, is heart wrenching sad. I’m hoping all will continue to read through to the happy ending.

Four and a half years ago, I was able to purchase a home. I was so excited because now I could finally get dogs. While I "dog proofed" my home I spent endless hours at the library pouring over books to see what type of dog would best fit my personality and environment. I kept returning to the Boxer. Their loyalty and watchfulness is balanced out with their playfulness. Therefore, the Boxer seemed like a perfect match.

Not wanting to go to a breeder, I stopped at the Burbank Animal Shelter every day after work to see if any boxers were there. After weeks of looking, I thought " Jen, there are so many dogs that need a good home, tomorrow when you come, pick two and be resolved that you are not going to find a Boxer." As I headed out the door a worker, who had seen me almost every day now, asked if I needed help with anything. I explained my situation and that I would return tomorrow to take some dogs into the play area. "No need to do that" was the reply and I was hooked up with Ursula from Boxer Rescue. Ecstatic is putting it mildly at how I felt leaving there that day.

I immediately contacted Ursula and set up a time to visit her at the Encino vet (this was before she had the kennel). There were 2 dogs, a male and a female, that she was trying to place together. Not wanting to see them separated, I took them both. The boy was named Boomer and the girl was Harley. I knew when I took Boomer that he was sickly, but I wanted to keep them together. After Boomer got used to his new environment and was given love and attention, he thrived and grew. The vet suspected he might have a heart condition, but I didn’t want to put him through extensive tests. Plus the tests would just confirm what was suspected, there would be nothing that could be done about it.

A couple of years went by and things couldn’t have been better. Then Boomer had a heart attack February of ’98 and passed away. The grief was unbelievable. I was relieved that he didn’t suffer and glad that I had Harley. I called Ursula and she was very supportive. She let me know there was nothing else I could have done to save him, the years he had with me were the best he had and that he died being very happy in a place where he was loved dearly. She thought the best thing to do would be to get another boxer for Harley. While I was contemplating that, Harley got sick. Over the next month she would get sick and then get well. The vet could find nothing wrong with her and thought possibly she was grieving for Boomer. As a last resort, I was sent to a specialist. Harley was diagnosed with cancer. Since I had dog insurance and that would help with the expense, I wanted her to be treated to see if it would go into remission. She responded well to the treatment and it did go into remission, for a time. In November of ’98 when there was nothing more that could be done, and she was starting to suffer terribly, I had to put her to sleep.

The years that they were with me can never be replaced. I will treasure that forever. I will always love them dearly and they will never be forgotten. It helped knowing I did all I could do and that they had a terrific home to spend their last days, but that was not enough in my grieving process. I just simply could not move on. After about 6 months I started thinking about getting more dogs. Even though I experienced 2 tragedies in such a short time, I realized that such things can happen with any breed and the "Boxer" was not to blame. The happiness I had with Boomer and Harley far outweighed the pain I was currently feeling. I really wanted to add to my household again and help other boxers find a good home. However, I just could not do it.

Through all of this, my sister Shirley, watched my joy, pain and struggles with trying to cope with the thought of bringing other dogs into my life. She knew that I would never do it myself, so she wrote to "Dream Makers" to see if they could help. Dream Makers is a new show with Richard Simmons as the host. It airs weekdays, 10am on channel 5. Their goal and aim of the show is to have peoples dreams come true. They picked my story and she and I were asked to appear in the studio audience. They told me that it was not guaranteed we would be picked but at least we would get prizes for showing up. I thought my sister wrote in to try to hook me up with a guy or help me with much needed repairs on my house. I had no clue what was going to take place next.

We go to show and they sit us in the front row. I’m thinking if we play some type of "pick the best bachelor" game I will never forgive her. J The show starts. In the first story, a man is reunited with his father. The 2nd story everyone in a salon gets their hair cut for free, all thanks to Dream Makers. Richard starts the 3rd story by explaining that people don’t know much about him except for what they see on TV. They don’t know that he adores and loves dogs and has many Dalmatians in his home. He says to the audience, "There is a young lady in our audience who also loves dogs immensely and her heart is broken." He comes into the audience, gets my sister and me and asks if we will join him on stage. He has my sister read a portion of the letter that she sent in to him. In it, she explains that my house is empty and since I lost the dogs, I don’t smile the way I used to. She wants to put a smile back on my face. Richard talks to me about Boomer and Harley and the whole audience is crying. With my permission, he shows pictures of them on a big screen. This shows the audience how happy and loved they were and how much a part of my life they had become. With that, he brings out a boxer puppy for me to take home. Except it’s really a boxer mix, but that’s a whole different story **(details at end of this story). I get a huge basket from Alpo and Friskies with everything you can imagine from food and treats to bowls and toys. Also, they included a six month supply of dog food. After the segment Richard talks to me how to get over the loss of Boomer and Harley and about moving forward with a new puppy in my life. He was truly encouraging to me and he is such a sincere, caring man.

