I am so dreadfully sorry about your heartbreaking loss : ( Please accept my deepest sympathy and condolences. I have had four boxers so unfortunately I know what you are going through. All dogs are good and all dogs are wonderful but as you have learned from your beloved Ben is that boxers are "different" from any other breed. One of the ways boxer lovers try to put it into words is that "boxers aren't dogs--they're an experience". Also "Spirits that soar--hearts that adore". There is also a term I coined years ago to try to describe what happens to people like us who became boxer lovers--they have become "Boxerized" and are never completely happy or fulfilled unless they have one. Was Ben your first boxer or have you had others?
It's truly amazing how very smart and funny they are isn't it? Boxers have a great sense of humor and are known as the "Clown Prince" of the dog world. And as for Ben being your pal I understand exactly what you mean.
You will never get over the loss of Ben but as time goes on the awful pain will lessen and you will be able to remember the good times with him and how very special and unique he was without hurting as much. Almost a year is not very long when it comes to the amount of grief and profound loss that you have suffered.
Please try to take some comfort in the fact that he is in Heaven. He is healthy again and all his back pain is gone. He is running and playing and leaping for joy in the gorgeous green fields of Heaven just like our beloved Brutus and all of our beloved pets that have gone on ahead of us are since the Bible teaches that ALL animals--unlike all people--go there. Here is a post I wrote about it--it is a true story--that also has some links for comfort. If the link does not take you to my opening post just scroll up the page to the top--. GOD CARES DEEPLY ABOUT THE LOSS OF YOUR PET - Pet Loss Grief Support Message Board
The problem is that since you are "Boxerized" you will have to get another one at some point if you haven't already. It will never replace Ben just like no other boxer could ever replace my beloved boxers Kissie-Kissie Cassey, The Fabulous Buster or Big Baby Baron. They were all so unique and irreplaceable. Since the pain of losing them was so unbearable each time I always swore "Never Again!" But because I am "Boxerized" I could not hold out forever and always had to get another one. I am now on my fourth boxer--a permanent foster, Darling Brewster, who gets to stay with me for the rest of his life that I took in because no one would adopt him from the rescue for nearly five years and they were never able to even find a regular temporary foster home for him. Of course I ended up loving him with my whole heart. He is cuddled up on the bed with me as I type : )
Also since boxers are not for everybody--what we find so endearing about them may be traits that other people don't like--I feel that people who are "Boxerized" should go to the pound or rescue to get another one that may have been rejected by someone who was not "Boxerized" and thus didn't "understand" what they had or that a "Boxerized" owner had to give up due to changes beyond their control in their life situations or that was a stray. All of my beloved boxers have been rescues.
If you don't have another boxer yet maybe you should start looking online at boxers in the pounds or rescues in your area. It doesn't hurt to look. Every boxer deserves to have the kind of life that you gave to Ben where they are so very loved and appreciated and understood and you can give it to them. If you are not ready to adopt yet you could volunteer to help out at a pound or a boxer rescue. They are always in need of people to give the dogs special attention and love and to play with and take on walks. You might even consider volunteering to take in temporary foster boxers until the rescue can find a permanent home for them. Of course if one of them happens to "click" with you and you could not bear to give it up you could adopt it yourself. It will not be Ben and it could never replace Ben. But it will become irreplaceable in itself because it will be unique and you will love it for itself..
Once again I am so terribly, terribly sorry about your heartbreaking loss and I will keep you in my prayers.