Change Lives

Change Lives

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Lost For Words.....

After making so much progress with our new boy yesterday, today I thought I would try and take things a step further.....


Monday, 16 July 2018

Simply Amazing.....

These dogs never cease to amaze me and what a walk I have just enjoyed with our new boy after Brad suggested we brought Sky along. I don't want to spoil it but to get so close to him in his kennel in just 48 hours was a sensational feeling.....



I am so proud of these two boys, simply amazing! 

Another Two Arrive And Avoid Being Destroyed.....

Whenever I get a call from out good friend Jennie down at K9 Search in  Birmingham I know she has a serious problem.....

This time a big Bull breed had been found chained to a bus shelter and was showing severe signs of fear aggression. Thanks to the great people at Animal House Rescue they somehow managed to get the dog safe before he was taken to the local pound to serve his 7 days. Within 2 hours of arriving his fear had lead to him failing the assessment and he was destined to be destroyed.....



That was when the phone call to me happened. Once the seven days we're completed Lynn and Carys stayed tried to their word and went back to get him before setting off on a road trip north.

It appears put new friend seems a lot more comfortable around woman, but even saying that Carys did an amazing job being able to get him on a lead. Now it was over to us.....

Yesterday was the first day I needed to get him out. He was so stressed and frightened. His kennel was in a horrific state and he was trying everything he could to keep me away. He would not let me get anywhere near him with a lead and his stress levels were rising dramatically. The only safe way was to use the rigid lead.

He hated that too, in fact having seen him arrive on a lead, the difference with the rigid one was quite upsetting to see. I just needed to get him outside.....

Once outside I tried my luck again, I really didn't want him to associate what should be fun with the stress the rigid lead was causing him.....



He really is an amazing dog. I can see that in his eyes already. All we need to do now is make him realise we are not about to hurt him.

Ironically at the same time the dog wardens called me about a Yorkshire Terrier that was due to be destroyed in the local pound after several weeks because only one person could get near him. Of course I said we would help, and it really was a surreal moment getting him put on the lead for the first time so soon compared to the big boy that had just arrived.

Toby hates getting the lead on, he will jump and lunge and snap at you whilst doing so, so much smaller than the rest of our other dogs but his teeth are still as sharp!

Once out though he loves life and we just need to help him work through his issues.




Quite upsetting to see such a big dog so emotionally scared but equally as upsetting to see such a small dog so close to losing  his life. I'm pleased we were able to save them......

Thursday, 12 July 2018

SHAK Retail Coming Soon. Can YOU Help?....

This charity has grown beyond my wildest dreams since I formed it in such sad circumstances in 2006. The battle to continue is always on going and with what I consider to be the best team we've ever had, we really do need to build on our success.

Developing a retail side of SHAK seems the obvious way to increase income and given my working background before this crazy adventure with dogs!

We are currently looking at and in talks about retail outlets all across Northumberland and hopefully will have some very exciting news soon.

In the meantime we are trying to address the next and most obvious issue..... staffing new premises! So if you would like to express an interest in helping out at a SHAK Shop of some sort in the future then please get in touch via email to retail@shak.org.uk.

All positions will be completely voluntary to begin with and will include store managers, assistants and anyone interested in the actual running and development of such sites. Whilst retail experience would be a great help, it is not essential.

Maybe if you cannot help with the hands on with the dogs this would provide you with a great opportunity to help us and become part of the SHAK Team?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please email retail@shak.org.uk to express any interest.

Thanks.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Milo Meets Rex And Bren.....

Having learnt so much about Milo from working so closely with him the last week or so, it's quite clear that a lot of his issues stem from an excitement that he has no idea how to manage. He is desperate to play but has no concept or understanding of how to go about it. Step up two of our most playful boys in Red and Bren.....



Holly 'Hot Tub'.....

After her escapades in the paddling pool, Holly 'Hot tub' has taken keeping cool just a little too far.....


Thursday, 5 July 2018

Sunbathing With Indi.....

I get a lot of people asking about Indi, to the extent I've been stopped by strangers recently in the supermarket and the pub to ask how she is doing. The truth is she's doing great without any major developments. We've got our morning and nightime routines settled and she enjoys her walks with the other dogs.

