Change Lives

Change Lives

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Marley Doing Well.....

It' Just a little over a week since big Marley arrived with the huge reputation he lived up too for being unwalkable on the lead. I had an instant soft spot for him, such a noble and handsome boy that has clearly been through something to make him like this.

Rich and myself have put a lot of time and energy into Marley over the last week, and as you can  see from the video below, yesterday Marley and I shared a nice walk in some long-awaited spring sunshine.

Just in case you've orgotten how far he has come, here's day one.....

Monday, 19 March 2018

Worthy Of Such Devotion - The SHAK Story. Pre-Order Your Copy Now.....

About nine months ago I received a letter from a man who had stumbled across my mam fundraising outside Pets At Home. He had been intrigued by the work we do and by the story behind why I founded the charity you all now know as SHAK.

That man was Robert MacGowan, published author of Jessica's Grandad and Hamsters In The Park. We met at HQ for an initial meeting, before months of Costa Coffee and unearthing some memories I'd buried deep inside. Everyone has had an effect on what I stand for now, but more importantly what the charity stands for today.

The result is a book called Worthy Of Such Devotion, excellently written and covering both the life of myself and the charity I created in the memory of my best friend.

The release date is still a couple of weeks away, but we are now offering you the chance to pre-order your copy now.....

As well as being one of the first to read why we are what we are, pre-ordering means your copy will be signed by both Rob and myself! 

To be one of the first, order your now from the SHAKShop:

Order Worthy Of Such Devotion HERE

Thank you in advance, thank you Rob, thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way and thank you Shak for making me do this.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Nearly Here.....

Nine months work is nearly taking a physical form.....

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Bren's Latest Trick.....

I couldn't help but laugh at Bren's latest trick when out on his walk with Rich and Cooper. If you can remember his story he was going to lose his life for being aggressive.....

Day Two With Marley.....

Day 2 with Marley and we're definately making friends.  One little spell on the way back but again I was able to regain his concentration.....

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Day One For Marley.....

Marley arrived late last night with a reputation of being impossible to get on a lead and to take for a walk. Whilst there is no aggression there towards his handler, his power, size, weight and obsession to grab the lead makes him a pretty daunting task.

This morning it was time to take him out for the first time. The task of getting him on a lead had me nervous, but he was brilliant and for the first few minutes I did wonder what all the fuss was about.

Then we passed another dog and at first he seemed ok. Then it was as if there was a switch turned and his anxiety leaf to..... well see for yourself......

I think the most amazing thing was that I was able to get him back and regain his composure, something I'm very proud of. I'm sure once the novelty wears off I will have an even more difficult task, but for now we need to try and keep him responsive. 

Can You Help Our Dogs On Specific Diets.....

It seems like an eternity since all the very generous donations arrives at Christmas and as the winter just seems to be never-ending the cupboards are beginning to get bare with certain things.

Due to various things such as skin conditions and sensitive stomachs we have some dogs that are on specific foods. Due to your enormous generosity we have a great supply of regular dog food, but we are getting short of:

Chappie both tinned and dry food
Hypoallergenic dry food
Fish based food (salmon and potato)

Food can be donated at our various drop off spots including Sainsbury's and Pets at Home in Alnwick, Pets at Home Cramlington, Moorview Vets and the bin at SHAK HQ in Greenwell Road Alnwick.

Thank you so much in advance.

Duke who loves his Chappie!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The 7th March 1999.....

Whilst researching and going back through my memories for a project I hope to be able to announce to you very soon, I found this photograph of Shak and myself. It was taken 19 years ago today and I'd owned him for approximately 3 hours.

That day changed my life forever and provided me with a friend I'll never forget. A friend that really was 'Worthy of Such Devotion.'

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Yoshi Update.....

Yoshi update from Amy...

As you can imagine due to the large amount of snow fall we have faced some challenges over the past few days however as always our amazing team all pulled together and all our dogs are safe, warm and well!

We would all just like to say a massive thank you first of all to everyone who donated funds in order to help Yoshi on his road to recovery. After one very manic week we got some hopeful news at Yoshi's latest appointment with his ophthalmologist. Yoshi's course of antibiotics & eye drops have helped him massively- his eye is now slowly returning back to its original colour and he is his happy old self. It's a possibility that Yoshi has been one of the lucky ones and his uveitis has not developed further into a secondary condition which is great news. We will continue to monitor Yoshi for the time being and keep on top of his medication but so far things are looking positive so again, thank you.

