He’s only four years old, but Kiss the Boxer has already made a big impact on the world thanks to his determined human and his adorable lolling tongue.
“I literally can’t go anywhere with this dog without people stopping and laughing,” says Dawn Korres of Boulder, Colorado, who adopted Kiss in the summer of 2014.
“People say that he’s made their day and that they’re so glad I rescued him,” explains Korres, who frequently has strangers ask to take pictures of her rescue pooch. Not much of a social media user herself, she was surprised to find many people were asking if they could post the pictures of Kiss to their Facebook profiles, a trend that launched the Boxer into social media stardom.
But long before he took Facebook by storm, Kiss had to get adopted — and Korres had to find him.
The two discovered each other last year when she took a trip to Los Angeles. At the time, Korres was still reeling from a series of losses in her family.
“In 2014, I had four dogs, and out of the four, three had died. They were 12 and 13; they were older.”
Korres and her family missed their departed senior dogs, but she wasn’t sure she was ready to bring another rescue home — until accidentally clicking on an ad for PetFinder and finding herself staring at a photo of Kiss. He was then known as Rocky, and according to his online profile, the young Boxer was a resident at a high-kill L.A. animal shelter.
“I saw this picture, and I knew right then, if this dog hasn’t been rescued, then I am going to be the owner of that dog. Like I knew it for sure it was going to happen. It was fate,” Korres says.
At the time, she wasn’t aware that there was anything different about his appearance.
“I didn’t know there was an issue with Kiss’ tongue, because in the picture his tongue wasn’t hanging out.”
Right away, Korres began making calls, trying to find out if Kiss had been euthanized or if he was still available for adoption. After a few frustrating dead-ends, she learned that an animal rescue had pulled the dog and had potentially found him a family.
“I was content,” says Korres, who was pleased to know he would soon be beginning a better life, but she offered her contact information in case the adoption fell through.
“I said, ‘If they don’t adopt him please give me a call.'”
Not only did this family not adopt Kiss, but a second intended family also decided not to take the dog, and that’s when Korres got the call that would change her life.
“Before I met him I asked, ‘Is there anything that I need to know about the dog?'” she recalls, adding that the rescuer coordinating the adoption never mentioned the tongue.
“So when I saw him, I was really surprised to see his tongue hanging halfway out of his mouth.”
Korres isn’t sure if that’s why the first two potential homes backed out, but to her, Kiss’ long, lolling tongue was just another reason to love him. She officially adopted him, and a trip to the vet revealed the issue behind the tongue troubles.
“It is a neurological problem. He also has a tick in his face — his eyes and nose.”
Having his tongue hanging out doesn’t bother Kiss, it just makes him an extra messy drinker and eater.
“When he drinks water, stand back — because you will get splashed,” says Korres, adding that even Kiss himself tries to back up to keep his paws dry while drinking.
He may be a bit messy, but once he was in his forever home, he made friends quickly.
“Kiss gets along with our two cats. He gets along with the dog. He gets along with the kids.”
Cronus, an eight-year-old Newfoundland, is Kiss’ best furry friend and big playmate.
“They love each other,” says Korres, who was glad Cronus got a new dog friend and happy to see Kiss was so easy to get along with.
“There’s nobody I’ve ever seen him not like — man, woman, child, or animal.”
Kiss’ lovable personality is why so many passersby snap pictures of the rescue dog to post online. Korres (who describes herself as not being very computer savvy) found herself in unfamiliar territory as his image made its way all over the Internet.
Unable to keep up with her dog’s growing social media popularity, Korres turned to Craigslist to find help managing the Boxer’s online presence, which is now run by Michayla Lupien. As Kiss’ social media coordinator, Lupien posts pictures on the dog’s many social media accounts.
The online activity is allowing Korres to put Kiss’ fame to good use. She recently sponsored the “Kiss Cares” contest, in which Facebook and Instagram users posted their own rescue pet stories using the hashtag #kisscares.
“I wrote a check for a hundred dollars and gave a donation to the animal charity of the contest winner’s choice,” she explains.
Kiss’ good deeds won’t stop there. Korres is committed to helping Kiss help other rescue pets find homes, and she hopes he can be an ambassador for pets who come in unexpected packages.
“They’re just so appreciative of having a loving home. They’re even more appreciative than a dog with all the perfect parts.”
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About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.