Change Lives

Change Lives

Monday, 13 August 2018

A Huge Day For Indie.....

Having become a resident in my home on a regular basis, today was the day to push Indie a little further and see how she coped with a day in 'my shoes.'

She was amazing and although clearly the change in routine was a huge thing for her, as well as the new experiences, she really was amazing.

First up was a meeting at the kennels with the dog who made Indies arrival possible, little Eden. I wish I could have gotten more footage but Edens fear of cameras made us cherish the shots we got. You can actually see Edies reaction when she notices the camera is on her! I do have to say though as soon as Eden saw Indie she was straight over to see her and looking very excited. It was as if she knew.....

After a little spell relaxing whilst I did some work at the new shop, I thought Indies courage deserved a little reward, so we visited a quiet local beach I know. I think from her reaction it was probably the first time she had ever seen the sea!

I know today has been huge for her, watching her sleep now I can see how mentally exhausted she is. Yes she was frightened and unsure,  but she was also so curious and when she let herself go she enjoyed sniffing and making new friends. I am so proud of her and of course Eden.....






Introducing Rocco.....

With so much going on at the moment I thought I'd take five minutes to introduce you to one of our other long termers who has really progressed in our care.

Rocco came to us at 6 Months old after he was booked in at the vets to be destroyed for being destructive. He was still just a puppy and quite rightly deserved that chance. Once he arrived we found he had a more serious issue in that somebody had thought it was fun to play tug of war with him on the lead, which then resulted in him always biting the lead..... even at walk times.

Over the time he has been here we have worked very hard to desensitize him to the obsession with the lead and now he looks proud as punch carrying his training dummy everywhere he goes.

Rocco loves people and has shared his kennel with other other dogs during his stay, he really is a happy little lad.

I often get asked if I would rehome certain dogs, Rocco being one who often crops up. I'd love to see Rocco in a home but would have to one that is very understanding and where he wasn't left on his own. He has so much love to give.....

If you are interested in learning more about Rocco please email foreverfoster@shak.org.uk


Saturday, 11 August 2018

New PayPal Link.....

We are always getting asked how people can donate easily, which is obviously a very good thing! PayPal has for years always been a very easy way and today it has just gotten even easier!

All you need to do now is follow the link below, sign in and add the amount. Couldn't be easier!

paypal.me/shaksanctuary

Thank you all again for all your donations, who wants to be first to try the new way.....

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

HELP! Calling All Carpet Fitters!....

We have been working so hard on the new shop, fitting in shop fitting with kennel work, and I'm glad to say things are beginning to take shape.....

However there is one thing that has been nagging away at me since we got the keys and today we made the decision that we really do need to replace the carpet!

So once again we come to you for help. Is there anyone out there who owns/runs a carpet or flooring company? Are you a carpet fitter who could help? If anybody can donate a new carpet and/or time to fit it it really would add the finishing touches to our new venture.

Of course we could buy one out of the charities funds, but we really believe that the dogs deserve the best we can give and try to use the money we receive to help them directly.

If you could help in anyway please email retail@shak.org.uk

Thank you in advance.






Wednesday, 1 August 2018

SHAK Retail Is Here.....

Today is a very special day as I'm delighted to announce our first step onto the retail ladder. Today we picked up keys for our first shop in Bowes Street Blyth and now the work begins!

Continuing on from our very successful boutique days, we have a alternative vision as to how the retailing experience in a charity shop should be. Selling high quality second hand clothes and some very interesting goods as well as SHAK merchandise, our shop will be something completely different from the usual charity shops on the high street.

We will also release details soon as to where and when people can start to donate stock, but please note we will not be selling books, cds, dvds or bric a brac.

This is a really exciting progression for us and will also provide a new food and bedding drop off point and also an excellent chance for events and to meet members of the team.

If anybody is interested in helping in the shop then please contact retail@shak.org.uk

In the meantime, thanks to our resident designer Michael  for creating an image of how the shop may look!....


Monday, 30 July 2018

Look At Harley Now!....

Posting about dogs once they have left us isn't some thing I normally do, but I really do think I can make an exception with these photographs.

You will all remember how frightened Harley was when we saved him from being destroyed. So scared that even someone entering his kennel was enough to make him mess himself. We did a lot of hard work and used up a lot of patience and finally made him ready for the next move.....

Our good friends at a partnered rescue offered him a chance to look for a new home,  they really did come up trumps!

Last night I got these before and after photos and I cannot pit into words how proud I am of the work we did but more importantly Harley (now known as Angus.)

I'd like to thank everyone who was involved in getting him to this point and also his brilliant new family that love him so much.









Thursday, 26 July 2018

Simply Amazing.....

Clay has been getting a little better every day, coming out easier and beginning to relax more. He has more trust in females,  but this video if him with Amy shows just how far he has come.....

Amazing Work from everyone who has been involved with him.....



Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Coming Soon.....

Something very exciting is coming to a high street near you soon.....


Monday, 23 July 2018

Marley Has A Girlfriend.....

I thought you might like to see just how far Marley has come in a few months, by showing you his reaction to meeting Sasha for the first time.....

The second video is how he was the day he arrived.....



Sunday, 22 July 2018

Fun In The Sun.....

Rachel and I enjoyed a really nice walk tonight as the sun set on a beautiful day. We had great company, and it was lovely to see such big stories as Indi and Phoenix enjoy each other's company, until Henry photo bombed the photo shoot!....





Saturday, 21 July 2018

SHAK Retail A Step Closer?....

We've hopefully made some major progress over the last couple of days in our search for retail premises in Northumberland. It's one of those tasks that is on going, but hopefully we should be able to announce some good news next week.

As always we can only work on these projects with your help, so of you have spare time and would be interested in volunteering in a SHAK High Street shop then please get in touch via email: retail@shak.org.uk

Thank you.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Clay and Sky.....

I forgot these were taken on Tuesday, as Clay (as we've decided to call him) was enjoying making friends with Sky.

I especially like the second one where Sky distracts me so Clay can pinch the hot dogs from my pocket.....



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.....