She's had a couple of sleep overs in the house but that is still a big black hole to her, so we just do little and often. Still she has taken everything in her stride and has never once rejected anything we've tried to do together.

This morning on a day off we were able just to relax and catch a few of the warm sun rays together.....




Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Day Two Of Work For Milo.....

So it looks like the groundwork Keiser put in with Milo at the weekend has paid off, as our boy really had fun this morning meeting Axel and Topaz.

His behaviour has improved all week as we've constantly walked him with other dogs, but this walk was the first time Milo had met these two or been walked with one person. Notice too, No muzzle this time. I am so proud of all three of them.....



Sunday, 1 July 2018

Sunny Day.....

We all had a great day today in sensational conditions, as you can see. So proud of the dogs and the team.....



Saturday, 30 June 2018

Day One For Milo.....

One of our newest arrivals is Milo the lurcher who has come to us completely under socialised. Despite being a really loving soul everything stresses him out and he has no idea how to behave. His previous owner wanted him destroyed, and when the vets contacted me I knew we had to help him. He's only 10 months old.....

It's times like this I miss Star even more because she definately would have sorted him out, but having walked him the last couple of days it was clear I had to come up with a plan.

Step up Keiser for his first mission as a stooge dog. Keiser himself knows all about the stress of kennel life before he ended up living with me for that very reason. Milo was horrific in meeting, paws all over, lunging and a high pitched bark. Keiser had a little word back and then got on with his walk..... amazingly so did Milo!

I'm so proud of both of these boys, Keiser has come so far and the fact he's even doing such work is amazing. For Milo it was a huge step and a great day one in his journey to finding a new home....

(Keiser and Milo on the left.)


Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Ice Cream Man Has Been.....

With such glorious weather it's nice to spoil the dogs and spend some quality time in the sun. That is until Rusty decides to pinch your ice lolly.....



Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Introducing Holly.....

One of our long term residents is Holly. Quite simply beautiful but equally as challenging.

Holly came to us a few years from another rescue after we'd stopped her being destroyed for the second time. Her issue was, and still is, guarding things. Her infatuations switch between the sublime to the ridiculous but they make her so easy to read. In her last home she decided the bottom step of the stairs was the most important thing in the world and wouldn't let anybody else have it....

She was imported from Ireland into this country as a puppy, grew to big for the owner to handle and spent the first 6 months of her life chained up on a garden. I believe that is where her resource guarding stems from. Given that start in life can you really blame her?

She is a super girl though, great fun and enjoys her countryside retreat.  She loves everybody and everybody loves her, making her a real favourite amongst volunteers and staff alike.

The reason I am telling you all of this is because she really is a great example of one of the areas we work in, given a dog like Holly somewhere to have her life, to have friends and to have a little bit of freedom without having to worry about keeping anything just for herself.

Her issues means we can probably never rehome her, which doesn't make her a bad or aggressive dog, it simply means we understand her needs. Watching her play with everyone makes me think she knows and really appreciates that.....


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Twelve Years Ago Today.....

Twelve years ago today I lost the dog that had changed my life forever,  Shak. Lymphoma took him unexpectedly and I swore never again would I have another dog......


Monday, 18 June 2018

Phoenix Finds His Home.....

Thank you to everyone who has sent best wishes to our little Husky that arrived on Friday. Too unwell for kennels he came to spend some time at my house, that was until Rachel came to stay.....

Instantly there was a bond and suddenly my new house mate had moved on to his new home.

Phoenix as his to be known in his new life has settled extremely well,  he enjoyed the traditional Sunday evening  bath like I used to as a kid and is enjoying having the company.

Below is during his bath, after and with his new sister (another ex SHAK dog) Willow.





Saturday, 16 June 2018

Another Arrival In A Horrendous State.....



So when I decided to take a few days off to try and get my head around the events of last weekend, I never for one minute expected to be joined by a new house guest.

I hadn't long been awake yesterday morning when my phone rang. It was one of the dog wardens who had just picked up a Husky from a vets where he had been on IV fluids since being found tied to a tree on the A69, the main road from Northumberland to Cumbria.