With much going on and much to think about the associate producers, myself, my sister and Audrey from Boxer Rescue are escorted into a back room. I fill out paperwork and everyone leaves. Audrey explains to me that if I am not ready to take a puppy home right now, or if I choose not to accept this one, that’s ok. I was so relieved! Even though I wanted to move forward and get a dog, I work all day and knew I was not ready to get a puppy. I felt horrible for returning him, but Audrey assured me he would be placed before the weekend was over. (She was right, he was!) I followed her to the Boxer Rescue and she wrote up a certificate for me to get a dog at a later date. What excuse did I have to wait any longer? I now had the certificate, dog food and supplies, plus, more importantly, the emotional kick in the butt to get going. I asked her if I could look for a little older puppy right then and we went out in the yard. I wanted to take all of them home but didn’t see any that I personally connected with. As we headed back into the house I commented; "Oh! I don’t remember seeing those two over there." Audrey replied, "Those 2 girls came in together and we are only placing them together, so, unless you want to take 2, I wouldn’t look at them. They are so sweet, you’ll fall in love with them. They’ve been here for a while, because not too many people want to take 2." Was I able to take 2? Heck no! I was still feeling doubtful about 1. I headed home.

All night long, my mind kept wondering back to those 2 girls. Why in the world did I keep thinking about them? Since I didn’t get close to the cage, I didn’t really even know what they looked like. Why couldn’t I get them out of my mind? I couldn’t sleep all night. Audrey’s words kept playing in my brain. I was thinking how odd it was that Boomer and Harley had been together and Boxer Rescue didn’t want to separate them. We all had a life together and were a family and that out of all the places for Dream Makers to go, I end up back at Boxer Rescue with 2 different boxers that need to stay together. I called the next day, Saturday, and left a message that I wanted to set up an appointment for Monday. It was Labor Day weekend and I would be out of town on Saturday and Sunday. The whole weekend I kept telling myself I was only going to look. I probably wasn’t ready to take a dog, right now, and definitely not 2. On the other hand, I was picking out names I liked, and came back early from my trip so I could wash the dog beds, set up their feeders and get the yard ready. When I went for my Monday appointment, I immediately feel in love with them, but was still hesitant if I was ready. With coaxing from my friend, I decided it was now or never.

Now, three weeks later, I wonder how I could ever imagine life without them. They are so bonded to each other, I’m thrilled that I kept them together. I’m even more happy that they stayed together because we found out they are mom and pup. Also, due to my enthusiasm and happiness at my new additions of Sage (pup) and Cheyenne (mom) to my family, my best girlfriend, Laura, also adopted 2 boxers this past week. Their names are Zoe and Brina and all are doing well.

Richard Simmons was right when he told me this is what I needed in order to start healing. It has helped immensely! Every day Sage and Cheyenne are learning new things and upholding the true Boxer character of being loyal, dedicated, fun and a true companion at all times.


**now for the "different story" of the boxer mix puppy from the show Dream Makers:
The producers wanted a puppy for the show. For ratings and the effect in would have on the audience, they wanted to be able to actually put a puppy right into my lap. Boxer Rescue informed them that there were puppies at the kennel, but they were between 8 and 9 months old and would be too big to place on a lap. The show wanted a younger and smaller puppy. John Schillaci, the vice president of Boxer Rescue was very excited when he received a call from the  shelter saying they had a young, boxer puppy that needed to be picked up. He instructed  to get the puppy, get the shots, have him fixed and get him ready for the show. Boxer Rescue never saw the puppy and by the time they found out that it was a mix, it was "show time" and you know the saying; "the show must go on". At that point, it was too late to change anything, so the boxer puppy mix is what you will see when you watch the show. In the end, it worked out better as you all know from reading the story.

Jennifer Ramirez

Burbank, CA.
PS Laura Jen's friend, saw how happy Jennifer was to get a couple of Boxers so she decided to adopt two boxers as well CLICK


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