The Shops at TSK

We have been hard at work over the past year building an online shopping ‘mall’ to help support the growing need for funding for Stafford rescue. Sadly we are now helping families re-home their pets mainly due to lack of support from their breeders. Some breeders are also selling puppies to anyone with the cash without any screening to see if the breed is the right match for them. In the last year I personally have helped place 8 Staffords in this situation. Its not the fault of the dogs and in part (although they should have done more research and training) its mostly not the fault of the owners. Breeders need to be a LOT more careful where they sell Stafford puppies.

In an effort to replace funds spent this shop is ‘softly open’ for business. Here you will find an ever changing array of merchandise with various original Stafford artwork, club logos, show fund raisers and more and always a portion of your dollars spent go to the TSK rescue fund. If a design is for a club or a show then the majority (80%) goes to that club. From the remaining 20% we take out our expenses and the remainder goes to rescue. On all other designs the majority (all except operating costs) goes to the TSK rescue fund.


No good deed goes unpunished

I volunteer my free time to help Staffords. I do this freely and of my own will. I spend hours each day on some sort of project related to Staffords. I am either promoting The Stafford Knot, helping raise money for the parent club, assisting with rescue, running online auctions where I give away my own items, making craft projects to raise money or in some way spending my own valuable time giving back to the breed. I have done this for almost 15 years. Nobody makes me volunteer. I actually have wanted to stop for many years. I fill voids. I feel that if I stop, someone else will pick up where I leave off and fill these voids. They will have their own way of giving back which won’t be exactly like mine, but they will do these jobs. For the most part, these are thankless jobs. Nobody notices when you do them, but if you stop – they notice. I want to discuss rescue today.

Over the years there have been many many Stafford breeders doing rescue. Ginny Antia, Susie Keel, Tony George, Kristina Estlund are but a few who spent years helping to find homes for Staffords in need. It’s a LOT of very exhausting work. You end up in some emotional situations usually. I find it to be more difficult than just about any dog related volunteer job. You seem to be both everyones savior and enemy all at once. MY main goal when helping with a rescue or a re-home is the dog. I care about the people, some. But mainly I am helping the dog. I want the Stafford to end up in a home as good as, or better than my own. Screening, interviewing, analyzing, evaluating, training, vetting, marketing each dog requires a different set of skills and different other volunteers in order to make things run smoothly. They rarely run smoothly.

What we want to offer is a safe, open, honest line of communication so that all bases get covered. What we end up doing is refereeing the judgement and scrutiny of those NOT volunteering their own time and resources. We end up having to spend hours defending ourselves, arguing over details, listening to emotional owners, breeders, rescue people and FB rescue police. None of that is a productive way to spend my time. I refuse to contribute to non productive use of my time. I focus on the dog. I focus on screening potential new homes.

Believe me when I say I have far better ways to spend my time than looking for homes for homeless dogs. I would love to be able to say – that’s it. You are on your own. I am no longer available. I get no benefit by doing rescue except one. When I get emails from new owners with photos of happy dogs in loving homes I get great joy. Thats why I continue.

Sometimes we run into a situation where an owner asks for assistance due to not finding resolution from their breeder. I make myself available to assist them the same way I would for anyone else. The first question I ask is “Have you contacted your breeder to request help”. I ask this every single time. If the dog is in a shelter we try to figure out the breeder. If the dog is on CL we try to find out the breeder. As long as the breeder is aware the dog is in need, then its up to the breeder to help. I never prevent this. However, sometimes there is friction between owners and breeders for whatever reason. This is not my business. I have nothing to do with their relationship. Again, my focus is the dog. If a breeder and an owner cannot communicate thats between them. If I am asked to help find a home for a dog, I evaluate then market the dog. I might make myself available as a shoulder for the emotional breeder, owner, shelter worker, new owner – whomever needs support or guidance. If money needs to be raised, I do that. If transportation needs arranging, I do that. If medical attention needs are required I have that taken care of. If the dog needs training, I help arrange that. If a foster home is required, I help arrange that. I focus on the dog.¬†Period.

