Change Lives

Change Lives

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Still Growing.....

Here's the latest pictures of our boy Axel. You an see he's looking a lot better, although he still has a way to go.....

(Facebook viewers will need to click on the post to see all the photos at www.shak.org.uk )



Wednesday, 30 November 2016

One Of the Bravest Girls I Know.....

You may remember a little while I told you the story of Star a Lurcher that we have the pleasure of sharing our home with after she'd been found as a stray and totally emaciated.  She's been part of my family for about 6 years now, but a couple of months ago she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in her bottom jaw.

She initially went through surgery to try and remove the tumour without causing her too much discomfort. Unfortunately the tumour wasn't playing and came back even more aggressively. All we could do for her was to put her back under the knife but this time all the vets could do was remove part of her bottom jaw.

Star has responded to the surgery brilliantly.  She has been so brave. Eating wasn't an issue and she even started pinching the other dogs food.

Then just a short while ago, in the middle of the horrific spell where we had to say goodbye to so many of our wonderful pals, I got a phone call with Star's biopsy reports.  They were a bit of a mixed bag..... the bone had come back clear, but the skin biopsy had shown, despite taking a fair amount, what is medically known as a 'dirty margin.' This meant that right to the edge of the skin that had been taken away, there was cancerous cells. It also meant she had to face the surgeon again.....

Yesterday I took her down to the vets again. They needed to take even more skin away, with the hope that this time all the cancerous cells had been removed.  Knowing what she wants about to go through again broke my heart. I'd say her treatment has been the most difficult to accept that I have ever faced.

Star has been so brave though, and after this cuddle she has enjoyed a second helping of chicken soup and is now snoring in front of the fire..... such an inspiration and a picture of so much strength. I really want you all to pray that this time they have caught it all.....

In all of this Moorview Vets have once again been amazing.  The love Star has received when she has been in has been incredible, you can see that by the reaction she gets when she goes in. However the heartbreaking events of the last few weeks has left an already massive vets bill even bigger. Despite everything that's been done she is the only one who has come out the other side.  Such amazing bravery and desire to live. We are all so proud of her.

We desperately need your help to assist us with the cost of those few weeks. I know it's asking a lot this time of year, but any amount, no matter how small is greatly appreciated.  You can donate via PayPal to shak@shak.org.uk or by sending a cheque made payable to SHAK to SHAK HQ. Greenwell Road, Alnwick NE66 1HB.

Thank you in advance for such fantastic support.


Monday, 28 November 2016

One Week To Play The SHAK Lotto.....



Another exciting launch today is that of the SHAK Lotto.....

Working on the idea of regular raffles with some fantastic prizes, SHAK Lotto goes like this.....

We announce a prize and a set number of days for you to donate at least £1 via PayPal to shak@shak.org.uk, marking your donation as SHAK Lotto (Please note only entries by PayPal and to this paypal address can be counted).....

Then at the end of the set time I will ask people on our Facebook page to pick a number between 1 and however many entries we have..... the first suggestion is the number of the person who paid PayPal in that position! Easy!

So to get this up and running you have a week starting now to pay at least a pound to win.....

2 Tickets for the Aladdin Panto at Whitley Bay Playhouse on Wednesday the 14th December at 7pm. Fantastic fun for only a pound..... got to be worth a go!

Thanks in advance for your support and good luck!


Santa's Helpers.....

Then we have another 'Santa's Helpers' day on Saturday the 17th.....

 

Skin Deep.....

I'm delighted to announce a couple of events at HQ in December. First up we have a presentation called 'Skin Deep' about Skin Parasites and Allergies by our good friend Sharon Wright from Moorview Vets.....

 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Axel Update.....

Just a couple of pictures to show you how well our boy Axel is coming on.....





Thursday, 24 November 2016

A Real Hero Leaves Us Behind.....

I've been holding off telling this amazing boys story because I wanted it to have a happy ending. I should of known better though, and whilst we are sitting here tonight in tears once again, the two weeks Ernie had in my families home has given us so many good memories that will be with us forever, that once the numbness subsides once again we will regard it as a happy ending after all.

Ernie was found as a stray in a horrendous state . Emaciated and his back legs wobbling all over, I knew the minute I saw him he would break our hearts. I also fell in love…..

Nothing seemed to phase Ernie. He loved people, he loved other dogs and I suppose he just generally loved life. You could tell he was loving just having attention, and maybe more so the affection he perhaps had never had before. His wobbling back end was getting worse though.

