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Dog lover Claire is taking the lead in finding rejected boxers a caring new home

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 12/11/2015

Claire Smith with Lily and Lesley-Ann Duke with Poppy
Claire Smith with Lily and Lesley-Ann Duke with Poppy
Phoebe died two years ago
From left: dog lovers Lesley-Ann Duke with Poppy; Claire Smith with Lily and Daisy; Maddie and Leanne Young with Lola; and Zak Duke, Michelle Murphy and Kyle Murphy

They may be the grumpiest-looking of man's best friends but one woman has devoted her life to finding new homes for abandoned boxer dogs.

Now she and a small group of dog lovers from Co Down are working to ensure that these affectionate pets find the right home after being left on the street or badly neglected by their former owners.

Claire Smith from Stoneyford, Co Antrim, is on a mission to save as many boxers as she can in honour of her own dog Phoebe who died two years ago.

She runs the self-funded rescue service Boxers for Adoption Northern Ireland and has rehomed over 30 dogs since 2013 through social media.

"We seem to live in a throwaway society and we are seeing more and more boxers who need our help and that are in some desperate states," the 40-year-old told the Belfast Telegraph.

"My own dog Phoebe was the love of my life. For anyone who ever has had a boxer dog, they will know just how wonderful and loving they can be and what a brilliant companion they can make.

"I had a breakdown several years ago. Having my new boxer Lily and helping other boxers who come my way has been my therapy.

"Our work has changed the lives of the dogs that we rehomed in the last two years but also transformed the families that they go to."

Claire's friends Michelle and Kyle Murphy this week fostered a boxer bitch called Betsy who had been brought to their attention as a welfare case after her owner could no longer care for her.

"Betsy is one of the lucky ones as we were able to get to her quickly before she suffered too much and I'm confident we will find her a new home," said Claire, who has urged people to think long and hard about whether they can commit to looking after any dog.

"Before you get a dog, ideally (from) a rescue or pound, make sure you can commit the next 10 to 15 years to that dog and its needs," she said.

"If you can't, then please don't get one.

"No rescue centre is a dumping ground for an unwanted dog. We are there to help all dogs, but especially those who have had awful lives up to then. Yet more and more are coming into rescue because of the owner's lifestyle changes or having no time for them now."

Information on boxer dogs needing rehoming can be found at:

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