You are welcome.

If anyone reading this would like to take over at any point please do. I am more than ready to hand you the keys.

Who would ever know?

In the days prior to Facebook we had Bullbreeds Online. Before that Yahoo groups. Prior to that there was Compuserve chat rooms. Even before that, before the internet, people actually called on the telephone to speak to one another. The phones usually were attached to walls or at least a base unit was. Those who did rescue could have ‘telephone tree’ calls to arrange assistance to the dogs, the breeders, the owners. People actually SPOKE, in real works, out loud or sometimes even in person. HORRORS! You mean people actually looked one another in the eye and had conversations? Yes, my young readers. This is how it was ‘in the old days’ before FB.

When you have to look a person in the eye to speak it makes it more difficult to tell lies. Don’t get me wrong – there are those who are especially talented in this area who can still do this. Well seasoned at bending the truth, some people can make the world sound like just about anything they desire. Sometimes people lie for the sport of lying and sometimes they are ashamed of their actions and guilt makes them lie. Sometimes they feel no shame, and lie because its what they feel is expected of them. Lies simply flow easily out of their mouths any time they speak.

In dogs, here is the problem with being dishonest. There is always somebody paying attention who knows you are not truthful. Today’s blog entry is about breeders who routinely tell lies and think they get away with it. I want to begin by telling you that I have never in my life been associated with so many wonderful people who are passionate about a hobby they spend 24/7 living/breathing/enjoying. In contrast to that, I also have never met so many cold hearted fake egotistical sociopaths either. How can these opposing groups continue in harmony doing the same hobby? Well, my theory is that many of the passionate happy positive people aren’t aware of the other type – mainly because why would you seek that out? Sometimes it is best/easier to ignore those miserable, cold hearted, selfish, controlling, shit stirrers. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Today I am blogging because I am sick to death of those types and I feel strongly they are why breeders and dog show folk have such a negative reputation with the rest of the population and also why the few doing purebreed rescue get so burned out and disgusted. The loudest people get the attention. The angry loud few are what people remember most. And on top of that, when a person who normally is NOT like that gets fed up and becomes angry, loud and attention seeking – that’s what they will be remembered for as well. Thats a shame. What should be remembered – what SHOULD be spoken about are the others – those who ruin it for everyone. It’s those people who make us ALL look bad. I can totally understand why so many people, especially in rescue, HATE breeders. I get that!

Here is what I know as someone who has been devoted to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier in both rescue, re-home, fundraising, volunteer work, breeding, mentoring and educating – people tell me things. I listen. Now I will speak.

  • I know of a breeder who left a dog she bred knowingly in a kill shelter.
  • I know of a breeder who has had dogs they bred returned to them and chose to¬† euthanized rather than take the time to train/socialize/rehome the dogs.
  • I know of a breeder who euthanized a dog that was returned and then lied and told people it was placed in a wonderful home.
  • I know of this same breeder who has done this routinely.
  • I know of breeders who import so many dogs then sell them on like one might buy shoes.
  • I know of breeders who are pyramid sales type breeders – you buy a puppy and sign a contract stating the Stafford must be shown (maybe even by them, maybe for a handling fee), bred from and puppies given back to the breeder and that then you must carry on in the same manner…and on and on and on.
  • I know of breeders who would just as well breed on the 1st heat just as easily as taking 7 litters from a bitch.
  • I know of breeders whose dogs live in kennel runs on abandoned properties not where anyone lives and the dogs are visited once daily for a scoop of kibble and some water.
  • I know breeders who routinely keep non refundable deposits no matter why the puppy didn’t go to that home – even when its the breeder who turns the buyers down.
  • I know a breeder who makes their buyers use their stud dogs and charge the stud fees anyway.
  • I know a breeder who charged the breeder of their stud dog a stud fee even after being given free Staffords from the same breeder in the past.
  • I know breeders who lie about health testing.
  • I know breeders who lie about puppy enrichment protocols they claim to use but don’t.
  • I know breeders who care more about ribbons, specialty wins or how many champions they have bred than they care about the lives those dogs lead.
  • I know breeders who think they are the center of the universe and that all others are below them and must respect anything they say no matter how absurd their words are.
  • Sadly, I also know breeders who are hoarders and get in over their heads and cannot find a way out but are not able to ask for help.
  • I know breeders who lack so much confidence that they need a pat on the back for anything they say or do in order to feel okay and accepted.
  • I know breeders who collect semen like some collect coupons.
  • I know breeders who collect dogs like some collect coupons.
  • I know breeders who pay their bills by selling puppies but wouldn’t ever admit that they need the money and the puppies are how they earn it.
  • I know breeders whose actual self worth is based upon dog show wins.
  • I know breeders whose puppies are born and raised in stalls or basements, mostly unattended.
  • I know some breeders who may read this list and not see themselves on it.

