Change Lives

Change Lives

Monday, 28 February 2011

Mike Galloway A Key Player For SHAK.....

Made the front page and page 15 in todays Journal:

A FORMER football star whose career was ended by a near-fatal car crash is working with a unique Northumberland charity which saves dogs from death row.

Mike Galloway – who was capped by Scotland in the 1990s – is doing regular volunteer work with Bedlington-based Safe Homes and Kindness (SHAK), which rescues and cares for large and aggressive animals which would otherwise be put down.

Berwick-born Mike, 45, played for Hearts before moving to Glasgow giants Celtic, where he spent six years from 1989 to 1995.

It was during his time at Parkhead that the powerful midfielder and defender won his solitary Scotland cap, against Romania in 1992.

It was after moving to Leicester City in 1995 that he suffered the horrendous car accident, which broke nearly every bone in his body and left him in a coma for six weeks.

His injuries forced him to give up playing, but he moved to Wooler about 18 months ago and is currently managing the town’s football team, which plays in the North Northumberland League.

Mike, who owns a Border Collie, got involved with SHAK after looking for volunteering work. The charity’s founder, Stephen Wylie of Bedlington, is a massive Celtic fan and former season ticket holder at Parkhead.

Mike said: “The whole thing about SHAK just appealed to me so much. The charity is absolutely amazing and I would like to help them as much as I can.”

Stephen, 36, set up SHAK to rescue and look after dogs such as German Shepherds, rottweilers and cross-breeds languishing in pounds and shelters, and about to be put down. He said: “Getting Mike on board is great for me because I used to go and watch him play in the 1990s when I had a Celtic season ticket. He wants to help raise our profile and raise funds.” More information about SHAK and its work can be found at

Mike Galloway a key player for dog charity SHAK - Bedlington News - Bedlington - Northumberland - JournalLive

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Animals Forced To Fight To The Death.....

I am truly lost for words. This is right on my door step:

TWO men from Northumberland have been jailed after forcing animals to fight to the death and posting footage on the internet.

Wayne Lumsden and Connor Patterson, both 23, were sent to prison for 26 and 20 weeks respectively by magistrates at Bedlington for offences relating to badgers, foxes, dogs, cats and cocks.

The pair were also banned from keeping animals for 15 and eight years respectively after boasting about their antics in text messages and keeping photos – some of which appeared on website Bebo.

Lumsden, of Park Road, Lynemouth, had earlier pleaded guilty to willfully killing a badger and two counts of causing an animal fight to take place.

Farm worker Patterson, of Whitfield, near Hexham, who the court heard had been an apprentice gamekeeper, had pleaded guilty to two counts of causing an animal fight to take place.

The case was brought before South East Northumberland magistrates by Northumbria Police and the RSPCA.

Prosecutor Denise Jackman told the court police had unearthed a series of videos, photos and text messages on Lumsden’s mobile phone.

Magistrates were read a series of texts exchanged by the pair in which Lumsden bragged of “killing a badger” with his and another dog – something he described as “mint”.

The court was then shown a video of the badger being attacked by the two dogs, then footage of cocks fighting and again men’s voices could be heard encouraging them.

Magistrates heard clothes seen in the video were later traced to Lumsden and that a text message of his referred to spurs used in cock fighting.

urther footage was shown to the court of a fox which had been snared being attacked by a dog. A stick was thrust into the fox’s mouth and a boot – which was later traced to Patterson – was shown on its neck.

Again, men could be heard laughing and encouraging the dog with cries of “kill it”.

In the final bit of footage, a fox was shown in a cage with a dog. The animals are seen fighting with men’s voices encouraging them and hands shown holding the fox’s ears through the cage.

In a search of Lumsden’s home, DVDs were found, including TV programmes about the RSPCA and its work on badger baiting.

Photographic evidence was found on his Bebo page.

In interview, Patterson admitted he had been an apprentice gamekeeper and had a national diploma in countryside and game management. While studying for this, he had learnt how to use snares and traps.

Defending Lumsden, Graham Crouth said his client had got involved in a crowd where he felt the “need to impress”.

