A BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT TOM. D. STODGHILL (1903-1989) and his ANIMAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION

 

Tom D. Stodghill experienced a varied and long business career. In 1947 he established the Animal Research Foundation, a registry for English Shepherds, Catahoula Leopards, Australian Cattle dog Queensland Heelers, Australian Shepherds, Rat Terriers, American Bulldogs, and all other recognized dog breeds. ARF also registers cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and new and rare breeds of animals.

Along with the registry, Tom D. published the ARF Cowdog Magazine for over thirty years.  The ARF Cowdog Magazine has been sent to all 50 States, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Greenland, Holland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, British Isles, to name a partial list.

Mr. Stodghill held annual Cowdog Trials (1953 thru 1988); people from over ten states participated in these trials, later called Cowdog Rodeos.

 

 

During the Great Depression years (1929-1939), he ranched and operated a grocery store and dairy. Later he raised Ohio Improved Chesterwhite (OIC) hogs and won many awards at the Dallas State Fair. He developed  the Golden D'Lish Hog... a long lean hog with upright ears, the forerunner of today's lean hogs. (He later changed  its name to what is now known as the Brahma Hog.) 

 

Tom originated the Crimson Dawn all-bronze turkey and won Grand Champion on his new breed at the World Fair in Chicago in 1934. His turkeys grew so large that the market for the over-sized birds dwindled after World War II.

 

 

 

Mr. Stodghill wrote one of the first Cowdog Training Primers. He was the first to recognize and register the Catahoula Leopard and write its history in book form. The book is still available through the ARF Registry.  The American Kennel Club [AKC] has Mr. Stodghill's book in its library.

Mr. Stodghill was the first U.S. importer of the Dingo (Wild Dog of Australia). The Dingo was used for the purpose of breeding because it possessed the important traits of great endurance in hot weather with  less barking that was needed for the control of herds of wild hogs and cattle.

He imported and registered the Australian Cattle dog Queensland Heeler years before the AKC recognized it. He was the first to register the Australian Shepherd; he helped the Australian Shepherd Club of America to organize (ASCA); he organized the English Shepherd Club of  America (ESCOA), which was located in the same building where ARF is now operated.

In his early twenties, he wrote booklets for feed companies on how to raise turkeys, etc. Also, throughout his long career, he wrote articles for farm and ranch magazines. Frequently, he was featured in "The Dallas Morning News", as well as rural publications.

Tom D. Stodghill was tall and lean, standing 6' - 2", and spoke in a slow-Texas manner. His ever optimistic personality and willingness to help others made him a favorite among his many customers, friends, and family. He received his early training in animal breeding and developed a life long interest in genetics from his uncle, Dr. Edward B. Dromgoole, his mother's brother, who was a veterinarian at Mart, Texas, for many years. Once he was asked how he would like to be remembered. He replied, "I want to be remembered as someone who liked people and enjoyed helping them." Mr. Stodghill was continually working toward educating and improving the working conditions of the ranchers stockman and the dependability of the four-footed ranch hand. Most of his writings were of an educational nature. Texas A & M professors and students frequently consulted with Mr. Stodghill throughout the years and sought his advice on animal breeding programs and training. He developed the famous ARF Clockwise Breeding Program that created some of the most desirable traits in stock dogs. The chart was published in Dog World Magazine and the ARF Cowdog Magazine. It can be found in many libraries concerning breeding discoveries, as well as a textbook for veterinary students in Mexico who study Zoo Technics, and for the ordinary layman who loves dogs.

The 455-page textbook is titled "El Maravilloso Mundo Do Los Perros" (The Marvelous World of Dogs) and was written by Dr. Irene Joyce Blank. The book was published in Spanish in 1975 and contains numerous photos and a great deal of information about Tom D. Stodghill.

Over thirty other registries have attempted to imitate the ARF, but long-time customers stay loyal because of the organization's dependability. Mr. Stodghill used the phrase: "ARF is often imitated, but never duplicated."

Mr. Stodghill worked a long day... 14 to 18 hours a day up until his tragic death at near 86 years old.  When his family encouraged him to work shorter hours and take a few days off, he would reply, "My work is not work to me. I enjoy every minute I am in my office or talking with my many friends. I don't need time off from what I love".

