Change Lives

Change Lives

Friday, 2 October 2015

Official Statement & The Launch Of SHAK Club.....

Statement from Stephen Wylie (Founder and Chairman of SHAK.)

"Running a charity like SHAK and the pressures it brings really is incredibly stressful. The dream that I had all those years ago of 'simply helping dogs' has grown beyond even my wildest dreams, but with that growth and reputation for helping the dogs that nobody else will, there also comes the heavy burden of keeping it all running. My day so often now gets bogged down with all the other worries that I guess only people who run their own businesses or other charities really understand.....

The support that firstly I received when I started this, and then the support my team has received as we've moulded SHAK into what you now know, has quite simply been amazing. We couldn't do what we do without your support. Likewise there wouldn't be a SHAK without the hard work, dedication and sacrifices myself and my team have committed too. WE NEED THAT HELP TO CONTINUE.

I think now is a very good time to mention that SHAK does not and never will have a Facebook page, or a page on any other social media website (the Twitter account is dormant.) We have tried in the past but it became to much. We were accessible, and requests to take dogs along with the messages threatening that 'dogs will be destroyed' was simply too much for me or our facilities to cope. However, and this is a very important point, individuals do cross post things on social media from this site, whilst others run fantastic fundraising pages, the value of that exposure and promotion on such sites is vital, I understand that, and really do appreciate the effort put in and the funds these supporters raise! Again our existence would be in doubt without them.

You maybe wondering where all this is going? What is he rambling on about? Quite simply put, SHAK the charity has grown too big for myself, the kennel staff and the existing volunteers, and the fundraising team to keep going at the rate we are. We need help, but we need the right help. Help with the things that we need the most..... More money for us to expand and improve our facilities, more money so we can hire more staff. The demand for us to take dogs is now plural on a daily basis. We simply do not have the spaces, resources or man power to take the charity to the next step that it seems destined to reach. Having become so specialised and building up our reputation nationwide, we need help to continue to grow, and we need the help now.

You will of seen the adverts for volunteers on the 'Opportunities To Join Our Team' page, those positions still need filled. However, I have to emphasise that only people that can meet the criteria will be considered. We also need help with every other aspect of the the work SHAK does, and that is the whole point of this statement.....

Today see's the launch of SHAK Club..... At first it may not seem much, but SHAK Club is my way of communicating with SHAK supporters and letting them know exactly what help is needed and how they can help. Originally starting off as an Emailing list, SHAK Club will keep you up to date with Change Lives appeals, things we are desperate for (whether its at the kennels or medication, specialist food etc for example) new merchandise and gifts, all official fundraising events and so much more. As SHAK is well into its 10th year, I feel it would be really appropriate to connect with our supporters by sharing what we really need and offer. The good and the bad. 

We are all working so hard to keep this running. There are some really exciting plans in place that will hopefully come to fruition in the not too distant future, as myself, the fundraising team and the PR people we now have on board look to really push us forward and establish SHAK as a charity nationwide. I believe we really are at a pivotal point in the charities existence, time to push to the next level, we cannot keep operating within the bottleneck we currently find ourselves.

So..... whats the next step? HOW CAN YOU HELP? Easy..... email to register to be on our emailing list. It is as simple as that, and that way you will be the first to know what is happening, but also what we need the most. That way, hopefully you will be able to help. 

Once again, thank you for your continued support, but also for taking the time to read this statement. SHAK Club is an exciting prospect, be great to have you come along for the ride....."

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A New Arrival Brings His Mates.....

I don't usually post dogs that have just arrived, and are still serving their seven days as a stray, but I just can't keep this video to myself. This poor boy is a dog that was found locally and absolutely riddled with flea's. Excuse the poor quality of recording we were literally trying to capture as much as we could whilst trying to treat him and deal with his wriggling.....

If you recognise this dog, or know who he is owner is then please get in touch with the Animal  Welfare Team at Northumberland Council.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Three Amigo's.....

