How ABR Navigates Through the Facts
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. **

Hard Decisions In International Rescue
Here in the United States, life in an animal shelter seems like an unfortunate situation for a dog, but in countries like Greece and Spain, the opposite holds true. Shelter dogs are the lucky ones.

Thousands of abandoned dogs overseas are forced to fend for food and water and are vulnerable to street danger, abuse, and even death by poison and other methods. It’s been said that the average lifespan for these stray dogs is two years. If they are fortunate enough to be surrendered to a shelter, they are fed and protected and receive medical care. And most importantly, they are afforded a chance of securing a forever home.

Almost two years ago, our family was thrilled to adopt one of the first three Brittanys from ABR’s International Rescue pilot program. When people discover Opa (previously Muffin) traveled all the way from Greece to enjoy his wonderful new life with us in America, they typically react in two distinctly different ways. The majority of them are fascinated. These folks ask questions, listen to “why” and “how” that happened and ultimately commend ABR for saving lives. 

Then there are the people who scold us for rescuing overseas when ‘so many dogs here need homes.’ With these people, it’s important to raise awareness of ABR and its cause. We begin by stating the obvious. The American Brittany Rescue rescues Brittanys, whereas most of the dogs in shelters are not breed specific. Next, we explain that as the popularity of the breed increases here in the U.S., more stateside Brittanys are adopted and as a result, ABR sees a decrease in the number needing our help.   

Finally, we educate. Most people remain unaware of how poorly dogs are treated in some European countries. Without getting graphic, it only takes a sentence or two about that before they begin to understand the true purpose of ABR’s overseas mission. Most people shake their heads in dismay. Many are silenced. Occasionally, someone will put both hands up and back away, as if to prevent themselves from hearing about that horrible neglect and abuse.

It proves even more challenging when people within our organization harbor similar doubts. Some believe Brittanys here in the U.S. are overshadowed because we rescue abroad. Board member Tina Leone addressed this at the inception of the program, when she assured everyone that ABR’s primary mission will always focus on rescuing Brittanys here in the U.S and Canada.

ABR still places over 1,000 of them a year through owner surrenders and shelter pulls. 

Many people object to the costs involved in international travel. Although the first rescue trip was expensed through ABR’s general account, a designated fund was quickly established to gauge interest and support. “If we cannot raise money for the program, we know we have some tough decisions about continuing,” Tina said at the time. “If we do raise money…we can work to bring more abandoned Brittanys into happy homes here. There is a real and dire need to rescue these great Brittanys.”

The fact is the total cost per international dog is only slightly higher than a domestic dog. That includes veterinarian care in Europe, as well as travel costs. “Over the past few years, ABR has mostly rescued senior dogs, or dogs who are very ill, all of which cost an average of $1,200 in care before they even enter foster homes,” Tina says. By contrast, the average total cost of rescuing an international dog is now about $1,500. This figure is down from our original cost of about $2,000 per dog.
ABR has worked hard to streamline costs since our first trip. Nancy Hensley, the director of the International Rescue Program, says this is a matter of experience and notes that “we get better each time.” Then as now, the missions are conducted 100% by volunteers. ABR only covers their economy class flight and a maximum of three nights lodging.  

“Flying with dogs is actually work,” Tina says. “You need to collect the dogs at your connection, as there are not direct flights and you have to navigate to the next terminal with three or more dogs and crates and no help.” Thus, as opposed to what some may believe, ABR is definitely not paying for a European vacation. 

Nancy cites additional methods of bringing down the expenses. Our first rescue mission, for example, involved several people and a total of three dogs. These days, each person travels with three dogs. We now rescue up to nine or 12 each trip. In addition, volunteers travel at cheaper times and stay at Air BnB's.  

In spite of the dedication and hard work of the volunteers who travel overseas, those who foster, and those who arrange adoptions, the program could be in jeopardy. It needs publicity and support. As Nancy says,

“Dogs need rescue. Who cares where they live?”

“The program is not well funded,” says Nancy. “ We desperately need funds to continue. We need $100,000 a year to maintain the program….I’m pretty sure it won’t continue if we don’t get donations.”

Nancy says an ideal solution would be to find corporate sponsors. She urges folks to explore those possibilities. She also stresses that those who donate must specify that their money is designated for the international fund “or it will not go to it.”