 

 

 

 

 

A TRIBUTE TO DAD

(Written five years prior to his death) 

Tom D. Stodghill, 1903-1989 

“MY DAD – THEY DON’T MAKE THEM LIKE THEY USED TO” 

By 

WILL ALLEN STODGHILL JAMESON

 

“As a rule a man’s a fool.
When it’s hot he wants it cool.
When it’s cool he wants it hot.
He’s always wanting what is not.”

The first time I heard this little poem was from my father’s lips.  And it is also the one I remember best of the many poems he would recite almost nightly.  I can still hear him call, “Come, children. It’s almost bedtime.”  He would be sitting in a large oak rocker waiting for us to crowd onto his lap.  Dad’s long lean arms would press each of us children tightly against his chest before he began his ritual of reciting poetry – many of our favorites over and over again at our insistence. 

My sister, Helen, two years my junior, Clinton, fourteen months younger than Helen, and I never tired of Dad’s repertoire of poetry.  Jean, the youngest by seven years, missed out on some of our earliest family happenings. 

When I was five years old, and the BIG DEPRESSION had begun to take a death’s grip on our nation, my family lived on a dry-land farm near Flat Top Mountain in West Texas.  Dad must have been around twenty-eight years of age and Mother twenty-one.  Dad had made a valiant effort to scratch out a crop that year, but the drought took its toll and left us “wanting”.  Squash was the only vegetable that thrived in Mother’s garden that spring.  Youthful optimism still throbbed in my parents’ hearts even though hot winds continued to whip the last few blades of life from our crops, leaving only dry, powered earth naked to the elements. 

The day Dad’s old red truck gave up the ghost was a grievous day for him.  Heat waves undulating across parched croplands failed to discourage him from striking out on foot to the nearest railroad track.  Dad hoped to catch a freight train some five miles from our home and ride it into Snyder, a distance of about twenty-five miles, where he could buy new parts for the failed truck.  When he reached the blacktop highway next to the railroad tracks, he saw a gang of hot, sweating men building a new highway.  He soon realized that the men were without drinking water or anything to relieve the heat of the day.  Dad spoke with the foreman and made a deal to haul fresh well water daily to the work site, and also landed a job for himself as rock inspector.  My parents were also filling other needs of the highway crew.  Mother had several guinea hens and a good size flock of chickens.  She soon had those fat birds boiled and made into hearty sandwiches for the next day. 

Once Dad took Helen and me with him while he worked on the highway. We sat alone most of the day in the back of our truck waiting for Dad to finish his day’s work.  We sold sandwiches, soda pop, and cookies to the men who were fortunate enough to have any money.  Dad cautioned us, “Now, girls, don’t eat the cookies.  They’re for sale.”  We did not eat a single cookie. 

Helen and I thought it a great adventure to sit in the shade of the truck and watch the men work.  For our amusement, I often created stories to entertain Helen and would give her my sagely five-year-old advice as I saw it.  Helen was my gentle little shadow and a great listener, hanging onto my every word.  When I did not really understand, I created the story to fit the occasion.  I recall once explaining to her that shredded wheat was made from straw.  After all, I reasoned, it looked like straw.  And I halfway believed it myself. 

Two years later when we were living near Dunn, a tiny West Texas farming community, the government had begun to pay ranchers and farmers to kill their cattle in order to reduce the supply of beef in the nation.  Hopefully, this in turn would increase the price of beef.  Uncle Johnny and Aunt Nora, my father’s sister, and family lived on the farm next to ours.  We were visiting them one early morning after Uncle Johnny had reluctantly slaughtered several of his milk cows.  Helen and I sneaked out to the barn and saw a large dead Jersey cow.  I bravely took one of her rigid udders in my hand and pressed out a few drops of milk.  I later overheard Dad telling Mother, “I’ll never kill our cows and watch them rot in the sun while there are millions of people hungry in this country.  We’ll “can” our cows first.”  I do not know how we survived without the government money that year, but Dad never relented.  Somehow we “made do”. 

Shortly thereafter, Dad started a dairy.  We were living about three miles outside of Snyder by this time.  Dad had previously opened a small grocery store, and sold fresh milk and butter through the store.  He also planted a crop of grain and cotton that spring.  Once when the store had a surplus of butter, Dad persuaded Helen and me into going door-to-door to sell “fresh, home-made butter” to friendly housewives.  Naturally, they quickly snatched up these bargains, but my Mother was very put-out with Dad’s creative selling idea. 

