Change Lives

Change Lives

Thursday, 18 December 2014

A Year On For Harvey.....

It was a year ago today that we lost a truly wonderful dog in Harvey, and the pain and heartache is still as raw today. I can't really say more than what I said 12 months ago, other than I know how much his Dad misses him, and how much we miss the greatest 4 legged ambassador we've ever had.....


We received some very sad and shocking news this morning, as we lost one of the best ambassadors SHAK has ever had. Harvey was in a right state when I collected him as a stray, having been dumped on a country road. Skinny, and smelling of urine the first thing I did was bath him!

In Geoff, Harvey landed on his feet, and the two really were inseparable. Geoff taught Harvey so much..... Harvey told Geoff what he would do. It was a match made in heaven. Harvey attended many fundraising events and awareness days, and was always the star of the show, and through welcoming Grace into his home he gave another SHAK German Shepherd the gift of a new start. It wasn't just Grace though, Harvey helped so many other dogs on their way to new hopes and lives as he would welcome any temporary foster dog into his home.

Last night I learned Harvey had been diagnosed with cancer of the liver that had spread to his lungs. Harvey had been so brave he hadn't shown any signs until it was too late.

Harvey was a pleasure to know. He's left behind a Dad who's world has been shattered, and he's left behind a legacy of what a rescue dog can achieve. We are all of proud of him, and miss him so much already.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Buddy's Christmas Miracle?....

I mentioned in a post a couple of  weeks ago a few of the new dogs we'd taken in, and listed their ailments and issues.  In that list I mentioned a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that had suspected neurological problems.  Well, nows the time for you to meet Buddy.....

Buddy was collected by our Out of Hours team and was in a hell of a state. He was very weak to stand, red raw skin,  and despite a horrendously swollen stomach there were clear signs of emaciation. John recognised the dangers of being so swollen amd rushed him to the vet, where upon examination the pressure on his stomach was simply too much and both John and the vet were witness to half digested pizza and kebab meat re-entering this world.

It was clear this wobbly little man had more going on than was immediately obvious,  and after serving 7 days as a stray we took him to our vets for a full neurological examination.  We had treated the skin issue on arrival, but our main concern was his lack of control over his back legs. The tests were inconclusive with out the use of an MRI scan and I'm afraid we simply do not have the £1,500+ needed for the scan itself before any treatment..... But what we didn't need a scan to show was how much of a happy little soul Buddy was.

It was decided that we'd see how he went on anti inflammatory medication and antibiotics and assess at a later date. Medically sorted,  Buddy's life was about to take off.....

Everybody who meets Buddy falls in love with him..... Everybody! But with Melissa it was love at first sight,  and to be honest I don't think David put up much of a fight when she decided to offer him a home. Once there evidence of his back end problems became clear and thanks to some very kind people on line a trial pair of boots and then the funds to buy him his own set were quickly made available to prevent him scuffing and hurting his paws. 

With love and tlc he appears to be getting stronger and walking better. He was well enough to be neutered last week, and now comes to work everyday with his Mam and Dad. I don't know if it's too early for his turn in fortunes to be classed as a Christmas miracle,  but I do know he is one of the most amazing dogs I've ever met.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Our Inspiration.....

I think it's fair to say that there as been a lot of heart searching over the last few weeks as the days seem to get tougher and the dogs keep arriving, all with their own sad tales and all pulling on our heart strings even more. Sometimes I wonder if we can possibly have any heart left,  and many a time I question at least my own sanity.....

However we must have at least a little bit of whatever it is that makes us do this job, as everyday whether it's myself, Melissa or David that opens up we are greeted by the faces that keeping us going.

Melissa and David kindly shared these pictures of a few of them enjoying winter sun today.....

Fagan.
Sox.
Max.
Donnie.

A Life At Sea!....

I keep saying to people that this has been the worst year I've ever known for the level of sheer neglect and abuse not just nationally but locally too right here on our doorstep. The last 3 or 4 weeks has simply been ridiculous as the build up to Christmas begins. Some of the scenarios we have faced and situations dogs have found themselves in has been beyond belief.  Take this handsome guy.....

He was spotted living on a pier that goes out to sea for several days. Nobody could get him because the pier is no longer in use and heavily fenced off. All of which leads to the question, how did he get there?  If course the weather recently (and during the time he was 'all at sea') has been high winds and snow showers.  Not ideal weather conditions to be trapped on an unsafe pier!

So whether or not he was dumped there for the sea to take him to a traumatic death or whether he was dumped somewhere else and swam there (although you would suspect the pier is to high for him to climb upon) we'll never know.  Just another unanswered case at Christmas time.

(If you recognise the dog or know anything about how he ended up on the pier then please get in touch shak@shak.org.uk)



Looking For A New Start.....