Ernie ended up home with us. The minute he walked through the door it was as if he'd always been here. He wasn't phased by so many doggy brothers and sisters and just qued for his space in front of the fire like everyone else. That was his favourite spot. In the meantime trips to the vets meant we were trying different medication and dealing with his worm problem that was showing itself as what can only be described as 'worm knots.' Yet still he was happy.

The back end of last week Ernie deteriorated dramatically. He went lame on his back right leg, and was showing clear signs of pain. Vets prescribed a different pain killer to try but it soon became apparent there was something sinister going on.

Last night I made the decision that we all dread but I didn't want to give up on Ernie without giving him the best shot. Today after speaking with the vet we decided that if we wanted answers the only thing we could do was a CT scan. That way if there was anything that could be done for him we would know. I think everyone who was involved this morning knew deep down though.

The CT scan showed a huge tumour in his sacrum bone and his pelvis. The bones themselves had been, in the vets words, obliterated, and there were also signs of tumours potentially on other parts of the spinal column. I had to make the decision to let him go whilst still under anaesthetic.

Ernie must have been in so much pain, yet he had been so brave. It had taken his body to crumble underneath him before he'd given up his fight, such strength I am proud to say he was ours.

Tonight the house feels weird. A big presence is missing and there is a gap in front of the fire. Such a short time in our lives, but he has left a huge hole.

(Facebook viewerswill need to click on the post to see all the photos at www.shak.org.uk)










Saturday, 19 November 2016

Looking Good.....

Despite being really cold most of the today, Axel and I clicked for the sunniest and warmest part of the day for our walk.  Seemed an ideal opportunity to show off what's under that jacket of his, and I'm delighted to say that despite still being terribly under weight he is looking so much better.....

(Facebook viewers will need to click on the post to see all the photos.)






Friday, 18 November 2016

Poster Boy....


Axel Relaxing More And More.....

Thought you'd like to see these photos of Axel I took today looking far more relaxed! So relaxed he's even learnt to photo bomb.....

(Viewers on Facebook will need to click on the post to see more pictures at www.shak.org. uk)





Thursday, 17 November 2016

The First Steps To Trust.....

There has been a lot of interest in Axel's story from right the way back to when he was found in such an appalling state, and rightly so as he is such an incredible character.

Today I tried something we hadn't since he arrived, we went out without the muzzle.  He was brilliant and even sniffed at it hanging from my waist several times as if to say "haven't you forgotten something?"

Bring a convert to the world of 'selfies' it seemed to good an opportunity to be missed, a photo with my handsome new pal without a muzzle. Then this happened.....

(Facebook viewers need to click in the post to see all the photos at www.shak.org. uk)




Not the most flattering photos I admit, but ones I am very proud of. I feel very special that after all he has been through, Axel has enough belief in me that he can trust me to get this close.

Monday, 14 November 2016

And Another Big Character Arrives With An Even Bigger Story.....

Whilst everything has been in such turmoil the last week or so there has been so much else going on. One arrival that I hinted at before all the sad news is Axel.....

Found as a stray and weighing just 21kg's I think it's fair to say he was in a horrendous way. Days at the vets on a drip followed, before he moved onto our good friends at The Animal House Rescue. Below are photo's of how he was found, and their original post when he was found.....

(Please note Facebook viewers will need to click the post title and view on www.shak.org.uk to see all the pictures.)










"This poor baby was found in this state barely able to walk in West Bromwich yesterday. As you can see he is extremely emaciated. This boy wouldn't have survived the pound so once again all the stops were pulled out by the super team - K9 Search UK, Chris (from the Sandwell Dog Wardens), and of course ourselves Team TAH.

Once in our care he was rushed straight to our vets (YourVets, Wythall) where he was weighed - urgh - 21kg, this dog should weigh around 38-42kg and his body score currently is 1.5 out of 5. On the way to the vets Lin was desperately trying to keep him warm as he was so cold. The van was turned in to a sauna with the heaters blowing full and even with that his temperature only registered 36c when ideally it should be 38.3 degrees c - 39.2 degrees c

He was so badly dehydrated that the vets couldn't get a vein in either of his front legs so had to use the back leg for the intravenous drip and they have been pushing fluids all night. He has no muscle tone and couldn't even climb into the van. He also has a horrible skin infection probably due to untreated demadex.

This baby will be staying in the emergency 24hour vets at Coventry (YourVets again) till Monday at the earliest on a drip. He is on antibiotics and tiny meals every 2 hours and has been Advocated.

This boy is fighting with everything he has and we will be right there fighting with him and for him.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he is going to need all the help he can get. It is going to be a long road ahead." The Animal House Rescue.