We'd also like to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed towards his veta bill. The appeal currently stands at £105, but with his medication on going we really do need for you to keep supportimg him.

Here's a photo of Yoshi enjoying (or not) the snow.....

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Chronicle Wish Tokens Campaign Results.....

I have to say on behalf of everyone connected to our charity that we are absolutely blown away by the results of this year' Chronicle Wish Tokens Campaign.....

Out of 123 charitable organisations that were part of the campaign, we finished as the highest ranking animal charity in 5th place!! We were only beaten by some huge organisations (congratulations to them all) and our recognition and support from you guys makes us both very proud and thankful.

Thank you all and a special thank you to Joan and Marga who gave up their time to stick 40,940 tokens onto the sheets. I really am lost for words!

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Help Us Help Yoshi.....

I've mentioned on here a few times now about Brad and Amy taking dogs home for a night or 2 of respite and how valuable this is in allowing us to assess how the dog will cope in a home and with the outside world. However whilst I'm sure they are all enjoying every minute, this next lodger came under more difficult circumstances. I'll let Amy take over.....

It has been one busy week for us here at SHAK, vet trips which seem never ending. On Monday it was Yoshi who needed our help. Yoshi has been with us for over a year now and has always had a clean bill of health which is why his illness has come as such a shock to us all.

Yoshi started shaking and his left eye became droopy and enlarged last Monday, we knew something was wrong and got him to the vet immediately, who, after a thorough health check, then sent us as an emergency referral to the main hospital in order for him to see an ophthalmologist.

The expert opinion confirmed Yoshi has developed a condition called Uveitis which can effect his vision and sadly lead to a secondary condition called glaucoma which in turn can lead to blindness. There seems to be no explanation as to why this condition has developed, but it is clear it is very serious.

So with their two days off arranged to start the next day, Yoshi packed his bags and headed to his temporary home with Brad and Amy.

I'm pleased top say that the break seems to have done him good and he is currently on a course of steroid eye drops & some antibiotics to help with the pain at the moment. We are back to see the ophthalmologist tomorrow, so hopefully he too will see an improvement. He has all our support, but we know we have a long road to go down yet.

As you can imagine this is very traumatic for Yoshi but given the circumstances he has been a real superstar. We want to give him the best chance at keeping as much vision as possible and of course will do all we can no matter of cost. We can only do that of course with your help. If you would like to contribute to Yoshi's existing vets bill and ongoing treatment then you can do by the following ways:

Paypal to (Please state Yoshi when making a payment)

Or by sending a cheque made payable to SHAK to:

Greenwell Road
NE66 1HB

Thank you in advance for helping us give this beautiful boy the best treatment possible when he needs it the most and also to Brad and Amy for being there for him.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A First Date.....

We'e been doing a little bit of work with Roxy since her weekend away and I'm pleased to say she is working towards a potential home after another successful home trial last weekend.

Her only minor issue seems to be sometimes being a little reactive to passing other dogs on a walk. That is where the work comes in and she is quickly getting the hang of it.

This afternoon I got Dude out for a walk and he gave Roxy a little kiss as he passed her kennel. It gave me an idea.....

They walked together with me on my own perfectly, and I have to say they were both impeccable.  In fact Dude did nothing but kiss her all the way.....

Friday, 16 February 2018

Guv Wants More Of This.....

Another SHAK dog enjoying a well deserved break from the kennels was little Guv.

Guv is a boisterous, energetic bundle of joy who thoroughly enjoyed getting spoilt last weekend, especially loving the attention and long walks.

Little Guv is a typical young lad who loves to play with his toys and get made a fuss of. He spent a lot of his weekend off on the couch enjoying some down time, he truly is a gentle giant.

Guv came to SHAK from another rescue, having spent a lot of time with him the time is right to push forward and try to find Guv his forever family. He needs someone who can give him a lot of attention and love-he certainly has a lot of love to give in return. This beautiful brindle boy deserves his forever home and you could help him on his journey.

For more info contact

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Roxy On Holiday.....

Another SHAK Dog enjoying a break this weekend was Roxy. I'm very grateful to Brad and Amy for giving her this opportunity, and of course it was also an opportunity to sneak a pint!...

Roxy had a well deserved break from the kennels this
weekend, spending her Saturday night in the local pub!

Roxy has been in kennels for over a year now and it was definitely the right time to house assess her and see how she coped outside the world she has not known for a while now. It's fair to say Roxy did absolutely amazing and it broke my heart taking her back to the kennels.

