Our regular update on what's happening in the World of Bulldog Rescue
This Blog is Tania's own personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the charity
Sorry if you tuned in last week and found no new entry, but I spent all of last weekend getting the Christmas shop on line. I managed to catalogue and list over 100 seperate items and hopefully they will make someone great stocking fillers. If you've not taken a peek yet please feel free to browse in our CHRISTMAS SHOP and hopefully you'll find something you absolutely love.
To be honest funding Bulldog Rescue is becoming an increasingly up hill battle. I am so upset at the spiralling cost of current vet bills and I'm sure you've heard me say a million time - when did vets forget why they became a vet, but I think even that has changed. Almost all of the established small practice vets have now been bought out by corporate companies and the sudden hike in prices isn't anything to do with individual vets anymore - it's their corporate bosses that have seen a way of making vet practices the next big money making business. We've seen it with Estate Agents, Energy Companies and plenty of other businesses who suddendly became more focused on the profit than the customers. I'm seeing so many of these practices staffed by young vets - thrown in at the deep end because they don't demand the same salaries as the original vets in that practice were getting. They are not permenant fixtures any more and it's almost impossible to strike up a relationship with a vet because often the next time you need them they've gone. But worse than this the increased trend for Out of Hours vets who's prices are even higher. If your dog gets poorly in the middle of the night you're screwed and a simple overnight care can quickly spiral into thousands of pounds. There was a time when you could avoid referall vets but for the general practice vet that's now money for nothing and it's true to say that almost all veterinary care is now priced out of most peoples reached. So it came as no suprise when after the second out of hours emergency in one week we found ourselves in a position of where on earth are we going to find the money and the result, as you know was the Five Grand Challenge BUT the next day I found myself brooding and to be honest just got myself angrier and angrier - not because this could result in me losing my hair but because it suddendly dawned on me "why the bloody hell should I". For the past few years things have changed so dramatically in the veterinary world that the cost of treating an animal is increasing almost by the day. Out of hours vets who cash in on animals who get seriously ill at unsociable hours, corporate companies buying up the small family run practices and then pricing them out of everyone's reach. We struggle to pay our vet bills already which currently average between 3 and 6 thousands pounds a month, but 2 big emergency bills on the bounce is a serious financial blow for a charity the size of ours. So this fund raiser will pay this bill and it's all alot of fun - but what about the next emergency or the one after that. What happens when we can't afford to pay a bill at all? It is so unfair especially when we all work such long hours trying to help as many bulldogs as we can in a climate of greeders and chancers - but then to realise that the only people actually benefiting from our hard earned fund raised cash is the corporate vet group at the end of the chain? How is that right?
It's didn't have the entire desired effect though when a previous BDR infamous Troll decided to use the situation to try and create trouble. Some people just can't help themselves but as I said then - put your money where your mouth is and see how serious I am about shaving my head!!! Although so far it's just over it's first grand, with another 4 to go before Christmas day so there is a chance my hair is perfectly safe
So as we head into December it's all becoming a little bit Christmassy and that includes the annual rise in dogs that families want gone before Christmas. The hatches are battened so wish us luck
Just when we thought we were getting our finances under control we get hit with 2 massive emergency situations 2 weekends on the trot! Last week a Splenic Tortion and this week a newly signed over baby girl called Buffy who's Bladder stone surgery has landed her in hospital with peritonitis!! The two bills are already at £5,000 and it's going to go higher as Buffy will require at least another 3 nights hospitalisation and that's assuming she makes it as it's touch and go - the bill has to be paid regardless. SO in my wisdom (some might call it stupidity) I've set a challenge - the 5 Grand Challenge!!! If this Just Giving Page hits £5000 by Christmas Day I will shave my head!!! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tania-holmes1
It's been up less than an hour and it's at £300 quid already - people really do want to see me make a total fool of myself ha ha ha ha
We went ahead with our BDHQ meet up yesterday (Saturday 2nd November) and after cancelling last week we decided that this week it would go ahead no matter what. It was a terrible day, torrential rain, crazy winds but we did it. Thank you to the lovely people and their bulldogs that came on our little ramble through the woods - and to Marie Chandler for taking these photos:
Plans are already underway for our Christmas walk and Santa Paws event: https://www.facebook.com/events/406772046682080/
We hope you can join us and we hope the weather is kinder too. Our first walk raised a fabulous £100 so thank you xxx
I hope your dog isn't too traumatised by the fireworks this weekend, if you haven't done so already I would really appreciate you signing this petition - I know it comes up every year but we need to keep trying so if you wouldn't mind, this is the link: THANK YOU
It's been a strange kind of week. So much work has gone into it but sadly it all ended in disppointment when our first ever BDHQ meet up was cancelled.