A long road indeed, and a road that has lead all the way to us. Axel made great progress whilst with Lynn and her team, and I'd like to say a big THANK YOU for being there for him when he needed it the most. They saved his life, and as you can see he quickly started to look better.....


He even had his own spot on the local news.....

https://www.facebook.com/charlottehjcross/videos/10102368092657128/

Everything looked to be going well, but then, well I let The Animal House tell the story.....

"Some times in rescue we have to make really hard decisions but what is always best for the animals long term health and happiness and also safety.

Today we had to make that decision for Axel. Don't worry Axel is going to have the best life ever - but for us we are heartbroken. For a while Axel has started feeling better, he has shown quite a few guarding traits and although we have kept on top of him, with the amount of animals in the rescue particularly cats, it has shown us that Axel needs a lot of help - more than we are able to give him, - yes we realise our limitations. We could have said we would keep him here but Axel deserved so much more than that.

We wouldn't have let him go just anywhere and so Axel begins another part of his rehabilitation and onwards to a happy life. Lin has gone today and driven 8 hours round trip to get him to SHAK. This place is amazing, Steve Wylie and his team take in dogs that no-one else would consider, mostly with behavioural issues, and work with them to modify their behaviour and get them to the best they can be. If they can't get them to a place where that are happy to let them go to long term fosters, then they stay with SHAK for life.

Axel needs to work his mind as well as his body and we think he would love (and be brilliant at) agility (eventually when he has built up his muscles). With the best will in the world we can't do this for him and run the rescue. Axel is a full on full time boy. If we didn't do this we would have let this beautiful boy down. Be assured we will be getting regular updates and pictures. We will continue to support Axel also. The money raised for him by you will go towards his continued treatment and his castration as soon as the vets think it's ok and then his vaccinations. This is one beautiful boy we will NEVER forget."

So that's how he came to us, and he's arrived at just the right time after everything that has gone on. Axel was muzzle trained when he arrived, and for both our safety and his we're continuing to use one until trust is fully built up. It's important he doesn't feel threatened in any, but he's so intelligent I'm sure that trust will come soon. As you can see he is already making friends.....





So we have another big character with a big story to tell..... Thanks again to The Animal House for all you have done for him.

(If you'd like to donate to help us continue our work you can do via PayPal to shak@shak.org.uk or by sending a cheque payable to SHAK. SHAK HQ. Greenwell Road, Alnwick, NE66 1HB)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Another Huge Loss.....

I've given myself 24 hours to compose myself but as I come to write this now I still feel pretty numb. Especially after just looking at the last post on here. Numb and raw at the same time.

With such a sad start to last week I tried to show something positive by posting how well Blade was looking. Little did I know that photo would be taken on my last walk with him.

Blade wasn't himself Wednesday so I took him to the vets on Thursday. Ha had become very lethargic and didn't want his food. Not him at all, and after the shock of Donnie and Buster I knew he had to see a vet. Moorview of course were brilliant and squeezed him in. Both scans and x rays couldn't pin point what was making him so ill, and after 3 days of intravenous fluids and anitbiotics his temperature was still extremely high. I was called down by the vet yesterday afternoon as they wanted me to see just how weak he had become. His already wobbly back end was now completely unable to support him, and the vets were still baffled as to what was going on.....

That hour spent with him is so precious now. He knew who I was and a visit from Paul too cheered him up. We cuddled in his kennel he looked so frail I didn't want to let him go.

After speaking to the Vio and Frankie (the vet & nurse who I have to say were amazing) at great lengths it was obvious we had two choices.... let him go there and then or risk sedation or anaesthetic for a CT scan to try and find out what was doing this to our boy. Paul was a big help in helping me decide and we agreed we weren't giving up on Blade without answers. We left him waiting for a CT scan.....

The scan provided us with answers alright, and unfortunately answers we couldn't correct. Blade's liver was huge, as was his kidneys. The CT images showed marks all over both organs that could of been anything from cysts to tumours. To try and work out what each one was would mean testing each one at a great expense. It would also take time. Something we clearly didn't have. We decided to give him another 24 hours and prayed for an improvement, any improvement

At about 7 o'clock last night I got the phone call I'd been dreading. Blade had deteriorated rapidly and his breathing was described as 'gasping.' I dropped everything and rushed to be with him. I arrived to find his head cradled into Frankie's lap, a position I took over, and could see when he opened his mouth to breath that jaundice had began. Clearly his liver was beyond repair. He was dying there in front of me. I knew what we had to do, and Blade left us nuzzling into me so peacefully and calm after the desperate attempts to breath.