Had a great walk last week with some great friends..... Moby, Daisy and Maisie. 

I love these photographs, especially the one where Maisie is resting on Moby's head as if to say "I'm here!"

Bubbles Making Friends.....

I know I show Star at work on here quite a bit, but she really is incredible.  You have to remember she was booked into the vets to be destroyed for being aggressive, and that when she arrived after I stopped her being killed she came with a reputation of being dog aggressive.....

Big handsome Bubbles is the opposite, other dogs terrify him. Seeing photos like this are so priceless I cannot describe how massive a step this is for him.....

Sunday, 27 September 2015

A Year On For Hannah.....

I really can't believe it was a year ago yesterday since we lost our little old girl Hannah. So much has happened in those twelve months, but I can still see her wandering away in the fields here in the way she did. Oblivious to everything,  but knowing she was loved.....

Tonight me and my family are coming to terms with losing one of the SHAK dogs we foster, and also a great big character. You may remember Hannah's story, but if not I have added the video of her arrival below. She was, it would appear, dumped on a busy A Road. Getting on in years, practically blind, it was a miracle she wasn't ploughed into by a vehicle.

As soon as I saw her I knew she had to come home with me, and just a few days after losing SHAK's original Grandma Ava, we had found another. I guess none of us expected Hannah to be with us as long as she was, but in those 4 months I'd like to think she had a great time and felt safe.

Yesterday she collapsed and we rushed her to the vets, it looked as is if an infection had somehow taken over her, possibly blocking her lymph nodes with something more sinister, however after a night on strong pain relief, antibiotics and methadone she didn't show any signs of recovering. Like in old people she was simply too weak to fight what ever it was that was attacking her.

I will never forget Hannah, she kept me going when I needed it after losing Oskar and Ava so close. At that time I certainly gained more from the relationship than she did, but then all she wanted was a comfy bed and some food!! She wasn't a cuddly dog, but in time she learnt to accept my need for a quick hug every now and then, and eventually I think she even grew to like them. My lasting ever memory of her will be her wandering in the field here, minding her own business and looking happy..... despite her blindness and stiff joints, that was her.

We will all miss her dearly, and we're pleased we were here for her, but most of all we feel lucky to of been able to share her final 4 months.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Sandy Update.....

Thought you might like to see how Sandy is doing with her foster brother,  our very own Tigger!  As you can see she is fully healed, and has put on weight. She is gaining confidence on a daily basis, and really becoming her own little character.

Lucie and Frank are doing a brilliant job getting this little girls life back on track, although in her case it was never really on track in the first place, for which we are all really grateful. However,  Sandy still needs a full time place to call her own, a Forever home. If you'd like more info on how you can offer Sandy that, then please email

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Oh No! He's Back!....

David was back yesterday after a holiday. What do you think of that Cheech?....


"No way! He's back?!?"

 And what do you think Lenny? Got a message for him.....

"Just messing Dad!....."
 Seriously though, it was straight back into as he and Melissa carried on with a pairing Melissa and myself had been working on..... Maddie and Sam!

New SHAK Prints Available To Buy Now.....

"Telling a story within a photograph is what Stephen Wylie does BRILLIANTLY!

SHAK – The Sanctuary aim is to raise awareness of the plight of Abused, 
Mistreated and Neglected Dogs. Every single penny helps SHAK Dogs in Need 
and so much more needs to be done."

S Ballantyne, Crowther Ballantyne Associates

Pictures say a million words. A 6x9 Print in 12x8 mount, 
showing the story that is SHAK - The Sanctuary.

All photos's taken by Stephen Wylie with a quote to make you think a little.....

"He Is Your Friend....."

"The Bars That Bind....."

"The Loss When They're Gone....."

"The Love Of A Dog....."

"The Pain Of Being Discarded....."

"The Privilege Of Running Free....."

"The World Through Their Eyes....."

At the moment they are only available through the official SHAK fundraising stall or SHAK Shop, although several retail outlets are expressing an interest. In the meantime you can order yours via the link below:


And please remember EVERY PENNY from the sales of these go back into the charity to help the dogs.

