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.