Change Lives

Change Lives

Monday, 25 March 2019

Thank You From Midas.....

I'd just like to thank everyone who has donated towards Midas's vets bill and on going treatment.  The response has been fantastic,  so thank you all very much.

Midas is being so brave and is still out and about enjoying himself. Liesa sent me this photo of him on a walk at the weekend, standing so proud and handsome.

We will of course provide Midas with medication and anything else that he needs, we really do not know what the future holds.

If you would like to donate, you can via the PayPal link below. Please mark the donation 'For Midas'

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

URGENT..... Midas Needs Our Help Now.....

Every now and then a dog comes along who's story breaks your heart, abused or mistreated, we do everything we can to help them.

When Midas arrived I knew there was only one person who could help him to the level he needed, one person who would be able to cope with all the ailments he had suffered from the years of horrific abuse.

Our good friend Liesa came forward and offered him a the world, he had just landed in the most amazing place. As I set off to drive him the long journey to his new home,  I thought his life had finally begun.

Life has a habit though of being cruel. I'll pass you across to Liesa to tell you his story:

Midas was rescued 4 years ago, having been dumped over fencing in an electrical compound. He was starving and covered in sores and muck. judging by his condition he had been kept in a crate of some kind smaller than his size. He had a curved spine indicating having to lay in a small space for long periods, he also had bald patches on his shoulders where we presume they had been pressed on the ceiling of the crate whenever he stood upright. He had clearly been abused due to his fear of brooms and mops and still to this day is frightened of a garden hose.

Despite the horrors he had been through he showed only affection to any human who paid him attention, wanting nothing more than to be loved and give love in return.

 During his period of recovery it was noted he had a wayward eye that moved out of place, this condition could be congenital or an indication of previous head trauma. It was noticed that his back legs weren't quite right and his slipping knee caps where discovered and would likely require surgery in the future if the condition worsened. His teeth displayed evidence to the longstanding malnourishment he had endured during the estimated 3 years of his life this far.

Some weeks of love, good food and proper care were given resulting in a steady weight gain and a slow improvement to his irritated skin. He went in for neutering and a dental and came back minus his scab covered testicles and teeth now free of brown covered plaque.

Midas was nothing more than just another big black bull breed cross of some variety. A dog who suffered skin allergies, food allergies, ongoing vet bills with the probability of needing major surgery to his legs in the future. He needed special care costing more than your average dog. This made him un-homeable. He was placed in permanent foster to ensure his life would never be anything less than a truly loved member of a family where he has shared a bed with a human ever since. Played ball with a boy and snuggled with many a dog he befriended.

Now 4 years on this happy loving boy has just been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and a faulty heart valve after being rushed to an out of hours vet in the early hours of Saturday morning struggling to breath, further investigations were carried out as he was not responding to treatment as expected and sadly a mass was discovered in front of and wrapping around his heart. Euthanasia  is all that awaits him... The tears and absolute shock to know this loving boy would not be living to a ripe old age has hit hard and the prospect of watching the life drain from his friendly bright and beautiful eyes has been to much to bare.

Amazingly he stabilised after oxygen therapy, diuretics to drain some fluid build up in his chest and a drug to help his heart pump. Instead of having to let him go he was able to be brought home to experience more of the life he deserves. How long for, hours, days, weeks... no one knows, but he is still living. Still eating. Still lifting his leg for belly rubs. It's not his time just yet!

Sitting on his favourite bench in the garden he takes in a little bit of sunshine just like he has done during his 4 years here. Although he is weaker, he is still happy and content. As I sit next to him with tears streaming (knowing our time is now so very brief) he licks the tears from my cheeks. We comfort each other. He is to me a big black magnificent bull breed handsome cross who is more than I ever could have hoped for, a true friend.

How anyone could ever have abused him is beyond comprehension. Please know that he will be loved right to the end and will not be left to suffer in any way.

