FROM TIME TO TIME, we hear detractors of rescue dismissing FBRN and our fellow rescue groups as being in it "for the money." They point to the high cost of adopting a dog from FBRN and make uninformed, cynical statements about how we must be raking in the dough. They may use the fees we charge as evidence that rescue is no better than backyard breeders, and they may ask why anyone would surrender a dog to us for free when they could sell their dog on Craigslist and get some money, just like FBRN does.
In truth, it is wise to do what our mothers would tell us to do in the face of these sorts of claims: Consider the source.
Still, criticism, however unfair and unfounded, can sting. So one of our volunteers has put together a graphic for us to look at from 2012. As you can see, the median amount FBRN spent on dogs in our care was $391 (median means half the bills we received were above $391 and half were below). Honestly, we don't know if that is an accurate number in terms of real veterinary costs, because many of our foster families pick up vet bills on their own and don't ask for reimbursement.
If you add up all the vet bills and divide by the number of dogs we fostered last year, the mean, or average, is $811. Our highest adoption fee is $700, and that is for a healthy puppy. We receive very few healthy puppies.
When you look at the final graphic, you might be surprised. Though it might seem our adoption fees are so high because we are covering our expenditures with the fees, in fact, adoption fees account for just a little over 25% of our budget. Most of our budget comes from small donations made by our supporters who are moved to sponsor a foster dog. We raise a fair bit of money during our Facebook auction and local fundraisers, and we are grateful for the occasional grant we receive, but the highest percentage of our budget comes from our supporters. (Did you know we are an all-volunteer organization? Our board of directors, foster parents and transporters are all in it for the love of the dogs, not a paycheck.)
Many visitors to our site like to dream of the day when they will own a Frenchie, maybe from FBRN or maybe from a dedicated, responsible breeder. We sincerely hope no one who visits this site will purchase a puppy sight unseen over the Internet or from a pet shop! But consider this: applying for a dog from FBRN is about looking to help a dog who needs help. Not all the dogs on these pages are perfect puppies. Mostly they are dogs with special needs, both behavioral and physical. Many are senior dogs. Some have been mistreated. Some have been neglected. Many come with baggage. Most will require extra effort in training, medical care, and attention.
Don't come to rescue to get an "inexpensive" French bulldog. Even though we vet our dogs thoroughly, and we don't place them until they are healthy or have a lifelong treatment plan in place, many adopters discover they will spend a great deal more on a rescue dog than they would on a full-priced, healthy dog from a reputable breeder when all is said and done.
Come to rescue to adopt your dog because you want to help a dog who has had a hard go of it. Apply for a rescue dog because you have something to offer and because you want to help a dog who needs it. Choose to support rescue because of the work rescue does.
The next time you hear someone say that rescue is in it for the money, come home, boot up your computer and read some of the stories on these pages. We--our supporters, our volunteers, our adopters--know we are in it for the dogs. If you don't believe it, just do the math.