Sunday, 14 December 2014

The First Landmark Reached.....

The response to the Change Lives £5,000 Challenge has been amazing,  and that was brought home to me for sure last night as we hit the £1,000 after just 6 days of campaigning!  I really can't thank you all enough for getting behind this. 

Of course we still have a long way to go, and there has been several cheques land over the weekend too so I will give a revised total on here very soon.

Thanks again for all your support, and please continue to push this appeal to all your family and friends.

£5 can hardly buy a pint of beer of packet of cigarettes these days but by pleading on gbd link below you can make a massive difference to the lives of our dogs.....
http://www.everyclick.com/shakchangelives


Farewell Flossie.....

There was sad news yesterday as SHAK lost one of our old girls, and a dog that certainly had a story to tell. When I picked up Flossie about three years ago as a stray, she hated me.....she did till the day she died, but whatever had happened in her life before SHAK to make her feel that way was all forgotten the minute Sheena turned up after I asked her to help this grumpy old dog!

Sheena and Roger have helped so many lost souls in their time with SHAK, but if ever a dog fitted into such a loving and understanding home it was "wee Flossie."

Floss had been poorly for quite a while, but that fighting spirit I saw from the very first moment my eyes set on her meant she wasn't going to give up life without a fight.... and she certainly did that. Saturday that fight got just too much, and she left behind a legacy of a tough little cookie and a Mam who loved her dearly.

I'm proud of Flossie, despite her wanting to bite me at every opportunity, and I'm proud we gave her 3 years of a life. That couldn't of happened without the wonderful patience and devotion shown by Sheena and Roger, and for that I will always be grateful.

Run free little girl, you showed so much courage and you are going to be missed terribly.

Flossie (far left) doing what she loved most. Sitting in the sun with her two SHAK sisters Hope and Penny.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Who Your Money Will Help.....

It really has been a fantastic start to the Change Lives £5,000 Challenge, with £660 raised in the first 24 hours of the campaign! Obviously we still have a long way to go, but just to show you where the money will go and the kind of dogs that so desperately need your help, here's a short video.....


Please keep helping us.....

Donate here.....http://www.everyclick.com/shakchangelives


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

An Amazing Response!....

There has been an amazing reaction to the Change Lives £5,000 Challenge, with £500 raised in less than 12 hours!!! Thank you all so much!

The amount we have raised is the equivalent of finishing second in the Win The Tin competition, which shows just what great support we have out there thank you.

Still we've got a long way to go to reach the £5,000 target, but with 10% already donated in such a short time, we're well on track.

Please spread the word to all your friends, family and work colleagues, in fact everyone you know.....

http://www.everyclick.com/shakchangelives

Thank you all so much again!


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

We May Not "Win The Tin" But We Still Need Your Help To Raise £5,000.....

I have been amazed by the support we have received after the disappointing out come of the Win The Tin £5,000 campaign. There have been so many kind messages and words of support that even in times of huge disappointment we have been given the motivation by you to go on.

The money we were hoping to win was to ensure the charities survival throughout the tough months of winter when donations and fundraising suffers due to the weather and the post Christmas blues. Without we face a real battle to go on. However as I have said your support has given us strength and confidence to go on, and using both those virtues a plan has been hatched to make the disappointment fade away.

We have set ourselves a challenge to raise our own £5,000 throughout the winter. Money that will not only save lives, but change them forever.....

This is our biggest Change Lives appeal to date and could be the most important....Please help us by donating.....every penny really does count and is greatly appreciated.

You can find out more and donate by clicking the link below:

http://www.everyclick.com/shakchangelives

Thank you for your support.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Win The Tin.....

Received a really disappointing email this afternoon and if I'm honest it has left me extremely flat and very worried. It appears an over zealous supporter of the work we do has broken the terms and conditions of Ocean Finances Win The Tin competition and not complied to the rules re voting.

A lot of votes have now been rescinded meaning we are not back on 1% and almost certainly out of the competition. All I know is the IP address involved seems to originate from America. 

The £5,000 we may of won if we had stayed in pole position would of guaranteed the charities survival throughout what I can only describe as the worst winter I have known in rescue, now with kennels over flowing and very limited funds we have to go back to the drawing board to come up with a plan that gets us through the tough months before spring comes around.

Deflated isn't the only feeling right now, so many more sum up having a secure immediate future taken away.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Season Of Goodwill?????

I don't normally post things like this, but I feel that I need to share with you just how bad things are at this time of year. If anybody was ever in doubt about the "myth" of the kick out before Christmas I can assure you that at this time of year dogs really do suffer, some the ultimate price.....

