Change Lives

Change Lives

Saturday, 19 March 2011

An Amazing Achievement.....

Here is a story that makes everyone at SHAK so proud. Congratulations to Till (Boris) and Helen on being awarded the Ted Trophy as Rescue Dog Of The Year. I've included a story telling the origination of the trophy, but when you remember Till spent most of his life in haulage yard and was left unwanted and dumped when his owner died, the turn around in such a small space of time is truly amazing. Well done Till, but also thank you to Helen and family for giving the best home, and putting in such hard work. Look how proud he is in these photos.

Remembering Frank Lucas. From an article written by Alyson Lockwood on behalf of German Shepherd Rescue & Rehoming North East. Dog Law Seminar, 2nd March 2008.

"Frank Lucas first introduced himself to me in 1999. He left a message on my answer machine to say "This is Frank Lucas from St. John's Chapel". At the time, I remember saying to my husband "Mind your language, I am going to ring the vicar". It wasn't until a few phone calls later that I realised St. John's Chapel was a village near Stanhope and not our local Methodist church!

At the time, Frank was looking for help with his old rescued & retired police dog Ted who'd gone off his legs - I introduced him to Jim Colla who fitted Ted up with a doggie cart. Frank was delighted, but sadly Ted died from a stroke not long afterwards.

Almost against my better judgement, our rescue rehomed a very young bitch with Frank shortly after he lost Ted. Tess was younger than dogs I would normally rehome with elderly people, but Frank fell in love with her the minute I got her out of the car. Tess needed a friend and a special new home, and Frank was available - what more could we have asked for? Not long afterwards, he bought her a friend called Prince and the 2 dogs have lived fabulous lives out on his remote farmhouse in the hills at Weardale.

Although not always in good health, Frank has worked tirelessly as a volunteer for GSD Rescue & Rehoming North East, and GSD Helpline alike. If ever I was late sending him his newsletter he would call me to ask where it was, and if (as sometimes happened) I didn't put sufficient stamps on the envelope, he would ring and tell me not to worry - he'd paid the excess postage.

Every month without fail Frank would ring or call to visit me to see what he could do to help the dogs. If we weren't doing any particular fundraising, then he would nag until we felt guilty. He'd tour his local pubs and shops selling raffle tickets, coffee mugs, key rings or whatever we could find for him - his many friends must have dreaded meeting up with him!

I have lost count over the years just how much Frank helped to raise, but it ran into many hundreds of pounds, and his offer to help in other ways was open-ended and enthusiastic.

Frank also presented us with an annual Trophy and Plaque in memory of his beloved Ted - The plaque was to be donated to a person we felt had worked hard to overcome a problem with their dog, and the trophy was to be awarded to the dog who'd achieved the most. Over the years many rescue dog owners, including owners of dogs from Vigil GSD rescue, have been proud to become recipients of these memorial awards.

In October last year, I accompanied Frank to Northumbria Police HQ where he proudly awarded his Ted Trophy to Jake a 3-year-old rescue dog who is now working with the force. Jake had hit the headlines for his bravery in finding a local woman who had gone missing from her home. Without his help she would almost certainly have died. It seemed quite appropriate that a trophy in memory of an old police dog was being awarded to a younger force recruit, and Frank was clearly delighted that his award was received with such special pomp and ceremony.

I saw Frank just before Christmas when he had a chest infection and wasn't looking very well. He had called at my house to see if we had anything he could sell as Christmas presents to raise money to help the dogs, and he left with the last of the Helpline mugs we had to fund identification of GSD's working in the minefields of Afghanistan. It was, therefore, of deep regret that I received the sad news from the Lucas family on 20th January 2008 that Frank had died.

GSD Helpline & Rescue have lost a hard working volunteer, and GSD's have lost a good and loyal friend in Frank Lucas - The type of friend who doesn't come along all that often."
Till we are all so proud of you.