I used to think it did not matter if our hard work was recognized by our peers or not. I have since decided that it does make a difference. It does matter.
Over the last 15 years we have actively supported both financially and voluntarily, donated time and work for, served on, created and led committees, served as board officer and director roles, designed artwork for the magazine, set up health testing discounts at several specialties, actively promoted the club and breed by working breed booths, seeking new members – sponsoring and paying for new members and much much more.
Nealie and I are currently one of the (if not the only) only Stafford teams recognized by the AKC as a Breed Ambassador which means we have fulfilled and been signed off what it takes to be trusted to attend classrooms, libraries, scouting groups and any public place to speak about and promote the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. We visit classrooms where children can read to Nealie and listen to me discuss responsible pet ownership and more.
Nealie is also honored as a Register of Merit honoree by producing 4+ champions (and all done without handlers or taking them to shows week in and week out), although her name is not yet listed on the club website as such.
The Illustrated Breed Standard the club uses has almost identical text as the one Jason and I did for the rescue fundraising yet no mention of The Stafford Knot has been made. We agreed to allow the club to use our text in exchange for referencing and crediting the many people who contributed to the body off work which took years to produce. Sadly they did not. The parent club used the TSK seminar, both in full or parts of it, and we have always been happy to supply the club with the presentation when asked to do so. We also try to volunteer dogs for hands on assessments when possible including being at shows which we had not planned on attending just for this purpose.
For many many years I have spent countless hours and money of my own promoting the club. I have (for free) designed logos and artwork, made videos and fliers, uploaded to FB and IG for the club, designed trophies and shirts, and volunteered in person at most of the big specialties over the last 15 years. I have raised 1000’s of dollars for the club over the years beginning with selling 500 silicone anti BSL bracelets our first year of membership. We also ran several RDO days, rescue fun days and breed booths.
For years I did not say NO. I always said yes, of course I will help. This year I finally said no. I have done enough. It’s now time for others to do the work.
Recently, TSK was recognized by our Area Director only because she and I worked closely for a year to put on our most recent Specialty event. It was an overwhelming success in that people had a great time and it not only paid for itself but also raised in excess of $4000 for the club. A first. The club has always lost money. Always. Every. Single. National. I appreciated the AD recognizing my efforts and the contribution TSK has made. That gesture almost took away the hurt of the rejection of the others.
There were still complaints from the usual suspects. In fact, there were lots of complaints. All made by the same people who ALWAYS complain and rarely work. These same few people make it very difficult for those who do work hard. You know what they say about one bad apple – its very true. By the way – it’s not a bath mat you won at a DOG SHOW it’s a crate pad, DOH. And there WAS hospitality in the form of food in the free welcome bags, a free pizza party, a free spaghetti dinner, coffee pastries and sandwiches in the morning, coolers of drinks ringside and a cookout one evening. All free. No donation jar. A few ungrateful people leave a very bad taste especially when its constant.
Wouldn’t it be terrific if we could work together like I have been asking for the last 10-15 years? If we could endorse each other we would have more impact and more reach. TSK has ten years of articles available for free and if the club endorsed TSK all those articles would be known by all new members and new Stafford owners, not just followers of The Stafford Knot. TSK has a huge worldwide following. This could only help the parent club. If we could endorse one another and this would help everyone. One would think that would be a no brainer. No clue why the resistance.
I have worked with several former rescue chairs in some capacity – I have always been heavily involved. TSK (me) has been responsible for a great deal of rescue and rehoming work for the breed for many many years. We raise the money, we reach out and find homes, we pull dogs, we arrange transport and foster care – we have done everything we could. I would love to retire from this exhausting task! It would be wonderful if others would step up so I can retire.
The club talks big about promoting good sportsmanship. Let’s see some action behind those words. Endorse the hard work of all people working to Promote, Protect and Preserve. How about it?
So yes, it does matter if there is recognition.