Mr Crouth said other people played a more active role in the badger attack than Lumsden, but that there had been “a group mentality” whereby it is “difficult to say that is wrong” and his client had not shown the courage to do so.

Patterson, defending himself, claimed he had been an innocent bystander and had not caused any animals to fight, although he accepted he could have intervened.

After the case, wildlife crime officer PC Andy Swinburne said: “This was a complex and prolonged investigation which led the inquiry across the whole of Northumberland, from Berwick to Blyth and to the western border with Cumbria.

“It highlights the extent to which people such as Lumsden and Patterson are prepared to travel in order to participate in various forms of sadistic pleasure, where they clearly show no regard or respect for the animal being subjected to its horrendous fate, or indeed their own dogs’ welfare.

“I’m pleased with the sentence passed and hope it will act as a deterrent for like-minded individuals.”

They showed no regard or respect for the animal being subjected to its horrendous fate.

Hello To Canada & More.....

Everyday I have to take a second to reflect on how far all this has come since that sad and life changing day when I lost my Shak. What was supposed to just be me giving up several hours per week to help the dogs in the pounds, has now taken over my life and become the SHAK sanctuary you all know and hopefully support.

Today that was brought home to me again, as I came home to find a donation from a Canadian who I was lucky enough to meet on a recent visit to stay with our very own Till and his family. Stephen's donation was joined by one from his Mam, proving I guess that SHAK is now definitely global!

Thanks so much to Stephen and his Mam, the SHAK team really appreciate both your kind words and kind donation.

I'd also like to say thank you and welcome to a few new members of the SHAK team, who have already made a big difference and some new furry friends. Its amazing how quickly these dogs win your heart, just ask Andrea's Mam who has been drafted in to do the dishes. So thank you to Lynne, Jan and Mike for giving up valuable days off to get dirty and have fun with the wonderful pooches we have.

As you can see Wilf and Ameri have also spent a little time bonding on his temporary foster. The picture above is how these two spend a Sunday afternoon. Please remember Wilf is still looking for a "Forever Foster" home. Thanks Ameri for all the work you're putting in on this handsome boy.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Staffy Thrown From Car In Black Plastic Bag.....

The RSPCA has condemned a woman who threw an elderly dog out of a car window tied in a black plastic bag.

A dogwalker who witnessed the incident near Merthyr Tydfil opened the bag and found a Staffordshire bull terrier between 13 and 16 years-old.

An examination found the animal had stomach cancer and had to be put down because of her poor condition.

RSPCA inspector Gemma Cooper said it was a "callous and utterly unacceptable" behaviour.

"This was a dreadful way to treat an animal, especially an elderly, sick dog."

"It is likely that the owner could not afford medical treatment but this behaviour is callous and utterly unacceptable.

RSPCA Inspector
"We need the public to help find the person responsible for this outrage."

The animal charity are appealing for information following the incident on Wednesday, 16 February at about 1830 GMT in an area known as the old pit site, near Crescent Street, Merthyr Vale.

The animal was examined by a veterinary surgeon who discovered that she had stomach cancer, an enlarged heart as well as other signs of neglect.

The member of the public was unable to identify the car model or its registration number.

Anyone with relevant information is asked to call the RSPCA on 0300 1234999 in confidence

Monday, 21 February 2011

Wilf Update.....

This is Wilf back from the vets after getting the chop. As you can see he is feeling a little sorry for himself, but doing ok. Whilst at the vets I'm pleased to say that another skin scrape confirmed that he is now clear of any form of mange mites, and can now look forward to finding his "Forever Foster" home.

Thanks to Ameri for taking such good care of him, he really does look amazing now. We have a little longer before he has to come back to kennels, so if anyone is interested in the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Newcastle area please get in touch ( 07931 702345 stating clearly that you are calling about Wilf.)

More Thank You's.....

More thank yous after what turned out to be a very fruitful day yesterday. Thanks to Susan, Doug and the team at Jollyes in Blyth for a magnificent haul of food, we really appreciate your support.