We are all so proud of Midas and Liesa for being so strong and fighting to live, but unfortunately like everything this has come at a price.  The vets have been amazing, but being out of hours we now have a huge bill of  £1,361.92. £200 has already been paid, leaving us with an outstanding balance of £1,161.92.

Midas is worth every penny of that bill and will also need expensive medication for as long as we have the fortune of his company. This is where once again we are calling on your fantastic support.

If you would like to help us pay the vets bill that saved Midas's life and to pay towards the medication he needs on a daily basis you can do it via:


Please mark for Midas in the notes when you make a payment.

Thank you so much. I know he is in the best hands possible and that everything will be done for him. Hes had the best 4 years of his life, but he deserves so many more.....

Monday, 18 March 2019

Loads On Instagram.....

Been a massive ten days for Molly. Pictures and videos on our Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Friday, 15 March 2019


Dino and me are very proud of my very special team that hit a magical figure today. 365 days in a row (that's one year!!!!) Our dogs have been out at least twice a day. No matter what has been thrown our way, the dedication and commitment of the team to achieve this has been fantastic!

Thank you all so much. We can all be proud!

Friday, 8 March 2019

Molly Looking For Somewhere To Call Her Own.....

I think we are all very much aware that over the years dogs have become fashion items, with breeds replacing designer labels as the must have accessory. We see the stars with certain kinds of dogs or one appears in a Hollywood movie and then that breed is suddenly seen everywhere. Everyone wants them. Of course we have the smaller breeds like Pugs and French Bulldogs but one breed in particular that I can see beginning to struggle because of a rapid rise in popularity is Husky's.

Undeniably beautiful, I think the resemblance to wolves attracts a lot of people, but in my opinion it is often forgotten that these are highly intelligent, sociable working dogs. Being locked in a house on their own whilst their owner works for hours on end is always a difficult situation for the dog to understand.

We have a perfect example with us of how much the wrong environment can really affect a dog for the rest of its life. From the history we know Molly suffers from severe separation anxiety. Not her fault, she had been passed from pillar to post before when took her in as a stray. She loves people and just wants to be with them all the time. Although we think she is a Husky cross Akita, you can clearly see all the Husky traits, with her desperation to work and look after her toys.

I think she needs a home where she will not be left (I know that's a tough ask) and where she has company of another dog. Introduced correctly to the right dog she is very playful and often instigates the games.

She is so clever that it is sad seeing her in kennels, but we will only let her go to the right home. She has been let down by so many people in the past that the next move has to be the right one. If you would like to know more about Molly then please send a telephone number to

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Ged Doing Great.....

You may remember a couple of years ago we received into our care a very frightened Staffy who was in horrendous condition and had his collar wedged around his body like a sash. It had been there so long that it had become engrained into his fur and the leather had taken the shape of his body contours.

Understandably he was very defensive and wouldn't allow anybody to touch him. With time though I was able to cut the collar off and once he realised I was trying to help him, he relaxed his guard a little.

At the time the BBC's Inside Out were looking to do a programme on us, Geds story fitted perfectly and showed his progression and how despite everything he was willing to trust us.

Fast forward a couple of years and I thought it would be nice to give you a little update on how Ged is doing and share his amazing progress.

Whilst he is still very wary of strangers, who can blame him, he goes out with an ever expanding team of handlers for his walks every day. He thinks the world of his girlfriend, the very special Eden, whilst feed time is definitely his favourite time of the day!

I am so proud of how he has adapted and honoured that he has trusted us all to look after him, it all could have been so different.

Whilst I think moving to a home environment would possibly be too much for him, he is a huge success story in his own right and one I am extremely proud of!

For those who missed it, here's the BBC piece.....

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Over £1,000 In The First 24 Hours.....

A quick update on the appeal.... at 1pm so exactly 24 hours in the balance was..... £1052.05.

Sensational, Thank you all so much. Please spread the word and ask family and friends to continue to support.....

An Amazing Response.....

