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The horror…the vet bill…the horror

Barbara and I thought that we were getting our debts under control. Over the last three or four years, we’ve found ourselves sinking into a sea of debt, caused in no small part by the vet bills, not to mention the boat. But we thought that we were getting pretty close to paying things off.

Well, the vet bill came today. $11,250. In May alone, we spent over $5,000 at the vet’s, the largest shares going for Chewy and Ballet. Who both died while still in treatment. We simply can’t keep spending at this rate. $60,000 a year would allow a family of four to live fairly comfortably. If this continues, we will not even be able to pay for gas and electricity, never mind food, car insurance, and the like.

After we released Chewy to go to the Bridge, I asked Dr. Chris what her thoughts were about this issue. She was very sympathetic and said, among other things, that the number one reason why rescue organizations cease operations is finances. Her suggestion, which I’m embarrassed to admit never occurred to me, was that we should develop a set of written policies that describes various categories of rescues, breaking it down by age, by temperament, by level of illness, etc. — in other words, adoptability and probability of success should be the two prime considerations. A dog that is unadoptable because of temperament should not have thousands of dollars spent on it. A dog that is 16 years old (as Chewy was) and has many medical problems, followed by a serious crisis, should not have thousands of dollars spent on it.

For many years, we have never once had to turn down a Sheltie in need of rescue, nor have we ever had to eschew medical care for a rescued Sheltie. And that’s how we got into so much debt. We have to change or give up Sheltie Rescue.

On this day..

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5 comments to The horror…the vet bill…the horror

  • Harleysmom

    I absolutely agree and as hard as it is, we have to get real about this, you can’t afford it, and our donations I’m certain are down, while the turnovers are up, can’t keep up. I have been tweeting at least once a week to solicit donations. Now we are 501, we need to solicit some of the places we may be able to get larger donations. You don’t get nothin’, less you ask! Lets get together and talk about the difficult…has to be done. We love them all, but we have to get real, just like other rescues have had to do. You two do an amazing job to be sure, but we don’t want to lose you and certainly if we didn’t have you, things would change.
    Big time, because none of us can do what you two do. You are important!!

  • Harleysmom

    BTW, lets get some easy click links to twitter and facebook. There is something Amanda found on facebook that works with non-profit groups to help come up with ideas on fundraising. Lets check that out, and I joined twitter so I could promote the rescue website. The more followers one gets on twitter, the more opportunity you have to solicit donations. These are certainly up and coming methods for spreading out with the fishnet so to speak, lets consider our options…just a thought.

  • I think Dr. Chris’ suggestion was a very sound one. While I’ve always thought that it was admirable that you’ve never turned away a Sheltie, I’ve wondered in the back of mind how long that could continue. I know that C.A.R.E. came to the same kind of conclusion, but much sooner in it’s operation. Unfortunately, sometimes the donations just aren’t able to keep up with the expenses, and in order to keep running at all limits have to be set. I wish that it wasn’t the case, but sadly it is.

  • Julene, I couldn’t agree with you more. Everything you said is “obvious”, in spite of us not following that advice all along. Compared to most rescue groups, we were fortunate that my job pays enough that we didn’t reach the going-broke stage until very recently.

    About those “easy click links” you suggested: For at least the last 45 years, I have been ‘way out on the “bleeding edge” (a pun on “leading edge”) of computer technology. I think that, in many ways, I’m still not far from the razor. But I don’t do Facebook and I don’t tweet. I’ve been getting pressure from some of my standards colleagues to start tweeting at a minimum, so I’ll probably break down and start doing both of them.

    Those are “social media”, and I’m anti-social :) I don’t need for all my friends to know what I’m doing second by second (or even day by day). Heck, just creating and maintaining this blog itself was a major concession to “being social”! But I’m open to seeing the value of the media for our purposes (e.g., raising awareness, fundraising).

    But somebody (this is Cynthia’s cue to step in an volunteer) needs to teach me how to do (only) what needs to be done. If I just join Facebook and Twitter, I’ll either do too much or do too little.

  • Some very sound ideas here. Think about the big picture. If you were to stop your rescue work because you spent huge dollars on dogs that were not adoptable, how many adoptable dogs would go without forever homes? You can’t sacrifice the whole for the part, no matter how adorable the part might be. Prioritizing is important, and as much as you would hate to do it, perhaps you will have to decline dogs that are not adoptable, especially if they will result in huge medical bills.

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