Don’t lose your way

I have always been told cliches such as ‘The harder you work, the harder they work you” and “No good deed goes unpunished” but even so I have been the type person who not only has creative ideas but also follows through on those ideas and usually with great success. I am that person who volunteers for too much, works harder than asked to work, creates more work for myself as long as it benefits the common goal . . . and I have been disappointed most of the time as well. I take full responsibility for that.

For the past 15+ years I have tried to fill a void I saw and created an informational website that others could find helpful for most topics Stafford/dog related. I have kept a blog of some type with honest, from my heart dialog. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I do not pretend to have thick skin. I help people who ask without hesitation. Besides this website, I also created The Stafford Knot, Inc 501(c)(3) so that I could share information about this breed with the world. Many people volunteered their time and their words for TSK over the years. We worked hard and offered free publications, articles, videos, fund raisers, merchandise and sponsorships – all in the name of free easily accessible information about the Stafford and – along the way – raised many many thousands of dollars for SBT rescue. TSK is still archived and available for free. The wealth of knowledge we received permission to share is irreplaceable.

I spent 40-60+ hours a week at my desk volunteering in one capacity or another – it became my second full time job – between TSK, SBT Mentor, Wavemaker, the many regional clubs, international clubs and the parent club – I always spend my free time dedicated to the Stafford and those who also cherish the breed. I volunteered doing rescue, rehome services, fostering, transporting and fundraising for Stafford rescue – creating online presences for reaching out for homes and volunteers. Many times it felt exhaustive and thankless, but knowing I was helping the dogs kept me going. I suppose I always thought that one day my hard work would pay off. I mean, don’t get me wrong – being responsible for raising so much money for rescues worldwide is a great feeling – but I guess I wanted more than that.

Many times over the years I requested formal endorsement TSK and what it stands for. We always sent money to the clubs, sent donations, sponsorships, served on committees, created committees and served on the board of the parent club – I always tried to volunteer at shows no matter how far away they were. I spent thousands traveling to shows to judge sweepstakes anytime I have been asked. I make items as gifts for my winners and truly enjoy doing this. I have made items to sell and share and donate. And , along with Jason, Maurizio and many others created the Illustrated Breed Standard when none existed for the breed in this country. I even allowed the parent club to use the text from our book with only the request that the many people who donated their words received credit. That never happened and in fact they take full credit – not even crediting the artist they paid to do their drawings much less any work TSK is responsible for. I offered ideas, suggestions, the platform even for the clubs to share in what we have worked so hard to create. I sent a resume to the JEC and was turned down with no explanation given even after being told I was more than qualified.

The acknowledgement and endorsement I suppose I was seeking never came. I won’t lie. It does feel like I never existed some days. It can feel like nothing I did was appreciated except for the fact that now they are copying most of what I have created and using it for themselves. I have to ask – wouldn’t it have been so much easier had they simply endorsed TSK and my work years ago? I offered to put their publication online. I offered to sell merchandise for them. I have a reading suggestion list on this website and on TSK, like they now do with TSK’s book oddly missing. I have a free public library of 100’s of articles I share. I did the color version of their logo. I created the Sunshine committee, painted/sculpted/braided/designed items at my cost items to sell/give/donate for the club. I did many photos, logos and ads for the club and its members. Now they are doing all of this themselves. Good for them. I hope they finally are able to get out of debt. I am responsible in a way for that start too – raising and donating over $4000 from the KY show. . . the first time in the nearly 40 year history of the club they didn’t lose money at a National. You’re welcome.

Sometimes in this world the best one can do is to take ownership of all the positive actions they have taken and just accept that feeling as success. Another cliche have been told is “Do good things not for the acknowledgement, but rather simply to know you have done them”. I’ll have to chew on that for a bit. I think I will get there . . . but for now I needed to pat my own back.

I am super proud of what I have given to the Stafford world.