We have saved the lives of about 150 overseas Brittanys since February of 2017. We need to continue to rescue wonderful dogs like Opa. In general, Americans treat dogs as cherished family members. Cases of cruelty prove relatively rare. The opposite holds true in countries like Spain and Greece. Sporting dogs like our Brittanys are viewed as tools, and treated accordingly. We need to help them.

Please consider an end-of-the-year charitable donation and be sure to state that your money is for the International dogs. Or see what you can do to secure a business or corporate sponsorship. A donation in a loved-one’s name also proves a meaningful holiday gift. Together, we can keep the program alive and thus keep more Brittanys alive.
KLIO - California
Kilo/Gracie is an extremely lovable Brittany mix puppy rescued from Greece as part of the international rescue effort. This petite little girl is a real cutie with a sweet personality to match. At 8 months old she is already a champion snuggler. Gracie is housebroken and even uses a door dog. She would be a great family dog - gentle, loving, affectionate and smart. Gracie would do well in a home with another dog to play with.

Curro - North Carolina
Each day, Curro becomes more confident and energetic in his new surroundings. He has recently discovered the joys of ear scratches and even better than scratches, ear massages! His eyes roll back in his head and he goes a little limp and he will stay still as long as you keep massaging. Curro isn’t the type of dog that constantly needs your attention. He just wants to be curled up in the corner of which ever room you are in.
Curro would do best in a house with another dog. He gets nervous when he is left completely alone.

"Rescuing one dog will not change the world... But for that dog the world will be forever changed."

These wonderful Brittanys are currently available for adoption. Click on their picture for more information, and if you think your family is a good fit, please complete an adoption application here.
Congratulations to these Brittanys who have found their forever homes!
Achilleas aka Freddy, CA
Bailey, PA
Beau, SD
Belle, ID
Blue, MT
Charlie, TN
Cindy Lou Who, FL
Cooper, NJ
Dylan, GA
Dekan, PA
Foc AKA Rex, CA
Hank, PA
Izzy, TX
Jed, WI
Lea, OR
Lori, MN
Melia, CA
Rusty, ID
Sophie, NV
Sophie nka Ruby, GA
Sylvie, GA
Toby, OH
Tyson nka Jake, IA

& Support ABR
It's time to purchase your 2019 Brittany Calendar!

The perfect gift for yourself or a “Brittany Lover”. Each year, American Brittany Rescue collects photos from our community and produces a calendar. The calendars are for sale now in our Brittany Boutique for $20. 
And while you are purchasing your calendar, please look at our other items for sale. It is a perfect time to buy a stocking stuffer or gift. We even have nose butter to soothe your pups dry nose this winter!
UPDATE - Thank you all who participated in the ABR Quilt raffle. Congratulations to Kim Tees from Maine!
Quilt Raffle Update

Thank you all who participated in the ABR Quilt raffle. Congratulations to the winner Kim Tees from Maine!
If you would like to give to American Brittany directly, please click on the button below to make your gift and help a dog in need.

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. is an organization that was formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of Brittany owners, breeders, trainers, and fanciers who ABR believes have a responsibility not only for their own dogs and the dogs they produce, but for the breed as a whole.


ABR's mission is to provide the leadership and expertise via a network of trained volunteers to take in stray, abandoned, surrendered and/or impounded purebred Brittanys, provide them with foster care, health and temperament screening, an opportunity for any necessary rehabilitation and to assure their health and placement into new homes. In order to fulfill this mission, ABR's volunteers remain flexible and adaptable to current and future business environments and they remain dedicated to the organization.  

Terry Mixdorf, President
Tina Leone, Vice-President/Co-Treasurer
Michelle Falkinburg, Secretary
Diana Doiron, Co-Treasurer
Tiffany Dexter
Terrie Johnson
Nancy Hensley
Sandra Oelschlegel
Monica Rutt
Maria Smith
Ryan Waterbury
Cheri Wilson
Lisa Bagwell
Brittany Boler
Jeannine Connors
Judie Cutting
Autumn Fenton
Lori Gartenhaus
Patricia Gillogly
Melissa Tapply
Rachel Schollaert
Maria Smith
American Brittany Rescue, Inc. | 866.274.8911 |  Visit Our Website