Roxy started off her break by visiting the local pub with a few SHAK regulars, as expected Roxy got a lot of attention from people in the pub, all amazed that she still hasn't found her forever home. The most amazing thing that happened that night for Roxy was meeting a 20 month old little girl who loved her and wanted to give her lots of attention, baring in mind Roxy has been in kennels for over a year we weren't quite sure how Roxy would cope with a little child giving her so much attention- she was outstanding. Roxy was very patient and enjoyed her cuddles, she especially enjoyed taking treats from the little girl.

Roxy did fantastically well and we are ever so proud of her, nothing at all seems to phase this wonderful girl. Roxy enjoyed many long walks, playing tug of war with her toys and loved getting spoilt with cuddles. This girl really deserves her forever home with a loving family.

If you'd like to know more about Roxy then please email

Monday, 12 February 2018


Dino has definately found a friend in Bandit in his mini break.....

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Dino And Donnie.....

Rachel took the liberty of filming from the comfort and the warmth of the sitting room as I walked the boys this evening.  She managed to capture this amazing footage of Dino chasing and trying to get Donnie to play.

I keep saying you maybe need to know these boys to know how amazing these videos are, but believe me they are!!!

Working Task Completed!....

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards the worming appeal. Job is now done!

The Biggest Walk Ever For Dino.....

In appalling conditions tonight I managed to get some of the most amazing video footage ever.

Dino (brindle and white American Bulldog) came to us having suffered some horrendous abuse. His present state of anxiety means he is she.domg tonight with me.

Having met Bandit, Donnie and Henry he enjoyed a walk. Anyone who knows Dino will know just how amazing this footage is.....

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Petplan Awards Nomination.....

If like to thank every body who has nominated us for this award. We're up against some very strong and worthwhile competition so we really don't expect to win, but the fact our work has been recognised by you lot means a lot. Thank you.

Dogs Monthly Magazine.....

There's a great piece in this month's Edition of Dogs Monthly magazine featuring our very good friend Phil Lyons John and our very special Lady.....

Monday, 5 February 2018

A Very Big Thank You.....

I'd like to say a huge thank you to the staff and customers of Pets at Home Cramlington for their amazing support through December's Santa Paws appeal. Customers were asked to donate towards buying a dog a Christmas dinner when they were buying goods. The customers were extremely generous and the staff showed amazing support to raise an incrdible £4,675.50p.

We are so grateful to everyone who made this possible as the fact the money was raised at the most difficult time of year means more than I can really put into words.

Caesar and Pyper very gratefully accepted the cheque!
Thank you so much.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Hail Caesar.....

Caesar has been with us for a couple weeks now and really is a sweet boy. He arrived absolutely terrified having spent a lot of time living outside in a garden. We are told he is only about  12 months old so still has a lot to learn about life, but he seems happy with us gradually making new friends.

He shares a kennel with Pyper that was featured in here a few weeks ago and the two boys are definately best buddies. I'm delighted to say that Pyper is moving on to his new home soon so it is now time to step up the search for a place for this little man.

We would like him to have somewhere to share with another dog to show him the ropes and an environment where he isn't on his own for too long as there may initially be some separation anxiety, but with a little bit of reassuring he will make somebody an  amazing friends.

For an application form please contact

Monday, 22 January 2018

Amazing Result In The Wormer Appeal.....

I just want to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU on behalf of all the SHAK team for really getting behind our wormer appeal. The total as it stands right now exceeds our wildest dreams and smashed the £350 target.

Currently your generosity and support has raised an amazing £1265!!! Not only meaning we can worm our 70 dogs this month but we almost have enough money to worm 70 dogs for an entire year!!!

I am blown away by how much you have supported us on this, and never ever thought we'd reach the £350 target never mind a years worth.

To everyone that has donated thank you so much.

It continues to be manic with me receiving approximately 2-3 requests a day to take in dogs. That was different yesterday when I was asked to help the Caucasian Shepherd that was shot dead by Police in Teeside yesterday. The plea came too late as the geographic difference and weather conditions meant I could never get there in time, even if I was allowed to try and save him.

Today The Sun newspaper somehow tracked me down to do an interview on whether I thought SHAK could have helped him.  I don't think I need to elaborate.....

We are such a small charity, operating well above what we should be, but the team I have assembled will give everything to do all we can. That is why your support on such a simple appeal like this wormer one means the world to us. Thank you so much.

Sky and Bruce enjoying the snow on Friday.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Some News Regarding Our Lilly.....