The dog was described as being almost at deaths door when found and in a horrendous state.

Of course I said we'd help, but on his arrival at the kennels the true horror of his condition came to light.
The husky (I still haven't thought of a name) was extremely under weight, very wobbly on his back end and it appears his eye sight is very limited.

I quickly had staff on the phone as they had put him in a kennel and all he had done was walk into the walls. It looked like I was going to get company.....

So first up he met Lennox, a veteran of course at meeting and greeting new arrivals, then it was a case of coming home to meet the others.



This boy is so special and just desperate to be loved.  There has to be somebody out there somewhere who knows where he is from and whose he was. Of course I think it's important to state that there may be a very reasonable explanation for his condition, but I have to say the videos really do not do his condition justice.

If you have any information about this dog then please contact Northumberland Council Animal Welfare Team on 03456006400


A Wonderful Tribute.....

Thank you to James Willoughby at the Northumberland Gazette for a beautiful piece on Star.....

The next instalment of our weekly series dedicated to Alnwick-based dog sanctuary, SHAK. An emotional tribute has been paid to a much-loved SHAK dog, who passed away last week.

Star lost her battle against a splenic tumour on Friday and the charity’s founder, Stephen Wylie, expressed his heartache following the death of his ‘best friend and rock’.

Star arrived at the sanctuary in March 2013, and lived with Stephen for the last five years. During this time, she changed from an aggressive dog to one that loved humans and her own kind. Stephen said: “Star was one of the most amazing dogs I have ever had the privilege to know. I didn’t see this awful disease coming to take her. “She came to me after being booked into the vets to be destroyed for repeatedly biting. I could get her out to walk her, but it took more than two months before I could actually touch her. She was that bad. “Eventually, once I could get closer, I noticed she had a terrible infection in both ears. I muzzled her and tried to look, but she just went ballistic. “I drove her to the vets, they sedated her and got a good look in her ears – they were rotten. She had them cleaned out and was given antibiotics and from that moment, her life changed.

“She loved everybody and was amazing with other dogs – reassuring them if they were scared or telling them if they crossed the line. She helped so many at SHAK.

“It dawned on me a while later that her ear issue was probably why she’d bitten people. She nearly lost her life because of that, but instead she went on to help so many others. Now she’s gone, I feel lost. She was my constant companion who went everywhere with me. I am so proud of what she achieved and I miss her so much.”



Read more at: https://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/an-emotional-farewell-to-the-brightest-star-1-9206624

Friday, 8 June 2018

Goodnight To The Brightest Star.....

Tonight a Splenic Tumour has one of the most amazing dogs I have ever had the privilege to know. I have been through this  awful disease so many times but I didn't see it coming to take Star.

I have lost my best friend and my rock, the charity has lost the greatest stooge dog it ever had, despite being in the vets room with her I still can't believe she has gone.

Maybe one day I will be able to remind you all of her story on here without breaking down, but right now no words could do justice for my beautiful girl.....





Thursday, 7 June 2018

Worthy of Such Devotion Hits The National Glossy's......

A fantastic review of "Worthy Of Such Devotion" in the national glossys magazine Dogs Monthly today. Thanks to them for that.....




Of course you can still by your copy of the book here.....

https://www.shakshop.co.uk/Worthy_Of_Such_Devotion_-_The_SHAK_Story/p168627_18458742.aspx

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Lady And Daisy Play.....

I'm just back from another incredible walk with Lady and Daisy, for the first time they began to play when out except Lady had no idea what to do.

When I got back I asked Rich to give me a hand. These two just continue to amaze me....


Monday, 4 June 2018

The Question On Everybody's Lips.....

And for the answer to the question everyone has been asking all week.....

Yes Bully remembered where he had buried his teddy!


Then he promptly buried it again!

Holiday Weekend For Two Very Special Staffies.....

It's been another great summer weekend for a couple of our older staffies thanks to a couple of members of the SHAK Team.

Amy and Brad are becoming dab hands at this now,  but for Rusty this was perhaps the first chance ever of some kind of holiday. He came to us a while ago having been left in a house on his own for weeks with only a friend of the owner going in to feed him once a day. The owner had fled through domestic abuse. For no fault of his own Rusty was alone and arrived with a serious fear of men.