Over the last few days we have taken in an Emaciated Staffordshire Bull Terrier with severe neurological problems, a 14 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier with huge growths and a severe skin condition (she's microchipped that's how we know her age) whose owners have disappeared from planet earth, another Staffordshire Bull Terrier who has simply had a really hard start to life, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was booked into be destroyed after her owners had split up, another Staffordshire Bull Terrier whose leg was severely dislocated and left to fuse incorrectly (we have just had surgery done to correct this at an estimated cost of £800+) and today we have taken in a mother and daughter German Shepherd who are 14 and 12.....

All needed us and had nowhere else to go......

And these are the lucky ones. Calls today including a dog being booked into be destroyed at 8 months old. We have no room at the inn. Full beyond capacity. What can we do???

In the season of goodwill, it would appear mans so called best friend is excluded.....

They say a dog is not just for Christmas, but so many will not even get as far as to see it. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

A Walk To The Village.....

It was a sensational feeling walking Kye on a normal lead I to the village today. He took everything in his stride, and took it all in. Anyone not familiar with Kye check out the video "Kye's Story" a few posts below.....



Always In Our Hearts.....

Thought I'd share this lovely poem with some photo's of the wonderful Meg. Both sent to me by Lesley, and whilst the words are such a beautiful and fitting tribute, the photo's show just what an amazing little dog Meg was.....







Through To The Final, But REALLY Need Your Support Now.....

Thanks to your fantastic support we have qualified to the last 20 of the Ocean Finance Win The Tin Competition.....

We are up against some very tough competition, so if we want to win the £5,000 we really need the support of you and all your family and friends.

All you have to do is follow the link below and click on the VOTE tab next to us. Tell everyone and ask them to vote..... Help us CHANGE LIVES.

http://www.oceanfinance.co.uk/win-the-tin/

Don't Forget This Friday.....


Monday, 17 November 2014

Wanna Help Us Win £5,000.....

If you want to help SHAK win £5,000 then please nominate us in the competition below.....

http://www.oceanfinance.co.uk/win-the-tin/

Thank you in advance for your support!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

As Promised On SHAK TV..... Kye's Story.....

As promised from the little teaser a couple of weeks ago, here's Kye's Story.....

I guess if anything this video really does show the work we do from start to finish, and also what can be achieved.

You can see more of our videos on SHAK TV.....SHAK IN MOTION:

http://shakinmotion.blogspot.co.uk/

Monday, 10 November 2014

Sad Times.....

I'm afraid its a really sad update today, as we all begin to come to terms with two pieces of very sad news.

A sudden illness has taken Denbar from the family that loved him so dearly, and the big guy has left a huge hole in a lot of peoples hearts. There was twice in Denbar's life that I stopped him being destroyed. The first time, he was probably just minutes away..... waiting to be called into the room. For him to go on and witness the love and affection that he did was truly amazing and I think the pictures below show this. Thank you to his family for loving him and to those who got him there.




Then on Friday I got the shocking news that Lesley had had to say goodbye to the original SHAK minx, little Meg.It appears she suffered a serious of horrendous fits or seisures out of the blue, and the last one in particulair was quite horrific. She never came around.

Meg was a real spirit, a wonderful little dog that was so sharp. Yet she proved everyone wrong, including me, by finding true love and a home in the outside world with Lesley.

I remember very clearly the day I collected her from Birmingham, the only way I could have her was if I drove there myself to get her. She wasn't trusted to be moved from car to car. She of course found love with Otto 2 and then on to her big brothers and sisters at Lesley's house......

"This is what surprises me most – that this difficult little madam has wormed her way into my heart without me really noticing. She as never meant to be my dog, but she was such a massive presence – so much character in such a little dog that, without her today, the house feels like it`s lost its heartbeat. Not many people were lucky enough to see the great side of her – clever, funny, feisty and with such a huge capacity for pure joy. She was irresistible and I feel so incredibly privileged to
have had her share my home and life for the last year. She shone more brightly with every month that went by and we had so much fun together.  The little dog that nobody wanted is going to be hugely missed – I don`t expect to meet such a wonderful spirit again.

Run free my little Meggles – you were truly loved in the end"






And just to cap it off, it all comes at a time when another dog we've lost was strongly in our thoughts. Saturday was two years to the day since we lost Miko. A dog whose turnaround I class as my own personal greatest achievement, and also the biggest turnaround in the charities history.

Remembering the stories of the likes of Denbar and Meg bring it all back, how much suffering and how so close these dogs came to losing their lives. Miko was a big inspiration in being able to give these dogs a chance.....

Here's what I wrote when he died:

The picture that introduced me to Miko.
Miko became unwell this morning, and at 6am I rushed him to the vets with a suspected stomach torsion. Surgery showed that as well twisting, the stomach had severely ruptured, to the point that it was unrepairable. I had to say goodbye to a dog that had become my best friend over the last couple of months.

Stomach torsions happen in "barrel chested" dogs, there have been several studies but none have come up with a definitive reason for why they happen. It's just life I suppose, but it's a horrible thing and as soon as I saw Miko I knew it was serious.