I have to say your response to the £2 appeal has been absolutely incredible. We have haven't even completed the first 24 hours yet and already the balance is an amazing..... £955.50

It would be amazing if we could break £1,000 by one o'clock today!

Thank you all again, this much needed financially boost will make such a difference.

Of course you can still donate if you haven't done so already via the link below:

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Can You Spare £2.....

I tried to explain in my previous post how tough a month February is, as the amount of dogs needing help soars out of control. We help as many of the most desperate ones as we can, but our resources are so pushed it is very difficult.

As I'm sure is the case with everybody this time of year,  finances are at a low too and we desperately need them to keep coming in to allow us to continue our work.

On our Facebook page we have have over 6,700 followers, all greatly appreciated for following what we do. However, today we are asking for a little bit more.

Could you afford to give £2 as a one off donation? If all our followers on Facebook did we would raise over £13,400. A massive amount of money at the time we need it the most.

If you could make such a gift it's easy to do. Just follow the PayPal link below:

Our dogs don't ask for much, your kindness at this time of year could really make a difference.

Bruce helping me with the donations this morning.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

February Is The Cruelest Month.....

I think every body presumes that January is the time the post Christmas kick outs occur, the Christmas puppies or the dog bought for the family that simply hasn't worked out. However, all my years in this 'industry' tells me that February is the cruelest month. This year hasn't proved any different.

Maybe it takes a little longer for the fad to wear off, and the expense of Christmas finally catches up after being left short after the first payday, I really don't know.

At the moment I am receiving so many phonecalls and emails from people wanting to give up on their dog. I even had one yesterday entitled 'Unwanted Dog.' This was written by somebody about their pet.....

I think here is a good point to emphasise once again that being such a small charity with resources stretched beyond belief, that we simply cannot get involved with members of the public. This is due to the workload we have with the 70+ dogs in our care at anyone time. I do not even have the time to reply to such correspondence.  It is not out of ignorance, just the need outweighing the reality.

Since the end of January we have taken in some really sad cases,  which again adds to our workload, but for one especially the vets needle was the only other option. One didn't get on with the new puppy brought into the house, one turned up as a stray emaciated and riddled with fleas. She's not even a year old. You get the picture.....

Why am I telling you all of this? I just want people to understand the pressure that we are always under, but especially this time of year. The weather obviously makes things even more difficult, sometimes it is a real struggle.

Look at the faces below though, at just thirteen and eleven months, we were their only option.....

Of course you can help in many ways. Please keep your wonderful donations coming, or if you have time to spare and are interested in helping our severely under pressure team then please send a contact number to

Thank you.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Instagram Updates.....

There's a lot been happening. Check out our Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Instagram is a much easier format for us to upload these videos and photos and, it's specifically designed for visual media. Signing is simple..... Duke can do it with his eyes closed!

Enzo Still Looking.....

Another that we have been looking for a suitable home for without success is Enzo. Big and beautiful, he has really come on leaps and bounds since arriving emaciated and covered with fleas.

He recently shared his kennel with Luna, who I am delighted to say has moved on to a new home, whilst his current flat mate is little Rex.

Both dogs were neutered last week which resulted in me spending a little bit more one on one time with them. They were both incredible, but I really did see the soft and loving side of Enzo.

He is a very tall lad and please don't under estimate his strength because of his lanky frame. We believe him to be a Greyhound cross German Shepherd, so experience of either breed would be advantageous. Walking him in the dark also made me suspect that he has been 'worked' at some point, so we are looking for a home with no small furry pets and no small children. We also don't rehome to working homes.

If you would like to offer Enzo a home then please email a contact number to and someone will be in touch in due course.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Bully Makes The Front Page.....

Thank you to the Northumberland Gazette for putting Bully on the front page, and good luck Evie!!!


Some mixed reactions to the snow on our Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Monday, 14 January 2019

Two Boys Still Looking.....