Some of you may remember Lilly who came here in such a state during the summer. Today we had some good news.....

Monday, 8 January 2018

SHAK Boutique News and Facebook Page.....

Welcome to the official SHAK Boutique page! We are so thrilled to announce that due to the enormous success of the pop up festive boutique in December, we will now be operating it as an ongoing venture.

The aim is to raise as much money as possible to help our wonderful dogs at SHAK. The boutique will run at our HQ in Alnwick 2 days per week to begin with (Days still to be announced) and hopefully full time in the future.

All items will be available for posting out if you can’t get to our HQ in Alnwick and the Facebook page will serve as a platform to advertise the wonderful things we have for sale.

Donations are always welcome however, we can only accept brand new or as new clothes, shoes, accessories and brand new cosmetics. If you wish to donate household things we will accept a small amount or if you have anything large we can arrange to list it on eBay!

Please search Facebook for SHAK Boutique and have a browse!

We look forward to working with you all and of course to raising as much as possible to keep SHAK going.
100% of money raised goes to the charity.

2018 Worming Appeal.....

Christmas seems a million miles away now, and as we head into January it's time that we start to make plans for the year ahead.

One thing we always try to keep on top of but at great expense is flea and worming treatments. With always running with about 70 dogs you can imagine how expensive that can be.

We have decided that to start the year we are going to worm every dog in January which will help us begin the quarterly cycle required. However to do this we really need your help.

We are looking to buy a high quality wormer on line and have always used Drontal. From Animed Direct we can purchase one tablet that will treat a dog upto 35kgs for £4.90. Multiply that by 70 and you can see how much it will all cost..... a whopping £343.

So today we launch our worming appeal and have set a target of £350 in case we get any new arrivals. To donate you can send a payment via two different methods:

PayPal to (Please mark it wormers)

Or a cheque made payable to SHAK (Please write wormers on the back) to SHAK Greenwell Road, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1HB.

Our dogs health is extremely important to us and regular treatments help us treat them as if they were our own pets. Thank you in advance for your support.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Piper Comes At Christmas.....

It seems that every year we have a new arrival during the festive break, last year you may remember Red that was tied to church gates on Christmas Day? This year was no exception, as we received the very handsome Piper just after Christmas.

Piper arrived very nervous, and whilst he is probably 'working weight' he is still quite thin. He has quickly built up his trust with us, and is making friends of both the two and four legged variety.

He is such a gentle soul it's difficult to imagine somebody kicking him out although I do wonder due to a couple of scars if he simply falls into the ex worker discarded category.

We are now waiting for the seasonal madness to pass and for people's routines to get back to normal before looking for either a home or rescue space for him.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Santa's Helpers And Thank You.....

I know this is short notice, but Christmas has crept upon us and with a fund raising diary that is chocker this weekend really is the only time we can fit in a couple of Santa's Helpers days.

You may remember last year was the first year we opened the doors to SHAK HQ for people to drop off food, bedding, toys and cash donations,and it was an enormous success.

So this year we have decided to repeat the event but spreading it over two days, this Friday (8th December) from 10am till 2pm and Saturday (9th December) from 10am till 4pm.

This event is a great opportunity for some of our fund raising team to meet the very special people who support our work, but also a great chance for you to pass on your donations personally. Unfortunately due to a really busy diary we are unable to come and collect any much appreciated donations this time of year.

Thank you so much in advance and we hope to see you on wither Friday or Saturday.

I'd also like to say a very big thank you to everyone involved in the SHAK Boutique event over the last couple of weeks, especially Kerry and Natasha for getting the whole event off the ground and Gordon for being of friendly doggy face in the public domain!

Of course the event wouldn't have been a success without your support and I'm delighted to say with money still coming in we have surpassed all expectations and records! Currently the total stands at around £3,500 which is simply unbelievable. Thank you all so much for helping us raise a mind blowing amount.

I'd also like to say a thank you to the fundraising girls who raised a fantastic amount at Alnwick Christmas Market last weekend, but particularly to my daughter Neve who gave up her Saturday to help. At 11 she has seen so much in the world of rescue and Saturday she helped in a way she could. I'm so proud of her.

It was also great to see some of the dogs we have helped get into loving homes, you will all remember Lilly and I think you'll agree she is looking fantastic. Whilst Fagan is certainly enjoying an extended stay with Sheena and Roger.  Thank you all so much.

Neve in charge of the stall. 

And her reward!
Lilly and her dad.

The legend that is Fagan.
Facebook viewers will need to click on the link to see all the pictures.