This was the weather forcast that greeted us yesterday morning so it was with much saddness that we had to cancel the walk. I was actually suprised at how disappointed I was as we've been planning this event for so long but the torrential rain was due to hit just as we were walking through the woods so there was little option but to call it off. But for those that were as disappointed as us I am happy to say we have resheduled for next weekend and you can find the details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2492275644190127/
It was a week of Meetings with both the Trustee and Management meetings taking place this week so it was a long one. One of the things we present at our Trustee meetings are that quarters accounts and our Treasurer was really pleased to report that we had made a slight surplus this quarter. We have been trying really hard to reduce our costs and it looks like we're winning,however our main outgoings are still high - being vet costs and boarding fees. The Boarding bill we have managed to reduce substantially over the past half year but sadly as vets continue to increase their prices our vet bill continues to rise.
This is an extract from my 2nd quarter report
As of 30 September, the number of dogs that we had been asked to help reached 3270 (it has since gone over 3300)
During this second quarter we helped 64 dogs which was 7 dogs less than the same period last year
Our vet bill this quarter was £22,819.35 and our boarding costs were £4,449.24 which is another improvement on our previous quarter by over £1,100.00
So far this financial year we have spent £46,246.39 at the vets
I am still deeply concerned regarding the current business model that almost every vet practice has now adopted as this has not only put the prices very much higher than they were but also they are almost always now staffed by newly qualified vets who have no breed experience and are scaring many new bulldog owners.
We are literally keeping our head above water and although it’s not as dire as it was it would only take one emergency vet bill to put us back in trouble. The Picnic income has allowed us to get “ahead” of ourselves and although I’m still having to budget which vet bills get paid when we are surviving and not quite so on the verge of running out of cash as we were last quarter. Kath has also managed to secure yet another amazing grant from Support Adoption for Pets which will also help
We are finding ourselves inundated with new rehome requests and for the first time ever we are having to say no. The number of people who got their bulldog as a fashion accessory and have now decided their lifestyle doesn’t suit the dog are all now coming forward for help and unless they can keep the dog at home we are often having to send them to the EF and then trying not to think about if they will end up as a Gum Tree advert because we turned them away.
In an effort to clear the backlog I have changed the way we list dogs. It’s not so detailed as it was previously but it’s much much quicker. We have begun to make use of the free web page generated by our AniLog system. This means that dogs are listed simply by the tick of a box so it’s easier and less time consuming to get dogs online. We are completely up to date with all our listings and although it’s still hard to keep up, it’s easier than it was. Also by not using the eCommerce side of things to list dogs we have been able to totally concentrate that part on products and events so have for the first time been able to ask for reviews and feedback through the web site which I’m hoping will mean that by having a more interactive web site the site will get more visitors. So far we have a 5 star status across the board, but I’m waiting for the one disappointed person that didn’t get the dog to wade in and leave a really bad one – so far though it’s going very well.
Basically, all the time the dogs are moving we are OK. I’m pleased to say that most people do now pay for their dogs on time now that we have the automated system and those that don’t usually respond to their first reminder.
We do however have a huge foster home shortage, and our recent video appeal – although brought in some applications hasn’t had the impact I was hoping for. I am not prepared to operate a “can any one foster this dog” system as most rescues appear to do and although I know signing people up puts some people off I feel it is an important part of the process – not just for the security of the dog, but also I feel it’s important we are a tight team who can look after each other when things don’t go to plan.
We are continuing to work on education, especially when it comes to colours and why these dogs should not be purchased or bred and I was recently asked to join the Breed Councils Education Committee which I am hoping will enable BDR and the BC to work even closer together than we already are.
And here's the recruitment video for anyone that missed it
Well the week actually started with some good news!