It was also a fantastic day down at Derek's where had another generous turnout. Thanks to everyone who popped down and donated financially and with food and beds, and of course to Derek who put in another tremendous shift in such cold weather.

Between both stops we managed to fill my Landrover and Karen's Trooper, thank you all so much.

Friday, 18 February 2011

See You For Coffee At Derek's On Sunday.....

Just a reminder that its the 3rd Sunday of the month this week, so Derek is open at Seaton Sluice. We had a great response to both the funding and food appeals last time he was open (thank you again)but we are still in desperate need for both. Thanks in advance for your support.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

2 Years On, Still Miss You Bruno.....

Its 2 years today since SHAK lost one of it's Big Boys after a horrible illness. I still miss you Bruno, and wish that things had turned out differently.

Here's his story:

"Bruno came to us all the way from Southampton, looking for a new start due to no fault of his own. He had a history of a poorly stomach, but that was put down to a food allergy, and we tried to combat it with various specialist diets, although it turned out to be something a lot worse.

On February 17th 2009 we had to give up the fight, and let him move on to a better place. Bruno gave us so many ups and downs in the time we had him. He was such a loving, yet grumpy big guy. I for one don’t regret trying to help him, and right to the end, he was a gentleman and a calming influence on the other dogs. Below is brief description of his illness, written by then volunteer Sharon Ness who was with him right to the end. Run free Bruno, God bless you.

“His blood tests showed a significantly low level of protein which the vets say was obvious given his emaciated state.

The scan showed nothing and they felt an x ray would yield no valuable information as they could feel the whole of his intestines when examining him. Several of the vets reviewed him, his results and his history during the time they had cared for him.

The consensus of opinion was that it was inflammatory bowel disease as debilitating as cancer, if not that then a diffuse lymphoma causing multiple small tumours throughout the bowel. Definite diagnosis would have required surgery to take biopsies but this was something that they felt was too much for him to cope with in his very poor state of health.

Basically his immune system was attacking his own gut and causing an absorption problem and profuse diarrhoea. It would be untreatable and progressively worsening. The vets felt that they could not offer any interventions and the best thing for Bruno was to be put to sleep.

The whole illness would have occurred regardless of where he was living and was not contributed to by "kennel stress".

Bruno very quietly and peacefully was put to sleep 4pm this afternoon while I cradled his head and told him to go off and have a great run after some free at Rainbow Bridge little man xxxxxx”

"Forever Foster" Homes Needed For Tilly And Wilf.....

We are still looking for a "Forever Foster" home for Tilly, and also now a "Forever Foster" home for the magnificent Wilf. Wilf is currently staying with Ameri, but she is moving house soon, so he will be back at the kennels next week.

Wilf has responded brilliantly to treatment for his skin and has been a perfect house guest whilst staying out.

Tilly is a gorgeous Lurcher girl that we picked up as a stray running across the A1. She was skin and bone, and had fleas so big I picked them off with my fingers. She is very sociable and playful, and likes the company of other dogs.

If you think you could offer Tilly or Wilf a new start please email or call 07931 702345 (please leave a message stating clearly that you are interested in being considered for Tilly or Wilf.)

Please note, we are looking for a home in Northumberland, North Tyneside or Newcastle only. Normal SHAK Foster Conditions Apply.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Our Dogs Need You.....

Be Warned You Do See This Poor Boy Die.....

Tonight our thoughts are with very good friends of SHAK Liesa and Niall (who brought us Kane, Butch, Gunnar and Nina)after having to go through the above video. Please be warned you do see the dog die, but then that is the life we live.

Here is perhaps the most sensible words I've ever heard written by Liesa, its a shame it is on a day another dog loses its life:

"Did anyone ever love this boy, or was he just another Throw away Dog?
Found starving & fitting near a shopping center, un-neutered but chipped.
The registered owner said he'd sold him a month ago & didn't know who to...
Not even concerned for his once companion.

