McHENRY – A nonprofit boxer dog rescue in Ringwood received an extra $1,000 for the holiday season thanks to a group of young artists.
At McHenry High School West Campus, the National Art Honor Society dedicated its latest service project to Boxer Rebound, a organization that finds homes for unwanted and abandoned boxer dogs.
They created 16 pet portraits for project donors, raising $1,000. The check was presented to Lisa Curry, a teacher at West Campus who volunteers at Boxer Rebound.
“I have two dogs, and one of them is a rescue, so it’s really a nice way to give back to a group that works so hard to get pets into good homes,” said West Campus senior Morgan Folino, president of the student club.
“It’s a meaningful way to give back to the community in a way [in which I get to use my talents]. It’s self-fulfilling.”
Michelle Zimmerman, West Campus art teacher, said the extracurricular club’s various service projects give students an opportunity to “realize the impact art can make for their community.”
The dog rescue, 4915 Ringwood Road in Ringwood, has been around since 1984. The program has grown in demand throughout the years as the breed gained popularity with the American Kennel Club, said Jeannette Everett, co-owner.
“[The boxer breed] used to be ranked 24th, now they’re ranked [seventh],” she said. “When a breed gets in the top 10, they’re going to be in trouble.
“So there’s a snowballing effect right now.”
The rescue is supported by volunteers and donations. And Friday’s check from the West Campus students will “help immensely,” Everett said.
The rescue, which does not use foster homes, currently houses about 45 boxers.
“I’d much prefer having only 10 here,” Everett said.
But ever since the economy took a dive within the past few years, adoptions steadily fell by half, going from 130 adoptions a year down to 60 to 70, she said.
The boxers don’t receive just food, shelter and medical care. Experienced dog trainers volunteer to teach the dogs obedience and socialization skills.
“It’s a real commitment,” Everett said. “We have the dogs vetted, and any problems, we have it treated before they leave.”
Even so, the rescue maintains specific adoption policies based on the dog breed’s nature, rarely placing the “highly energetic” dogs in apartments and other confined living spaces.
“We require fenced-in yards,” Everett said. “We can allow exceptions only for some of the older dogs and owners with a past history of owning boxers. But we’re not a revolving door. It’s about the proper connection between the owner and the dog.”
To learn more
For information about Boxer Rebound, visit www.boxerrebound.com.