In general, ABR has no set rules about adopters. The state coordinators and fosters are in the best position to know the dogs under their care and find them a safe and happy home. The goal is to fit the Brittany with the adopters, not the adopters with the dog, and volunteers will consider many factors in choosing a good family for the dog. While ABR volunteers come from various backgrounds, we are all united in one position:
we want what is best for the dogs we take in.
We are asked frequently about how we make decisions regarding caring for dogs, placing dogs with adopters, and money matters. Here we share how board members, state coordinators, and fosters navigate some of these tricky questions.
I am looking to adopt a Brittany but our yard does not have a fence. Will ABR consider us for adoption without a fence?
ABR does not have a set policy regarding whether an adoptive home must have a fence. It is up to the state coordinator, relying on the judgment of the foster caring for the dog, to determine whether it is best for the dog to go to a home with a fence.
There are some state coordinators who firmly believe that a Brittany should have a fence. Other state coordinators will not let the lack of a fence be a sole factor in the decision. They will consider the needs and behavior of the individual dog as well as the knowledge and experience of the potential adopter to make the decision in each case. Considering the big picture, state coordinator Rebecca Rockwell Wallace explains, “If a candidate has successfully managed a Brittany without a fence in the past, that is a good sign. I would rather see a placement to a fenceless home that exercises with their Brittany and provides sufficient enrichment than one that turns the dog into the yard to entertain himself.”
Emphasizing the need to evaluate individual dog and adopters, state coordinator Terrie Johnson points out, “Some adopters have had many Brittanys and live in the country where there are no fences — they are cognizant of how Brittanys will bolt and have taken precautions. Other people have wonderful fence lines whose dogs get out anyways.”
What is ABR’s policy on indoor/outdoor dogs? If I plan to keep the dog in an outdoor kennel or run, does that mean I cannot adopt?
ABR operates under the belief that Brittanys need and deserve to be a part of their family and live in the family home. While it is always wonderful if a Brittany has the opportunity to hunt, the primary goal is to adopt to families who will value their Brittany as a family member. The ABR adoption contract states that the dog will be allowed to be in the home with the family and will not be confined to an outdoor kennel or tied outside for long periods.
In very rare instances, exceptions can be made to this policy if the state coordinator determines it is best for the dog in a specific case. For example in one instance, ABR rescued a senior Brittany who had spent his entire life outdoors. The foster tried for several months to integrate him into the family home, but he had severe anxiety every time he was in the house. He was adopted to a family with a comfortable heated kennel where the dog was happiest to sleep at night. He otherwise spent plenty of time with the family during the day on excursions and hunting. In this instance, it was best for the dog’s well-being to sleep in the outside kennel where he felt the safest.
What is the policy for transporting dogs, especially long distances?
Here again, ABR policy allows the state coordinator to determine when a long distance adoption is warranted. When a dog has several good applicants for adoption, the preference is to adopt to a home that is closer to the foster. Doing so allows the family and the dog to meet, and it saves resources for dogs being pulled from shelters that may need transport when there is no foster home nearby.
Sometimes the coordinator may determine that the best home for the dog is in another state. Many coordinators will allow for the out-of-state adoption only if the family makes the trip to meet the dog first, demonstrating commitment to the dog and ensuring a good match, and will allow sight-unseen transport adoptions only under extenuating circumstances and special needs cases.
If the need for transport arises, ABR has a Brittany Express Team to help coordinate the transport. Pilots N Paws, an organization of volunteer pilots with planes willing to transport animals, has also been a valuable resource for ABR.
I see a Brittany mix listed at a shelter. Will ABR rescue it?
ABR is a breed-specific organization with the mission of helping Brittanys. It is ABR’s policy to take in only purebred Brittanys based on AKC papers or visual inspection. Determinations are made in person when possible, but often they can only be made from photographs. If a state coordinator is contacted regarding a Brittany mix, they do their best to find an appropriate rescue in their service area to help. ABR may also post the dog on the Courtesy List page on the website for dogs seeking homes who are not in ABR care.
If ABR commits to a dog that is later determined not be a purebred Brittany, coordinators will continue to work to find him or her a forever home.
How do my donations directly benefit dogs?
ABR typically raises about $300,000 a year. The vast majority of the funds—nearly 95% of every dollar donated-- goes directly to the dogs in our care. Only about $12,000 are put towards administrative costs which include office supplies, bank supplies, the website, and annual audit that costs $5,000.
The bulk of budget goes to getting dogs healthy. In 2017, vet bills totaled about $180,000 (over 66% of total budget), including exams and surgeries. Of that, medication and vaccines were approximately $60,000.
How is it determined which dogs benefit from ABR funds?
State coordinators makes day-to-day determinations regarding care for the dogs. If there is an expense over $500, the Board will review it. The expense typically is covered if it is necessary for the dog.
State coordinators are responsible for coordinating vet expenses. When a dog goes to the vet, the foster sends the bill to the coordinator who ensures the foster is reimbursed. Several members of an accounting team track these expenses and reimbursements.
I made a donation and designated it to a specific fund. How can I be sure that my money went where I wanted it to go?
When a donor designates funds, multiple people on the ABR team are involved in tracking the money to make sure it is designated correctly. In addition, there is an annual third-party audit to assure that donations are going to correct place and that money is being handled properly. Auditors check coding and accounting, and a Form 990 is prepared.
What is ABR’s biggest annual fundraiser?
Year-end holiday giving brings in the most donations, usually $35,000-40,000.
Does ABR send an annual report to supporters?
ABR does not send a paper report to supporters, but the annual Form 990 is available on
. ABR is in the process of developing a new website which will include annual financial information.
** A special thank you to Vice President/Co-Treasurer Tina Leone and State Coordinators Terrie Johnson and Rebecca Rockwell Wallace for their contributions to this article. **