His tiny belly full of plastic & foreign bodies unable to pass through, believed to be the cause of his chronic infection, which in tern is believed to be the cause of the non stop fitting.
Sadly this boy did not respond to treatment, he was too far gone & had to be put to sleep.... He died with the love of strangers....
( so sad we couldn't save him)

A stray dog becomes the responsibility of the local council, the local council have a budget made up of tax payers money, & most councils can only pay out for relatively minor veterinary needs for stray dogs... resulting in many sick or injured dogs being put to sleep if an owner cant be traced immediately.... all of this paid for by taxpayers.. this is how it effects you.
Also all the stray dogs that are not claimed by their owners, cost you the taxpayer, whilst the councils pay for 7 days boarding & then either rehome the dog, put the dog to sleep, or give the dog to a rescue to rehome.

This poor dog, could he have been saved would have come over to our over stretched in debt rescue, relying on donations from you!

If the government brought in stronger laws on dog ownership. this would not only save you the taxpayer, but would mean dogs like this one would unlikely end up in this terrible situation.

There are thousands of unwanted dogs in council pounds all over the UK, & there are thousands of dogs put to sleep all over the UK. Not just sick or injured ones, but many many healthy ones, just because there is an over population of dogs due to indiscriminate breeding & our throw away society.

This is what the government could do to stop this heartache & save taxpayers money.

All breeding of dogs should be done by government approved licensed breeders. With the breeders having to pay for their inspections & license fee's.

All dogs not for breeding should be neutered.

All dogs should be covered by a passport/license with all the dogs details & ownership on, at a reasonable cost that a genuine dog lover will be happy to pay out..

All dogs should be I.D. chipped to an owner & if the dog changes hands, it should be up to the owner who sold/gave the dog to update the chip companies details as well as the new owner notifying the chip company.

Any dog that is found & needing medical treatment would then be paid for by the registered owner, & if they said they had sold the dog, they should still have to pay the vet bill for not complying with re-registration of their once owned dog to a new owner.

New laws are needed to stop this suffering & expense & new laws could be funded by license fees & fines for non compliance. This would not only stop so many unwanted dogs roaming the street, but will also help prevent dog attacks. As the registered keeper will be held accountable for their dog at all times.

There should also be fines put in place for dogs out of control in public places & causing a danger to people & other animals, & like with a driving license could work on a points scheme... two many strikes & the dog is removed from you & given into a rescue who can home the dog responsibly....

In my opinion, all dogs deserve a right to life, behavioral problems can be worked on & dogs with guarding tendencies can be kept under control by responsible owners. All rescues are bursting at the seams, because any Tom Dick or Harry can own & breed a dog, can neglect & or abuse that dog & throw it away with out ever having to be held accountable. Just as he can bring a dog up to be aggressive as a status dog, threaten people & their animals with it & chuck it away when he's bored of it without ever being held accountable. Who suffers... not Tom Dick or Harry.... Oh No.. the dog suffers, the taxpayer suffers & the unfortunate victim of a dog attack suffers..

Something needs to change.... & the current laws banning breeds do not work at all & only punish caring dog lovers who have their dog taken from them because of how they look...
Start punishing the irresponsible dog owner who only ever cares about himself......"

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Thank You's.....

Some thank yous from the last couple of days. Thanks to Joan, Nicola and Carol for giving up their Saturday to fundraise at Pets At Home in Sunderland. Thanks to the generosity of the kind people of Sunderland a superb £156 was raised, as well as some new friends being made.

A massive thank you to the staff and management of the Sunderland branch for allowing us the opportunity to fundraise at their branch, and for a huge food donation to cap off a fantastic day.

A massive thank you to Karen too, for once again bailing me out when we've been short handed at the kennels. At short notice she has given up her day off during the week and the entire weekend to shovel dog muck, and enabled me and Gregg to continue some work with the dogs. A real unsung hero, thanks Karen.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

A News Update On Sled Dog Massacre.....

A news update on the horrendous story of the 100 sled dogs murdered:

Friday, 11 February 2011

Wilf Putting His Foot Down.....

Seems like Wilf has had enough of Ameri's nagging already.