"I'd like to thank the people who gave me the confidence to produce these prints, and hope they may mean a little bit to you as well as meaning a whole load to me. " Stephen Wylie.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sunset With Laser.....

I enjoyed a lovely walk on Friday night with Laser, watching the sun go down over Simonside. Laser was at the vets just a couple of weeks ago and old age and arthritis has caught him up.

We've changed his medication which seems to be helping him, and as you can see he is still enjoying just pottering around and catching the late sunshine.....

Monday, 14 September 2015

The New GSD Club.....

Following on from the post of Star working her magic with Taz, here they both are with little Tia. All three of these dogs had vets appointments made to be destroyed because of issues they had. Seeing the three of them help each other like this really is incredible.....

It's so reminiscent of the old GSD Club where my Oskar helped Star and Kai over come some of their issues with dogs. Now Star is helping others and making her dad very proud!

Tia, Star and Taz

Sunday, 13 September 2015

And 5 Years On Since We Lost Mama.....

After losing Doyle on Friday its hard to believe it's 5 years today since we lost the biggest (in every sense of the word) dog SHAK has ever had. Mama Bear passed away in her kennel 5 hours before she was due to go into a foster home, and two days before she was due for surgery to remove mammary tumours.

Having arrived from the Midlands where she'd been a stray, she quickly won over the hearts of everyone, we were all desperate to see her through to better times, but it just wasn't to be.

The photo's above weren't staged, she literally decided she wanted to sit on my knee. At over 60kg she took some getting off. Still what a hug.

Nobody that was lucky enough to meet you Bear will ever forget you. I just wish we'd got you sooner. I'll see you at Rainbow Bridge for another hug one day.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

We Lose Our BIG Friend.....

I'm sitting here this morning totally shell shocked as last night we lost one of the biggest dogs and biggest characters we've ever had. Doyle was a huge in every way, and I guess in every sense Doyle was SHAK.

Rescued with his brother Bodie from a disused scrapyard that had been his home for the last 8 and a half years, and less than 24 hours from receiving a bullet in his head, Doyle's turnaround and his ability to not only trust people again, but to enjoy life was something I think we're all very proud to of witnessed and been part of.

Deemed dog aggressive, Doyle spent the last 6 months or so sharing his kennel with Anja, and when CDRM started to take hold, she stuck to his side like glue. Even when he was in his wheel chair or harness. Such was the magnetic pull of him.

Both of these pieces of equipment changed his life, in fact they even extended it, and I'd like to thank my team for supporting me in trying them out and having faith. On Thursday Doyle was out the back playing with his boomer ball like he did everyday. Yesterday he was more lethargic than normal, he got more subdued throughout the day, and come play time he just didn't have the energy. After checking the colour of his gums I knew we were in trouble.

Moorview Vets were again simply sensational in fitting him in, dealing with him and keeping us posted as to what was happening and why. Explaining how one thing would effect another, and what steps they could do depending on the results.

A scan and blood tests were the first step. However after the scan we knew we could go no further. Doyle was suffering from horrendous internal bleeding. Both his liver and spleen were riddled with tumours. He had been so brave battling on for so long, but then Doyle always did.

He slept away, his head in my hands and our foreheads touching. Paul, Rachel and Janet had travelled to be with him too, such was the love for an amazing boy. The sheer size of becoming so much more apparent when he was resting so peacefully. He had been brilliant for the vets and lay awake throughout all the tests, but you could see in his eyes he was so tired.

I want to say so much about how much I loved this dog, how much I learnt from him. We all did. He and Bodie proved the world wrong, proved that scrapyard dogs didn't have to be treated like the scrap they had protected, proved a charity like SHAK could  AND HAS TO exist. The memories are whirling around my head now that I really can't seem to get it all down. Maybe I can share them another time.....

Doyle when he arrived.

With my Oskar. Both died of spleen tumours.

Happy in his wheels.....