Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’ve all heard it before. Poor, poor me.
Well, eventually, one gets serious. I truly don’t know how much longer Sheltie Rescue of Utah will continue under the current funding and fostering model.
Barbara and I got home late last night (about midnight) from having spent 12 days at the American Shetland Sheepdog Association’s 2011 National specialty dog show and trials. Yes, we had a lot of fun, we got to visit with old friends and make new ones, and I drank a lot of margaritas. But SRU sold about $2200 worth of product, which cost us about $1100 in raw materials and labor. We spent about $650 on our petsitter (who at least did a pretty good job), over $500 shipping material to the National and a smaller but not-yet-known amount to send leftover material back, about $900 on a hotel room, about $250 for a rental car, and at least $250 for food. We spent over $2500 to earn $1100 (and, of course, to do our jobs for ASSA). That’s not a sure-fire way to financial security, now is it?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love going to the National and consider running the Rescue Booth there to be part of my chosen avocation of Sheltie rescue. It’s very hard work (before, during, and after the National), but it’s also enjoyable in many ways. Sadly, we stay so busy that we see almost nothing of what goes on in the rings, even though this year we had absolutely idea locations at every event to see the judging. But the truth is that we paid about $1400 out of our own pockets to help other rescue groups earn a relatively small amount of money (and for the National Sheltie Rescue Network to earn about $5500 less about $1500 for raw materials and labor).
What really got me going, though, was — having spent 1½ weeks living in a hotel room with Abby (yes, she went with us) and Barbara, with it being nice and quiet much of the time — that we got home to a house filled with about 15 barking, peeing, pooping, jumping, crowding, etc. dogs. I love each and every one of them, but I just don’t want to go on living this way. We can’t keep up with cleaning up after dogs who aren’t fully house-broken, or who don’t want to get their dainty little paws wet by going outside to potty, and our petsitter — while doing a decent job — really isn’t experienced enough to do so. So our carpets and the flooring beneath them are ruined (and one of them is literally wearing so thin that I think I see flooring through it!), but we owe the vet thousands of dollars (and owe American Express many more thousands, at least half of which is rescue expenses). The house stinks, no matter what we do, and we’re too embarrassed to have anybody ever visit us.
In short, my rescue fatigue is so overwhelming right now, that I very nearly walked out of the house at midnight last night to go to a motel. But, of course, I can’t afford a motel.
If we don’t get more help — particularly with fostering — I’m pulling the plug.
I simply cannot do this any more. A number of you have generously made donations and helped us raise funds in many different ways, for which we are truly grateful. But even all of your efforts don’t cover more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the expenses, even without special situations like Jasper’s from late last year. And, if it were only the money we were talking about, we could probably manage. But the task of caring for anywhere from a dozen to two dozen rescues (plus our three personal Shelties) is so time-consuming that Barbara probably doesn’t get to spend more than 3 or 4 hours a day on everything else put together — little things like getting SRU’s financial records in order, scheduling and holding the annual meetings we’re legally required to hold, writing newsletters and fundraising grants, finding volunteers to do many of the jobs that are simply not getting done, and, yes, finding new foster homes. She’s running just as fast as she can simply to keep from falling off the back of the treadmill. And, frankly, I’m not much help because I recently got yet another major responsibility in my day job and yet another minor responsibility at ASSA.
I don’t blame anybody for the state of affairs (except myself, of course). Members of the Sheltie clubs in Utah have their own dogs, their own responsibilities, their own lives, and they make rational decisions about how they can expend their resources. Unfortunately, that usually precludes fostering Shelties for SRU. Some (Julene, you get a special shout-out!) manage to foster dogs for a relatively short while when we’re completely desperate, even though they live in tiny houses or have annoying neighbors or have health problems. But we just don’t have a “stable” of foster homes in the manner that some other Sheltie rescue groups do.
But, if we don’t get some serious, significant, committed, enduring fostering help, very soon, it’s going to be over for us. We’ve done this for a long time and I’m just tired. And broke. And living in a pig sty. And, did I mention, tired?
On this day..
- A Quick Update – 2009