Where Do Your Donation Dollars Go?
We are often asked, “Why does it cost up to $300
to adopt a shelter pet?”
Helping Paws is a non-profit organization and in
order to fulfill our mission of providing shelter and finding homes for
the homeless animals of our community, we depend upon adoption
fees and donations to help us meet our financial obligations. First,
let’s identify those financial obligations.
On average, our veterinarian and medical
bills run around $10,000 per month. This includes giving each animal that comes
through our door a thorough exam, any required treatment or medication and all
state-required vaccinations. And because about 95% have not been “fixed,” we
spay and neuter, which of course involves anesthesia, medication, and
antibiotics. We also microchip so that once our animals have found their forever
homes, they won’t get lost.
Sometimes animals come to us needing medical or
surgical attention, which requires a plea for special donations. For example, a
kitten came to us recently who had been badly injured hiding inside a car engine
when the unsuspecting driver started the car. Little Billie Jean, one of a
litter of pups brought to our shelter, needed an easy surgery to correct a knee
defect. And Rigo, a very obese beagle with prematurely arthritic legs, needed
special care as well as surgery. All of these animals received the appropriate
treatments and all are now wonderfully adoptable pets.
Coming in around $2,000 per month, our second
highest expense is food and cat litter. One way we contain these expenses is by
joining a shelter coalition that lets us all work together to address the
homeless animal population. We also collaborate to find opportunities for
quantity discounts and special offers. For example, one shelter learned that a
distributor was giving away food and litter – outdated for retail but still very
usable – and shared that information with the group.
Coming in third are shelter expenses that keep us
running, like maintenance, utilities, etc. In addition, we run an exceptionally
clean shelter at Helping Paws to keep our animals safe and healthy and have to
purchase items like laundry detergent, bleach, rubber gloves, paper towels and
sponges. However, we supplement that expense by running Wish List drives and you
can read more about that on p. 2 of this newsletter.
Helping Paws has a very low administration to
operations cost and we work hard to keep it that way. Our eight part-time staff
members keep our shelter running and they, along with our wonderful team of
volunteers, make sure our kennels are cleaned, dogs are walked, cats are
socialized and animals are fed. And of course the shelter’s Board of Directors,
president, and even our accountant are all volunteers.
So where does the money come from? In addition to
adoption fees and individual fundraising efforts and donations, we work with
companies who match employee dollars, like Kemper and Goldman Sachs. PetCo and
PetSmart are also benefactors, helping us with adoption and charitable events.
Like everyone, we have seen a decline in donations tied to the economy. But with
careful planning, fiscal responsibility, the dedication of our staff, board
members and volunteers, and most of all the generous, on-going donations we
receive from you, our supporters, we have been able to keep our doors open and
animals saved for over 40 years.
Thank you all so much for caring
Helping Paws is
funded solely through donations. Please help us save the stray dogs and
cats that come to us for help. A gift of any amount will help in the
lives of these wonderful animals.