At the start of December we had a run of appeals looking for homes for four of our older boys. I'm delighted to say that Dinky found his home and that Rusty has since moved onto another rescue with a bigger rehoming programme and is doing exceptionally well.

For Bully and Oscar though it was another Christmas spent in our kennels and, as we are now half way through January I thought we could start looking again for Oscar and Bully.

I think it's fair to say that when he joined us, Oscar was a real handful. He'd been seperated from his mother too early and I think the socialisation he missed from his mother in those couple of weeks really effected his behaviour later in life.

Having recently turned 11 he has really settled down and, although age is definately begin to show itself, he is still a very active and strong boy.

So we are looking for somebody that MUST have German Shepherd experience and to make things easier for Oscar we would like a home with no other dogs or children.

Bully has been with us  a long time now and despite being a bit of a villian when he arrived, he has always been everyone's favourite.

However,  time catches up with us all and Bully is no exception. So, we are looking to find him a home with someone who has experience and understands how difficult the transition from kennel life to the outside world can be.

To make this transition easier for Bully we insist on an environment with no other dogs, animals or children.

If you'd like to known more about how you can join the Forever Foster Scheme and offer a loving home to either of these very special boys, then please email a contact number to and somebody will give you a call.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Free SHAK Gift This Weekend.....

I think everybody understands how bleak and difficult January is after all the festivities and build up to Christmas. Money is tight for everyone and getting back to a working routine is a chore in itself.

However, I have to say your support and commitment to the shop since we reopened after New Year has been amazing.  Sales and donations are still rolling in and out, meaning we are raising funds on a regular basis which is critical to us surviving at this time of year.

As a small thank you we have decided to offer a 'free SHAK gift' with every purchase this Friday and Saturday.  Nothing massive, just a small token of our appreciation for your on going support.

Thank you!

The SHAK Shop.
12 Bowes Street
NE24 1EB

Monday, 7 January 2019

Way To Go Frankie!....

Find out why this picture is so special. Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Looking For A New Start In 2019?....

So that's the festive season over for another year,  meaning we are trying to get back to out normal routines. Not that things differ much around here because of Christmas anyway.
By 9.30 on the day after Boxing day I recieved the first call from a vet with a dog booked into be destroyed, whilst strays are also making an appearance.

One thing the holidays has shown us is that we still really do need to strengthen both our voluntary teams at the kennels and on the retail side. Both can't function without the other, so any help on either level would make a great difference.
All we ask for is a commitment of a 3 hour shift at the kennels just north of Alnwick and a 4 hour shift at the shop which is based in Blyth.

So if one of your new years resolutions is to get fitter, or do some charity work, then why not become involved with us and help us to save even more lives?
If you are interested then please forward a telephone number to and someone will be in touch in due course.

Thank you in advance.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Happy New Year.....

A thought as we all move into a new year.....

Sunday, 30 December 2018


News of a new arrival that needs work and an update on Dinky plus more..... All on our instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas.....

I can't believe Christmas has come around again, it only  seems like five minutes since we were preparing for it last year. It has been a big year for us with so many up and downs, some really happy endings and some really sad arrivals, big changes and big plans for the future.
One thing that hasn't faltered has been the extremely generous support from the members of the public, from helping the dogs to every body getting behind our new shop and making it a huge success.
Once again the build up to Christmas has been incredible with some great generosity and fantastic donations of food, bedding and money. All of which are essential in us being able to continue our work and give the dogs the best we can.
I'd also like to thank every body who has supported us throughout the year as what we do is a 365 day operation, and that support is essential especially through the leaner months of February and March.

Our dogs don't ask for much, they've never had anything before, but being able to spoil them and give them some special at this time of year really means a lot. So to the staff, volunteers and you guys.…. Thank you and Merry Christmas.


Thursday, 20 December 2018

Shop Christmas Opening Hours.....



Sunday, 16 December 2018

Magical Moment For Eden.....

An absolutely magical moment happened right now..... Eden off lead (properly) for the first time in her whole life.....

