We have to get our fundraising up to a level where we can give more help to owners who honestly can't afford the cost of treatment. Unless we can get on top of this, our rehoming effort is almost pointless, while animals who do have homes are dying because there's no way we can provide enough help to save their lives.
Every day our phone line gets desperate, crying owners that we can't help because they are way outside our area or who need far more help with the cost than we can possibly give.
We can't insist these animals are signed over to us, because that would still leave us with huge treatment costs we can't afford to cover. Some of the owners who come asking for help could raise the money if they really tried, but most of them simply don't have it and have no way to borrow because their income's so low they're not good credit risks. The same people are least likely to be able to afford pet insurance, or to have organised pre-registration with the PDSA or with our own clinic.
We can do our best to educate people about the importance of finding out what they need to do to be prepared for emergencies, but there will always be those who don't realise until too late. Unfortunately, the people with least money are likely to be those who are least able to cope with the complications of registering for charity help before their animal is desperately ill and needs immediate help.
Our shops are the best way we have to raise our income. They're already generating funds that cover all their fixed costs, plus the profit which we can use for our welfare work. This means that every extra hour spent volunteering in one of the shops generates money that can all be used to help more animals, because there are no additional running costs (other than the odd cup of tea).