Miko's last weeks on this earth have been a pleasure for me, him and my other dogs. The turnaround in him from when he arrived 3 and a half years ago is nothing short of amazing, and will give me strength to keep going and give these dogs a chance.

People have already started to tell me "at least he was with you in a home at the end, he was lucky to have you" but I see it a totally different way. I was lucky to get to see the real Miko. The Miko that adored my daughter, the Miko that loved to play with the other dogs despite his poor frame, and the Miko that loved to gaze into the fire on a night time.

Miko was incredible and I am going to miss him so much. Maybes a bit like Dudley the bond we shared was close and instant, and the hole he has left behind in my life just as big.




Monday, 3 November 2014

A Bit Of A Teaser.....

Sorry if this is a bit if a teaser, but this photograph will probably only make sense to the people who come to the kennels or were involved in Kye's rescue. Don't worry I am working on a film of his story for SHAK TV, but in the meantime just note, no muzzle or rigid lead.....

Making Friends.....

There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes as usual, and I thought I'd show you the good side of the work we do. At SHAK we believe strongly that dogs are sociable animals, and pairing them up is a big part of our day.

Here's Charlie and Lucy.....


And here is our other Charlie (yes we have 2!) and Bella enjoying their fun in the sun. The likeness of Lucy and Bella is uncanny, but both came from different areas.....


I am delighted to say we are currently working on a new Forever Foster home for Charlie (2, the Labrador) but we would love to see the other three with homes of their own. If you'd like to know more then please contact foreverfoster@shak.org.uk

Trick Or Treat?....

I just have to share with you this picture of Woody and Luna all set for Halloween.....


Seven Years On.....

Saturday marked the seventh anniversary of a me losing a little dog that I really loved and tried my hardest to save. Portia died from cancer, yet was such a happy little soul. She used to come and stay at home with me, and I guess so many have benefited from that now over the years.

I wouldn't swap the time I had with her, she taught me that life is cruel and sometimes your best just isn't enough. How she ended up needing me I'll never know, but I think about her even now.

Bathtime For Fagan.....

Speaking of Sheena and Roger, despite such bad news they still opened their front door to give Fagan a day out and a medicated bath. As you can see, I think he really enjoyed it!



We really would like to see this old boy settled with a bathroom to call his own! If you'd like to find out more on how you could provide this for him then please contact foreverfoster@shak.org.uk

Some Bad News But Happy Times For Penny.....

We've had some bad news regarding a dog that has won the hearts of so many. Penny has developed a cough at times, and given her past medical history (you'll remember the huge mammary tumour) we decided we couldn't take any risks. A CT scan confirmed our worst fears, and it would appear that Penny now has secondary tumours in her lungs. At her age and condition it really doesn't seem fair to put her through anymore, shes been through enough major surgery already, and from experience when their are secondary tumours in such abundance there isn't much that can be done anyway.

So we've all made the decision to just let Penny enjoy the time she has left. Her foster Mam and Dad clearly adore her, and as you can see from this photograph yesterday, shes come a long way from the little dog that was so frantic in a house.....


What You Looking At.....

I love the look of concentration on Floyd's face here..... Apparently there is a Custard Cream just out of sight!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Star Makes A Man Of Oscar.....

Carrying on from his trip to the beach, today was the next step in putting Oscar through his paces! Muzzled at first he got to go out on a play date with my very special girl Star. As you can see things went well, and all though a football still proved to be more interesting to him, Oscar proved that he can be around other dogs and have fun.

What I still find amazing is the fact Star has turned into such a fantastic stooge dog. This is a dog that was booked into a vets to be destroyed because of her aggression issues, of which dog aggression was such a big part. Now she helps so many of our other dogs on a daily basis, I'm so proud of her and how she's turn her life around. A true star indeed. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Two Days Out.....

Was great to see a couple of the SHAK boys enjoying days out this week, As Bandit and Oscar ventured inland and to the coast respectively.

Little Bandit enjoyed the day at Linhope Spout with Rachel, and also a sausage sandwich at our friends "Muddy Boots Cafe." He is such a nice little guy who adores Rachel, and its wonderful to see him enjoying himself like this. Thanks Rachel.




Then on Monday, whilst taking another dog to the vets, I took Oscar along for the ride. He was impeccable in the van, so it seemed only fair that he was aloud to drag me into the sea as a reward much to the delight of my mam who had joined us!



Taking a break from fund raising to spend time with the dogs, Joan and Oscar.
Of course of these handsome boys are looking for their Forever Foster homes to call their own. They need experienced and understanding people to give them more days out like these. If you're interested in providing a Forever Foster home then please check out the Forever Foster page on this website and contact foreverfoster@shak.org.uk