This artwork was created, commissioned and copyrighted by Georgia Jack Russell and Lili Chen. It may be shared and printed AS-IS. It cannot be altered in any way … and that includes changing our logo. 😉

Profiting off rescue dogs? Say wha’?

As a 501(3)c nonprofit group, we try our best to show and share with our supporters where every penny of their donation dollars are going. For the most part, those incredible supporters understand, but occasionally, we still receive a random email from someone who doesn’t know our story, asking us why our adoption fee of $250 is so much. The question is often accompanied by other questions, such as, “Don’t you want your dogs to get adopted?” or “Why are you profiting off poor rescue dogs?” We, of course, choke on the latter.

The truth is that we rarely have a dog whose financial “investment” (as we prefer to call it) is $250. This is a low estimate for a very healthy dog.

Heartworm Hell

As you know, at least half of the dogs we rescue in the South (regardless of age) are heartworm positive and require treatment. Heartworms are rampant here, and many dog owners simply are not educated or do not see the value of this monthly preventative. Many rescues and shelters will simply put down otherwise healthy dogs because of heartworm. We have never given up on a dog because of it, even those who have had more severe cases like Pippa, Dixie/Scruffy and Susie. Imagine if we had … but who wants to do that.

A Rescue Dog's Trust Cost by Georgia JRT and Lili Chin

A Rescue Dog’s Trust Cost by Georgia JRT and Lili Chin

Infections Galore

Others arrive with kennel cough or even the canine flu, have been eaten up by fleas or other insects, and/or are dealing with bacterial, skin or ear infections. They need immediate and/or long-term medications to recover.

Nasty Chompers

Many dogs (again, regardless of age) arrive with dental issues. We do as much for them as possible without surgery, but it’s not uncommon that some of them require more extensive care. And then, of course, we have our sweet Chloe and Octavia, neither of whom had, had a dental in their life, had poisons coursing through their bloodstreams and had to have all of their teeth removed because of it. Regardless of whether we will ever recoup our “exorbitant” adoption fee, our dogs all receive the dental care they need to get healthy. The end.

Monthly Maintenance

These investments, along with monthly flea/tick/heartworm preventatives, food and, of course, the occasional treats and toys any dog deserves while waiting for a new home, can easily add up to $900 or more. Do we keep a running tally? Nope. We just continue to ask for help and hope that it will happen … and it always does. 🙂

Those Special Needs Pups and Seniors

If you know our rescue, then you know that we’re often known for rescuing dogs other rescues won’t touch. Whether it’s “financially sound” or sane (we know it’s not), there are some senior and special-needs dogs Mama Donna simply cannot turn her back on. We know they will need thousands of dollars in surgeries and will probably join our sanctuary instead of getting adopted, but we simply have faith that what we’re doing is the right thing to do. So far? No regrets! Every dog has turned out to be wonderful.

Thanks for Reading

This article is a long spew that many people will not take the time to read. We understand. After all, we all have expenses these days. We did, however, want to address the thought process many people have that rescues are all about money. Quite the contrary. It is a penniless and often frustrating pursuit (because of human ignorance and irresponsibility), but the dogs always make it worth it.

Educating Others

To help educate others, we asked Lili Chin of Doggie Drawings to help us illustrate the trust “costs” of a rescue dog. Regardless of the costs or the adoption fee, we can all agree on one thing: Changing a rescue dog’s life forever is absolutely priceless. We are pretty certain all of our adopted parents would agree.

We invite everyone to share, download and/or share our poster (please keep everything intact) and help educate others who think that rescues are about making money–or who might criticize you for spending $250 on that “free” rescue dog. Certainly, some rescues do make money because they have to: It’s what they do full-time and must employ kennel keepers, veterinarians, etc. If we someday hit the lotto, you can rest assured we will turn to doing this full-time as well. For now, Mama Donna and all of the volunteers hold down full-time jobs and/or have families. We rely on pet parents and supporters to help us keep doing what we do for these dogs.

Thank you for everything.