Video on Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Updates On Instagram.....

Another week of some great progress and updates on our Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Monday, 10 December 2018

HUGE Progress For Eden.....

Just had an amazing experience with little Eden, as I put a long lead on her and just let her loose.....

She clearly didn't know what was happening and followed me everywhere, but I think she enjoyed it. The look on her face when I put her back in her kennel was as if to say "What's just happened?!?!?" Totally priceless.

So proud of her, and of course Ged who also made the step to being off lead for the first time!

Friday, 7 December 2018

Can You Help Dinky?....

I know recently that I have posted a few oldies we are still actively looking for homes for, but this week we have had another old boy arrive who is breaking everybody's hearts.

Dinky is 9 years old and has lost his home because his owners health had deteriorated and he was unable to look after him anymore. A sad story in itself,  but even worse was that his breed seemed to go against him when it came to finding him somewhere to go. That's when we stepped in.

Dinky is a super boy who loves everyone. Even though he has never been socialised with other dogs he sees them as something very exciting in the new world he has had to discover.  You can see him making friends on our Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Kennels is an alien environment for this old boy and we really are looking to try and find him somewhere so he doesn't stay here too long. He deserves better. If you are interested in offering Dinky a place please email

Monday, 3 December 2018

Instagram Updates.....

Just a little reminder that there is a load.of updates on our Instagram page..... shak_sanctuary_official

Friday, 30 November 2018

Books On The Tyne.....

It was a real pleasure to be invited to Newcastle Library this morning with Rob McGowan to promote both Its A Dog's Life and Worthy of Such Devotion as part of the wonderful Books On Tyne book festival!

A big thank you to Rob for giving up his time, every one in the audience who listened, bought the books and to David Hepworth from the library for making it all happen!

The rest of the festival looks amazing, and I'm very proud to of been part of it!

Both books available at

Monday, 26 November 2018

Looking For Somewhere For Oscar.....

Following our series of appeals for homes for some of our older boys, today we are asking for help with another very special boy who has been here a long time. I think it's fair to say that when he joined us, Oscar was a real handful. He'd been seperated from his mother too early and I think the socialisation he missed from his mother in those couple of weeks really effected his behaviour later in life.

Having recently turned 11 he has really settled down and, although age is definately begin to show itself, he is still a very active and strong boy.

So we are looking for somebody that MUST have German Shepherd experience and to make things easier for Oscar we would like a home with no other dogs or children.

The appeals for Bully and Rusty didn't attract a single enquiry, which is very disheartening, but we know that if we keep trying something will come up for one of our fantastic boys.

If you'd like to express an interest in Oscar, Bully or Rusty please email for an application form.




Wednesday, 21 November 2018

An Unexpected Guest.....

I had an unexpected house guest last night, after Paul and I had to rush Duke to the vets with a very 'delicate' condition!

Duke has been with us a very long time after being severely abused. He was neutered about eight years ago, so for him to suddenly suffer what is known as Paraphimosis was a big shock. Rather than going into too much detail I'll let you Google it, but basically he had an erection that wouldn't go down!

Any way, he didn't take too kindly to being at the vets, and the swelling was so bad that he need a full anaesthetic so the vet could successfully reverse what was going on! Problem being that due to his stressed behaviour he couldn't be hospitalised and clearly couldn't go back into kennels.

So after half past eleven last night, Paul kindly returned to the vets and collected a very sleepy Duke and brought him up to mine. I set him up a nice bed in the utility room and, at 1am, after a little bit of food he settled down for the night.

He was amazing considering he possibly has never ever spent a night in a house, from the history we know he was locked in a yard before we got him, I like to think he enjoyed the break. This morning we had a nice walk in the rain, where he took in all the smells.

It was great to see him so relaxed in such a different environment, especially after such a traumatic start. I'd like to say huge thank you's to Paul and to Helena at Moorview Vets for helping Duke so expertly and being so understanding.