Blade had clearly had an awful time before he came to us, his sheer condition told us that. Yet he was such a gentleman and such a big character it feels like he was with us a lot longer than the short time he was. I loved him dearly, as did everyone who worked with him, he is going to be such a big miss. I will never forget the noises he made or the way he would mouth you when he got excited, but perhaps the most important thing is I will never forget how happy he was when he was with us. To of been able to make him that happy is something I will forever be grateful for.

So that's 3 amazing big boys lost in just 6 days. I started this by saying I feel numb and raw, I know others do too. Our hearts have been ripped into tiny pieces this week, but we have some wonderful memories that in time will help piece them back together.....





(I have deliberately not put any 'before' pictures on this post as I want you to remember Blade as the handsome and wonderfully happy boy he was with us.)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

No More 'Panda Eyes'....

In an effort to try and lift the big black clouds that seem to be ganging over us right now, I thought I'd show you the progress made by our old guy Blade.  The picture below was taken yesterday when he was helping me deal with things.  You can see he no longer has eyes like a panda! Further down are reminders of how he looked when he arrived.....

(Facebook users will need to go to www.shak.org.ukto see all the pictures.)

Thanks to everyone who has contributed towards his recovery, you can see the benefits in this photo I hope. If you'd like to donate towards helping him even more you can do by PayPal to shak@shak.org.uk or by sending a cheque made payable to SHAK to SHAK HQ. Greenwell Road, Alnwick NE66 1HB




Tuesday, 8 November 2016

How I Will Always Remember Him.....

I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who has messaged about both Buster and Donnie.

Lying here in front of the fire thinking about the two boys and looking through my phone at pictures..... I came across this.... Just how I want to remember Donnie.....




We Lose Another Amazing Gent.....

I spoke on Sunday in the post about losing Buster that I'd had another dog down at the vets on Friday in a pretty bad way. I didn't know just 48 hours later I'd be telling you the story.

On Friday I rushed Donnie down to the vets as he was very lethargic and trying to be sick without bringing anything up. Having had so much experience of German Shepherds and spleen tumours I wasn't prepared to take any chances. 

Scans, X Rays and then more scans confirmed that there was a serious problem as the wall of his stomach was grossly enlarged as was his spleen. The indications were that there was a tumour of some sort. 

Donnie was a fierce character, although I got to see the beautiful side of an amazing dog,  and although the stomach wall look too far gone for surgery his unwillingness to cooperate with strangers meant hospitalisation was impossible.

I have to say that Donnie was incredible and put up with such intrusive examinations without needing to be sedated. He trusted me.

He came back with me overnight and then to the kennels on Saturday. Once I managed to get some medication into him he perked up, and I remember him watching me closely as I dealt with Buster.

Yesterday afternoon he took another turn for the worst. I rushed him back down to the vets as it looked to me that his stomach was beginning to swell. I didn't know if it was an internal bleed or the beginning of a stomach torsion either could of been caused by the tumour. He was also trying to be sick again.  

On arrival  he was seen straight away, but after another thorough examination unsedated it appeared that the swelling had gone down. We headed home to my house again with medication to help the sickness. 

Last night we enjoyed our walk despite the bitter cold rain, and he settled to sleep. This morning I found he had slipped away from me….

Speaking to the vet today they confirmed my fears from yesterday that maybe he had suffered a bleed and that at some point during the night he had suffered another bigger one. He looked peacful this morning.

Donnie arrived with a huge reputation that he certainly lived upto. Even muzzled the day he arrived he was jumping and lunging braying the plastic off my shoulder. It took me days before I could get near him, but thankfully he was a lot more comfortable around Melissa, and I think she deserves a  lot of credit for being the one he felt he could trust first. I think I can honestly say hand on heart that he is the only German Shepherd to have me a little fearful, such was this huge bravado he displayed. He wanted to bite me is there is no two ways about it.

As time went on though we bonded and enjoyed so much play time together. He trusted me and I trusted him with me, although he was always going to be a one man dog. I started using him as a stooge dog, such was his calmness and confidence around other dogs.

I am going to miss him terribly. We had a routine, and we had each other. Now that will live on in my heart and memories.

Ironically the start of our 'Not Dead Yet' campaign has departed from us, leaving behind a legacy and having taught us so much. 

'Love Replaces Fear' is a phrase I use quite alot with this charity. In Donnie's case it is certainly true, but this time it was my fear that was overcome…..

(Facebook viewers will need to view on www.shak.org.uk to see all the pictures.)