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