Change Lives

Change Lives

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

On BBC Newcastle Tomorrow Morning.....

I recorded a few bits this afternoon on BBC Radio Newcastle about re looking at the Dangerous Dogs Act. Tune in tomorrow from about 08.15 am for the full live interview.....

2019 SHAK Calendars Available Now.....

After have a presale exclusive for the opening of the SHAK Store, I am delighted to be able to announce thatthe brand new 2019 SHAK Calendars are now available to buy on line!

Thank you once again to all our sponsors who have made it possible that EVERY PENNY from these Calendars goes straight into the pot to help our dogs. Also a thank you to Michael Robinson for all his time designing the finished article.

You can buy yours on line via the following link, or why not save postage and pop down to the SHAK Store, 12 Bowes Street, Blyth.....

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Summer Loving.....

In such brilliant sunshine I just had to share a special moment between Kiki and Enzo.....

Help Needed In Our Back Run.....

You know we never stand still up here, as well as setting up the shop we've also been doing major renovation to our exercise run.

Our incredible maintenance man Brian has worked so hard and done all the work himself, but now we need a little advice and some help.

The plan is to lay artificial grass so the dogs have something soft to run and play on in all weather's. Here lies the problem.....

The surface at the moment is old concrete and rough, we need somebody's expertise to help make it suitable for laying the grass on.

So we are sending out a plea to any one who has experience doing this job that might be able to give us advice or even even physically help us out. If you are that person then please get in touch via email

The back run is so valuable to the dogs, being the only form of real freedom. We just want it to be the best we can.

(Please note we are in the Alnwick area.)

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Volunteer Opportunities.....

There have been a  couple of voluntary position become available at our kennels near Alnwick lately, so as the season change we are looking to attract some more people to work alongside our existing team.

These positions are completely voluntary and are minimum 3 hour slots anywhere between 8am and 5pm, seven days a week. They consist of kennel cleaning, general house keeping, dog walking and once trained, assisting in helping us work on the wide range of issues that come hand in hand with our dogs.

For insurance purposes we can only take on over 18's, whilst due to our own transport is essential.

Please note that these are NOT temporary placements and we do not offer work experience positions. We believe that our dogs need long term commitment to be able to start building relationships with people again.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience and see Rescue at the end where it really can be life or death.

For an application form please email:

Friday, 5 October 2018

Shop Opening Tomorrow.....

I promised you earlier in the week some really exciting news about the SHAK Shop, well here it is.....

We are opening tomorrow, Saturday 6th October, at 9am. Complete with guest appearances from Keith Dodds as a Storm Trooper and Marga Johnson as Woofles!

This project has taken months to get to this stage, with a lot of hard work, sweat and worry on a daily basis, but it's something we are very proud of.

The support this idea has had has been amazing,  with some incredible generosity along the way.....

I'd like to say a special thank you to Joan Brittlebank who has joined me every step of the way, had faith in my ideas and put her heart and soul into making it all happen.

Thank you to Rachel for giving up pour holidays to help search for just the right furniture to fit the shop out. I'd also like to thank Ann Ray for amazing generosity in buying us a steamer and a new carpet, Northumbria Flooring and Furniture for doing us such an amazing deal and Stephen Adams the carpet fitter for being prepared to tackle such a difficult job and still making it look perfect!

Thanks to all the members of the SHAK Team too who helped by ripping up the old carpet, hanging things on the walls and pricing things up ready for tomorrow. Then of course, there is the voluntary team who have come forward to man the shop when its open. We really would have been struggling without you all.

So tomorrow is the big day, a chance for you to come and browse and support us by treating yourself! We also thought as part of the celebrations we could try and include the dogs. So for the whole of October we are asking customers to donate treats and tinned dog food in the donation bin inside the store, that way the dogs too get something to enjoy from a very special occasion!

So please come and see the shop and meet the team tomorrow. We open at 9..... just look out for Woofles and a Storm Trooper!

SHAK. 12 Bowes Street, Blyth NE24 1EB

Monday, 1 October 2018

Very Nearly There.....

We are very nearly there..... Huge news announcement later this week.....

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Good Night Phoenix.....

This is still very raw, but I will try my best.

You will remember in June we took in an old Husky that was tied to a tree on the a69. This is one of the busiest roads in Northumberland,  connecting the east and the West, and he was in dreadful condition.

This bedraggled boy became Phoenix, and it turned out he was at least 16. It was clear from the minute he arrived that he couldn't stay in kennels so he ended up at home with me.

His stay lasted literally a few hours then Rachel came, fell in love and the two became inseparable. The love was mutual and instant, like it was meant to be.

He became an integral part of our family, settling in as if he had always been there, loving life with his brothers and sisters.

Fostering an older dog is never easy, but Rachel was so patient and understanding with him. Seeing them together showed true devotion, I am so proud of them both.

Last week he became ill. Blood tests showed some major changes, especially in his protein levels and he didn't have enough red blood cells. Without further tests we couldn't be sure of the cause, but it pointed towards a liver or kidney problem. Severe anaemia meant his body was shutting down, there was nothing we could do.

On Thursday his body told us it was tired and couldn't go on. We lost an amazing part of the family who had showed so much bravery and desire to live. He was stubborn, courageous, determined but above all he was amazing. We were very lucky he found his way to us, we miss him dearly.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Busy, Busy Times.....

It has been a really busy time of late, with what appears to be the 'post school holidays kick out' season really gathering pace. It's amazing how many dogs find their way to us as 'strays' but once you dig a little deeper into microchip details the truth begins to unfurl.

I really don't know what the answer is to this problem, as it is definately better and safer that these dogs come to us and other rescues rather than being left on the streets or destroyed, but the overall effect in the world of rescue is that we are all completely saturated.