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”, Dad often warned us.  My parents always had a “fear” of having to ask for public assistance as many of our neighbors did during those “squally” times.  To be unable to care for one’s family and self was the biggest sin Dad and Mother could comprehend, and they worked from five in the morning until way past ten at night, seven days a week.  We never took vacations: Dad did not feel that we needed one. 

I also recall another time Dad had a unusually large supply of apples on hand in the store that was getting over-ripe.  He loaded about ten bushels onto his truck and headed towards the nearest busy highway.  Soon he stopped his truck, got out and hung a large sign on the tailgate: “Apples for Sale”.  All the apples were sold by dark.

I looked forward to meeting Dad at his store during my school lunch-break.  I can still taste that sweet, rich cream that floated at the top third of the milk bottles.  Dad and I would drink a quart of milk with our lunches. 

Dad was never long on giving advice to his children.  Once during my teen years when I was considering dating a certain young man he did not care for, his only comment stays with me today.  “I thought you could do better than him.”,  Dad muttered under his breath.  I never did care for that fellow afterwards. 

“Anyone can make a lot of money if he works at it.”, Dad always said, “But what’s more important in life is that every person make a contribution to mankind before his death.”  His philosophy often flashes before me when I am asked to give of my time to my church, to charity and to community affairs, and I find it difficult to refuse. 

Dad’s most endearing trait, when I was a child, was his quiet patience with me.  I would ask him, “Why, Daddy, why?  Why does the wind blow?  Why do roosters chase hens?  Who made God?” and other child’s questions. 

When he was going to town, I often sneaked into his truck beside him before he knew I was there.  I wanted Daddy all to myself for a while.  Too, I knew I could put all of my soul-searching questions to him one by one, and he would not laugh at me.  His answers were always serious, and I found them satisfying, not an easy job for a father who has a daughter who always wanted to know the who-where-what-when-and-why of almost everything. 

I recall the beautiful relationship Dad had with his mother, a truly fine Southern lady.  My grandmother always had complete confidence in him, no matter what he did.  Grandmother visited us often and helped Dad in his office by answering his business letters when he was too busy to write prompt replies.  “Mama could always compose the best letters of anyone.”, Dad always bragged.  Grandmother was of the old school of thought that having sons was the ultimate goal of a woman’s life.  She was close to her three daughters, but her three sons were her glory. 

Members of Grandmother’s family often visit her grave and take flowers, but Dad never makes these visits.  “I gave Mama flowers while she lived.”, he quietly explains.  “Visiting a grave is useless.  Only the living matter.”  With moisture clouding his clear blue eyes, Dad once advised me, “Hon, give your flowers and love to the living.  That is what counts.” 

Even though I have long since left my parents’ home, Dad still greets me with a big bear hug when I visit.  Sometimes, just for a fleeting moment, I wish I could again become a child and creep onto Dad’s warm lap and listen to him recite his poems as my sister, Jean, rolls curlers into his hair.  With the curlers still in his hair, Dad would many times don his old Stetson.  A slow grin would spread across his tanned features when he made his discovery, sometimes hours later.  “One day you’re going to attend church with curlers in your hair, if you don’t watch out”, we often teased. 

An important legacy my Dad has given me is a belief in myself.  He always encouraged me to do whatever I felt I was big enough to tackle, and I have done just that!  Dad always told me that being a girl would never be a drawback in life, but is an asset.  “After all, girls are smarter than boys.”, he once whispered in my ear, as if it were just “our” secret. 

Dad’s black curly hair is now a forgotten memory.  Only a fragile fringe remains that is as white and soft as new fallen snow.  His once azure eyes are faded and opaque as washed-out jeans, and tears often glisten momentarily when he recalls sweet memories. 

“I can’t seem to recall the hard times in my life.”, Dad said, when I asked him if he would write the story of his life and to be sure and include some trials and tribulations that he has been through.  “Only the happy times seem to remain in my mind as I grow older.”, he smiled, “And I guess that is the way it should be.”  Then he turned and gazed into the distance as if he could see yesterday as clearly as today.  He was silent for the longest time, memories flooding his mind.  I, too, remained silent as I shared only a shadow of some of his memories. 

Dad’s years are now great, and he no longer stands as the arrow, but his fertile mind remains strong and clear, and his thoughts and plans are still full of tomorrow.