I know a lot of things and I also know that for the most part, nobody really cares. Knowing all these things makes me sad if I think about them. In today’s world of having all your ‘friends’ made by a click of a button on FB, telling lies seems to be much easier. After all, who would ever know?

Adopt IS shop

Open your laptop just about any morning to FB and you will see all varieties of nutjobs typing away on just about any topic. I try to avoid nutjobs but seeing as I am involved in purebred dogs and rescue its nearly impossible to avoid completely.

The latest craziness was on FB concerning those who advocate the ‘adopt dont shop’ thought process. No matter how many ways people attempted to explain to them that adopting IS shopping they refused to hear it. How many people walk into a shelter and buy the first dog in the first run they encounter? I would hazard to guess zero. People walk all the way through the building looking inside every run until they see a dog that speaks to them in some way. Then they fill out the paperwork, exchange money, get a receipt and take the dog home. That’s called shopping.

What makes me cringe is when I hear people say proudly and arrogantly that they ‘adopted’ or ‘rescued’ a dog implying that my own purchased purebred dogs are somehow ‘less than’ their dog and that I as a breeder or buyer am also ‘less than’ they are. In fact, I am told, they are superior to me in so many ways because they continue to inform me that their ‘rescue’ was saved from <insert illogical phrase here> abused, neglected, used a a bait dog, bred from 1000 times, blahh blahh blahh…..yeah okay. Whatever you wish to believe to make yourself feel more important than me go for it.

The reality is your dog from the shelter was poorly bred, not socialized, not trained and dumped by irresponsible owners to end up as your problem. Good for you for buying the dog from the shelter or rescue and good for you for taking on the tremendous amount of work ahead of you. Kudos and bravo. I think buying dogs from shelters and reputable rescue organizations are a much needed thing and without those willing to do so I wouldnt be able to place the Staffords who come into rescue with me.

BUT you are not a more superior person than those who buy a puppy from me. You simply chose to purchase a different product.

The ‘adopt dont shop’ crowd also support importation of dogs from other countries. How does this even make sense? On one hand they tell me our shelters are full of unwanted dogs and we have a pet ‘overpopulation problem’ yet they bring in more dogs. These dogs also carry diseases which our American dogs are not immune to. Now we have serious health concerns not only within the pet community but into our shelters as well. Let’s sell all the dogs in American shelters FIRST, and then if you feel we need more stray dogs go buy some from other countries after they get health tested, vaccinated and health cleared. Knock yourself out, but dont risk the health of our pets doing so. And dont tell me we have full shelters yet go get more dogs who will inevitably end up in those shelters themselves, or die, or be bred from being called ‘rare white Australian Goldendoodles’. Hypocrites. The lot of you.

And dont lets kid ourselves either. There are terrible breeders of purebred dogs too. There are those who dont even try to be responsible who just put dogs together and sell puppies. There are those who are hoarders. There are collectors. And there are pyramid scheme breeders. If you are ‘in’ purebred dogs long enough you will meet breeders from each of these categories.

The collectors and pyramid schemers are the ones who I take issue with more as they do know better but pretend they are not the problem. This is a topic for another blog entry and rant. So with that….time to play with my puppies. My well bred, well thought out, well planned, fully health tested, very expensive to produce puppies.