Couple that issue with the seasonal problem of poachers, now the nights are drawing in and the fields are being cut, thus creating an influx of Lurchers and Greyhounds, you can see just how desperate things are.

The biggest issue with the abandoned sight hounds is they are usually dumped in horrendous condition. More often than not emaciated and riddled with fleas.  They tend to need some sort of medical attention and are usually very nervous around people. We have seen it all so many times before.

So as winter is in the air, our work rate needs to step up even more, putting us under even more pressure. That's why you support is so valuable. Thank you.

Kiki and Enzo who both arrived recently and are now helping each other.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Duke Update.....

The support and kindness that people have shown Duke has been nothing short of sensational.  I'm delighted to say that we smashed the target we set and people are still stopping me in the street and donating and asking how he is. We've decides to keep the excess funds to one side just in case he needs more surgery or further amendments to the surgery that has been done. Once again, Thank you all so much.

He's had a great few days recovering with Brad and Amy, as you can see......

Duke is recovering really well, he’s feeling pretty sorry for himself so is enjoying extra cuddles and attention. He has been spread out across the double bed every night!
Duke has been doing so well we decided to take him for a pint down the local pub where he got even more spoiled as everyone felt sorry for him with his buster collar on. The bar maid even brought out a bowl of cheddar cheese for him since he’s very fussy and said no to the regular dog treats!

Dukes eyes look to be healing really well, we are back at the vets this week for a post operative check up so fingers crossed they are happy with his recovery. They will be checking to see if enough skin was removed in order for Duke to be as comfortable as possible as before the operation his bottom eyelids were extremely inverted. They will be looking to see if any skin needs to be removed from his top eyelid to make him even more comfortable. I think Duke can’t wait to get that buster collar off regardless!


Sunday, 16 September 2018

A Reminder For Tomorrow.....

Please dont forget if you are interested in volunteering at our new shop, we aare having an information meeting tomorrow.....Monday 17th of September at our new premises.... 12 Bowes Street, Blyth NE24 1EB.

Doors open at 17.45 for an 18.00 start. Hope to see you then.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Duke Recovering After His Op.....

Just want to  say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everybody who has supported Dukes appeal. The reaction from our supporters has been simply unbelievable and I'm delighted to say that he has had his surgery and is currently recovering at home with Brad and Amy. Thank them and you guys so much.....

Monday, 10 September 2018

Nearly There And Exciting News.....

With a lot of hard work and the help of some amazing people (more on those at a later date) the very first SHAK Retail Shop is very nearly here!

I have to say it has had brilliant reception and as myself and fellow trustee Joan were doing more work there this afternoon we even had people coming in and wanting to look around!

When this idea was first announced we had a surge of people looking to offer their time as a volunteer. We really do need these people to help for this to work, remember as a charity we have over 70 Dogs that need caring for, our human resources are stretched to the limit, so we have decided to host an informal session for everyone thinking of volunteering.

The idea behind this is for you to see exactly what is involved in being part of our retail team, including explain Gift Aid,  then hopefully you will want to be part of it even more!

So the special night is a week today, Monday 17th of September at our new premises.... 12 Bowes Street, Blyth NE24 1EB.

Doors open at 17.45 for an 18.00 start. Hope to see you then.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Can You Help Us Help Duke?.....

You may remember I introduced you to Duke back in April when he enjoyed a great weekend away from kennel life with Brad and Amy. We vowed then we would try and find him a home,  but all of our efforts have been in vain.

Duke was found as a stray, we know he is called Duke because he had a tag on with his name but no owners details, maybe they were afraid of a large vets bill looming? He has had constant problems with his eyes since he arrived with us be we were hoping to put off any operations until he found his forever home. Unfortunately since that hasn't happened we have decided to go ahead with his surgery and kindly accepted the offer of a few days with Brad and Amy to recover.

Duke needs an operation on his eyes called an Entropian. Entropion is the name given to “inward turned eyelids”. The inside of a dog’s eyelid is smooth and pink, so it slides smoothly over the eyeball. However, if it is turned inwards even slightly, the hair and eyelashes rub against the eye, causing irritation, pain and inflammation. In severe cases, entropion can even result in corneal ulcers (“scratches” on the eye’s surface), pigmentary keratitis (dark pigment-filled spots forming on the cornea) or even rupture of the eyeball itself. Even moderate cases, if not resolved, may affect the dog’s vision.

(Extract taken from

So with everything else in place, this is where we need your help to really make a difference to Dukes life.....

It is estimated that his operation and after care will cost around the £400 mark,  so today we are launching an appeal to raise the amount required.

Duke is booked in for surgery on the 13th of September and will have the operation regardless, but if we could raise the additional funds to cover it it would really help.

You can donate via PayPal to:

Or via cheque (made payable to SHAK and marked Dukes appeal) sent to our head office:

Greenwell Road
NE66 1HB

Duke has been so patient waiting for his chance of a home, we really want to make a difference to his life.....

Friday, 31 August 2018

Goodbye August.....

Had a nice walk this evening which have me and Henry an opportunity to say goodbye to August with a beautiful sunset.....

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The Group Gets Bigger....

The two newbies have come on so well with Bren and Rex that Rich and I decided to really put them to the test....

So the two on each end are boys, the girls (who have never met each other before) are in the middle. They all had so much fun and loved each other. A very proud moment.

Bren Welcomes The Girls.....

You may remember Bren arriving last year, terrified and displaying it in horrendous fear aggression. He was so bad that the pound we saved him from, who had booked him in to be destroyed, described hom as the most aggressive dog they had ever seen. I'll emphasise the point again, he was terrified....

Today of course he's a lot happier and from being discarded and written off, he has turned into a valuable asset for helping others who are finding life in rescue difficult. As these photos of our latest two arrivals show.....

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

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!

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

Thank you in advance.