Animal Services, Legacy Boxer Rescue Team Up to Save Stray Dog and Her Pups
By Michelle Patchett, Arlington Animal Services
Posted on May 20, 2020, May 20, 2020

Java and her puppies

Stray animal calls are only one type of call animal control officers handle daily. In fact, last year alone, Arlington Animal Services animal control officers responded to 3,672 stray animal calls. On April 15, 2020, Arlington Animal Services received a call to be remembered by everyone involved in assisting this mother dog for a long time.

AAS Animal Cruelty Investigator Amy Scott responded to a call from a concerned citizen about an extremely thin boxer on the side of the road. When Scott arrived on location, she was greeted by two citizens caring for the stray dog. This poor dog had flies all over her body and in need of help. The stray dog was lactating and appeared to have delivered puppies recently.

Scott and the concerned citizens searched all over the wooded area with the momma dog for the missing puppies but were sadly unsuccessful.

"When I loaded the momma dog onto the truck, she was very reluctant to leave," Scott said.

This was only one call of a full day of animal control calls but one which left Scott and the citizens feeling extremely gloomy when leaving the location.

Scott brought the stray boxer to the shelter to have her examined by the shelter veterinarian. Due to the condition of this dog, she was made available to transfer to an approved rescue partner the following morning. Legacy Boxer Rescue, a longtime partner of Arlington Animal Services, stepped up immediately to help. Within minutes of the shelter staff posting the new momma dog for a rescue assistance, Sharon Sleighter, president of Legacy Boxer Rescue, tagged the dog, now named Java, into their organization.

But there was something else about this dog… there was definitely more to her story. When working closely with animals, there are many times when we feel like the animal is trying to communicate with us. There is a feeling within us that they are trying to tell us something with their eyes. This momma dog was looking at Scott with a purpose and determination. After receiving another call from a concerned citizen, the following morning, Scott headed back to the area where this sweet momma dog had been found.

"I looked under every pine tree trying to find the puppies," Scott said. "I eventually spotted one tiny brown puppy appearing to have rolled from under a nearby tree. I kept looking and found another tiny, brindle puppy next to a ripped trash bag. When I moved the bag, two more puppies rolled out. They were there, four stray puppies a few days old.”

Amazingly the puppies appeared healthy, given the circumstances and the unknown amount of time they were left behind.

 Scott rushed the puppies back to the shelter to be reunited with their mother. The momma and babies all extremely happy to see each other. Mom quickly resumed her motherly instincts of taking care of her babies. Legacy Boxer Rescue, without hesitation, took all four babies along with mom into their group.

 Java and her four babies, now named Mocha, Espresso, Latte and Cappuccino, were immediately taken to the Veterinary Hospital to be checked over. Java was extremely emaciated and had what the veterinarian believed to be chemical burns to her face, head and body. The four puppies were treated for a bacterial infection on their skin. Java and her puppies, now six weeks old, are doing fantastic and thriving in their foster home.

Legacy Boxer Rescue currently has 19 puppies in foster care right, including 4 puppies who were rejected by their mother that Java took like her own and is now a surrogate mother for.

"Anyone who gets lucky enough to adopt Java, will become the luckiest person in the world," Sleighter said. "Despite the challenges no pet should ever face, Java is as sweet and loving as they come."

As soon as Java finishes nursing her newest babies, Legacy Boxer Rescue will be ready to start receiving adoption applications to find her the perfect forever family, Sleighter said.

Arlington Animal Services is so thankful for amazing partnerships with the rescue community continuing to help assist us with many happy endings. Java and her babies are one of the many stories happening with Arlington pets thanks to a team of people working together. In Java's case, concerned citizens, an animal control officer, kennel staff, veterinary teams, rescue partners, and along with foster parents, all working together to make a difference in the life of a dog who needed our help.

For more information about Legacy Boxer Rescue, visit

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