Been a very busy but constructive week up at The Rescue Place, as two of our boys move on to pastures new, one being it just temporarily.

Sonny came to us a very manic, stressed and clearly upset German Shepherd. The vet rang me to see if I could help as he was due to be destroyed for biting his owner the following day. I don't think its fair to disclose personal details, but Sonny hadn't been getting the attention he deserved and one thing lead to another.

He has responded well to socialisation in his time with us, and become quite a loving and playful dog. A little research resulted in his breeder wishing to give him a home again. Sonny is neutered so there was no motive other than feeling it was her responsibility to give him a home (well done Lynne), and of course the fact she fell in love with him as soon as she saw him. We have provided a rescue fall back if things don't work out, but Sonny deserves a home. We have served our purpose, saved his life, and given him space and time to be a dog again. Enjoy the outside world handsome.

Wilf was the next big boy to move out, although his is just for a couple of weeks. Ameri has kindly offered to give him a home whilst he completes his baths and gets neutered. Of course it also gives us a good insight into how he will handle things with the view to a Forever Foster home. As you can see from the pictures, it hasn't taken him long to settle in.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Video Of Emaciated Dog Being Dumped.....

We all look at the horrendous stories on here and ask "how can someone do that." Well here's how.....

This is the moment a cruel owner abandoned his emaciated dog in north London tied to a drainpipe.

CCTV footage shows the owner dumping the four-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier at Wood Green Animal Shelters before walking away.

Honey is then seen attempting to follow the man, spinning and pulling to get away until a member of staff discovered her. When Shelter staff untied her they were shocked to discover Honey emaciated, shivering and terrified.

The dog weighed just 10kg - nearly half her ideal weight - and had sores on her back legs, suggesting she was kept outside without any bedding.

She has since been transferred to nearby Godmanchester Shelter. Manager of the shelter, Katie Wickins said: "Honey's weight loss and pressure sores have not developed overnight. It is unacceptable for anyone to allow their pet to suffer in this way."

The shelter released CCTV footage of Honey being abandoned on YouTube to highlight the increasing number of pets being dumped.

Dog starved, tied up and then abandoned in north London News

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Thank You.....

Thank you to everyone who supplied a whole load of food and support at Derek's today. It seems like forever since he was open, and it was wonderful to see you hadn't forgot about us. Also thank you to Sharon from Kia for her fantastic effort in selling the raffle Derek had put together. In the current climate and the restrictions placed by members of Northumberland Council, we really appreciate people doing that bit more.

And of course, thank you Derek. Despite only wanting to help the dogs nobody but us want, he has been forced through the ringer of late. Today it was great to see him back doing what he is best at..... raising much needed funds.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Friday, 4 February 2011

Derek's Is Open Sunday.....

Seems like ages since he was, but Derek is open this Sunday. The first and third Sunday rule has been a bit of a nightmare in January as there was 5 Sundays. Anyway, he is open on Sunday, and we are desperate for food and funds! Thanks for your continued support, and enjoy your trip to 6 Marine View, Seaton Sluice I know Derek would love to see you.

Boys Will Be Boys.....

As promised here are some photos of Harvey. It hasn't taken him long to make friends both 2 legged and 4 legged. Harvey is a very affectionate boy, and loves playing with Butch and Kane. These two are remarkable aswell, remembering that they had not been socialised at all. They are constantly introducing themselves to the other dogs, and in Harvey have found a good pal.

I have to say look at the second picture, how Butch didn't trip himself over is nothing short of a miracle.

Introducing The Boys.....

The Real Wilf.....

Thanks to Lucy at Bella's for giving Wilf his second bath today, and spoiling him rotten in the process. As you can see he has begun to settle, and is developing into a really playful boy. It makes it even harder to understand how someone could treat him so badly, when he is simply gorgeous.


Wilf Having Fun.....

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Ideas For A Night For The Ladies.....

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm afraid to say the SHAK ladies night is now not happening. Thanks to the kindness of some wonderful people we have a lot of "lady" orientated prizes. Anyone with any ideas on another Ladies fundraising event please get in touch (