As you can see he is doing exceptionally well and learning to trust. This weekend he spent it all away from kennel life and having shared  a couple of beers with him on a night time it was incredible to see what a loving little man he is.....

Rusty snuggles upto Brad.



We would love to see Rusty in a home after seeing him this weekend, but it would have to be one with no other dogs and very experienced with Staffordshire Bull Terriers. If this is something you'd like to discuss more then please email foreverfoster@shak.org.uk for an application form.

Mona was another very lucky SHAK Dog as she got to spend the weekend at Jill's house. Mona has been there before,  but I think this time she really felt at home. Getting on to being one of our longest serving residents, Mona is a complex character who has progressed so far in our care and even more so since she retreated to the quieter and more relaxing SHAK 2. This weekend especially should that despite all of her troubles she can still enjoy the simple things that we all take for granted.









Breaks like this are so valuable to our dogs I really do want to thank Amy, Brad and Jill for giving them this opportunity and for enabling both Rusty and Mona to show what amazing characters they are.







Saturday, 2 June 2018

Bully And His Cuddly Toys.....

I love this footage Lynn got of Little Bully just to show you the antics he gets up to with his cuddly toys.....


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Green Dog Walkers.....

Whilst this isn't a SHAK Event I want to share it as I think it is a great way of promoting responsible dog ownership.....

And it's at SHAK HQ.....


See Northumberland County Council Animal Welfare Team for further information.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

New 'Giving a Bark' T Shirts Coming Soon.....

As summer is almost here I thought I'd brighten up the very popular 'Giving a Bark' T Shirt range. So as a little bit of an exclusive, here's the new colours.....

Available to order very soon.....


The Spice Girls.....

You may recall a few weeks ago I posted a picture of a very unexpected pairing of Lady and Daisy. Well we've been continuing to let them spend time together and they are quickly becoming good friends. So good in fact they've earned the nickname the Spice Girls!

Today I was lucky enough to enjoy a stroll with the two of them in the sunshine on my own. It's great to see how they have began to interact with each other and show a little affection.

However my thunder was stolen recently when one of the volunteers Kat saw me bringing them back into the farm yard and said "Here's the Spice girls with..... old spice!"




Monday, 28 May 2018

A Little Old Man Called Bully.....

As I said previously it has been such a busy period of late with five of our dogs moving onto other rescues but then three others arriving needing us to start to do our work from scratch. There stories will be on here in time, but with so many coming and going we always make sure we don't forget about our old timers. I asked Amy to help me do a little  right up on one of our longest residents and here is our combined efforts ......

Bully is one of our long term SHAK residents. You are probably wondering why he is called Bully- he certainly lived up to his name when he first arrived at SHAK causing chaos whenever he could and often with a swear word in front of the word Bully!!

Despite his big reputation though, Bully is the most cuddliest, full of mischief and friendliest little staffie you’ll meet. He stays in one of our kennels which looks out into the fields which we think he spends most of his days dreaming of running in.

He's a loveable rogue and most definitely one of many volunteers favourite in the kennels, keeping  everyone entertained by bringing one of his many soft cuddly toys on a walk and finding a hiding place to bury his teddy by using his nose to dig a hole in a hedge or under a tree! He is a very clever boy.

Bully however is reaching that age of retirement, he’s slowly getting more grey hairs and isn’t as much of a ‘bully’ he once was. Recently he enjoyed a well deserved night away with Brad and Amy, letting the old boy enjoy the warmth of a home and some cheeky sausages he couldn’t help but give a paw for. Regardless of where Brad wanted to sit, Bully spent the majority of the night on Amy’s knee enjoying the simple things most dogs take for granted- a cuddle with their human friend.

You may ask why we are telling you all of this, as this isn’t an appeal to find Bully a home, we are just simply sharing this beautiful boy with you all so you can get a glimpse of how amazing all our dogs are, including the ones who have been here for years and sometimes miss the exposure the new arrivals get.

 In saying that however,  if  the correct home with a very experienced owner came along then it is definitely something we would consider......