Change Lives

Change Lives

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

SHAK On Lionheart Radio.....

Please don't forget to tune into "It's A Dogs Life" The SHAK Radio Show tomorrow from 9am - 11am on Lionheart Radio 107.3 fm. Or listen live on line at

Any requests or if you have A Waggy Tail please email


Postcard From Faith.....

Another dog that was absolutely terrified when she arrived at SHAK was Faith. In fact I'd say she was the most "shut down" dog we've ever had. Here's some of her photos from her recent holiday..... They say it all.


Summer Has Found Her Home.....

You'll all remember Summer who moved into foster with Lesley a few weeks ago along with Storm (who has since found a Forever Foster home) well today I got this great news via an email entitled "Summer Has Found Her Home."

"Summer continues to be wonderful, she just amazes me sometimes with how good she is. She still has panicky moments but they are easily managed now and most of the time she`s absolutely brilliant.  She`s worked her little socks off to fit in here and the others have completely accepted her - there`s no doubt in anybody`s mind that she`s one of the team.  She`s been so brave in doing things she`d rather not do and letting me handle her even though her little body`s absolutely rigid with fear.  As far as she`s concerned, she`s home now and I think it would be truly unkind to move her on and ask her to make this effort all over again.  Anyway, I`d never have a moment`s peace wondering if she was safe and happy.

So what you said the other week has come to pass – she`s not going anywhere else.  I`d be a complete fool to let such a special dog slip away and, now the decision`s made, I`m so happy and proud to say she`s my dog (although I`ve still got to do the paperwork etc).  I really want to thank everyone at SHAK for the day to day care and kindness she received over such a long time and, of course, for taking her in when she had been abandoned and rejected by others."
Words cannot describe how pleased I am for this beautiful little girl, thank you so much Lesley.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

SHAK Radio Show.....

Please don't forget to tune into "It's A Dogs Life" The SHAK Radio Show today from 9am - 11am on Lionheart Radio 107.3 fm. Or listen live on line at

Of course it's still not too late to send me your musical requests and Waggy Tails stories, so please keep them coming at

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

We Miss Harlie So Much.....

The tributes have been coming in thick and fast. I thought I'd share a couple with you written by SHAK Volunteers. Its amazing how these dogs touch your life.....

Harlie (with an i e) and me

I had been volunteering at the kennels for a few weeks and gradually had my confidence built up by walking the easy dogs like the Scrap Yard twins, Bodie and Doyle,, Storm and Sam.

I had been aware of Harlie the Rottie girl with the muscle wasting illness and a reputation for being a bit cantankerous at times and for her “moods” as another volunteer described her occasional unwillingness to go for a walk,grumbles and food guarding.

One afternoon Steve suggested I take Harlie for a walk but to be a bit careful as she did have her “moments” which I assumed involved her eating a volunteer if in a mood!

Anyway I went into her kennel slipped a lead over her head with the aid of a liver treat and off we set for our first walk together in the lanes around the kennels.

Harlie had a certain style of walking which involved many pee stops, much sniffing and sitting down if she decided she had gone far enough or if she sensed it was nearly dinner time and wanted to be back in time or if it was raining or pretty much when she decided. On that first walk I coaxed her along with many bits of roast liver and we made it there and back without falling out.

Gradually over the following weeks we became friends .She enjoyed the liver treats and I her rambling walking style – a welcome break from some of the more vigorous dogs like Shane who seemed to be trying to set a world record for the village and back route.

In truth we became best friends. Whatever her mood she always seemed to cheer up when I arrived (with her liver treats) and I got to love those slow walks with Harlie, chatting away to her and sharing the joys and sorrows of my own life as we meandered from sniff stop to pee stop to liver treat stop. Although she looked a bit strange with her sunken eyes and head muscles I began to realise that despite her appearance and her “moods” she was beautiful-well she was to me and her other human friends at Shak and God help anyone who thought otherwise.

After many months of remission her illness came back  a few weeks ago making it difficult for her to eat although she remained in good form an indication of this girls remarkable spirit.

Inevitably the phone call I had been dreading came and it was time for her to be set free.

But the thing is this is not just a sad story –she was loved, she had a good and kind death and two of the people who really loved her were with her talking calmly to her and stroking her gently as she slipped away.

I for one will not forget Harlie. I will remember her with love, affection, admiration for her wonderful spirit and with many smiles as I recall our rambles together.

Of course I wish she had had a better life without her illness and the behavioural problems that came with it. Of course I wish she had had loving owners to care for her and of course I wish I had had spent more time with her. But that wasn’t to be or at least not this time around so I can only hope she is somewhere better now with an endless supply of liver treats.
Anyone who has had to make the decision to let an animal go, knows how difficult it is to make.  As a rescue dog with numerous costly medical problems, in April 2008 I made the decision to let my gorgeous terrier cross Jodie go at the age of 15 years and 3 months.  She’d been a huge, huge part of my life and had even saved my life on two occasions.  I owed her everything.  I know I said good-bye on that day for the right reasons however and at the right time for her.  It would never have been the right time for me.
Steve has had to make the decision this week to let Harlie go and I wanted to explain why she was such a special dog in my life too.
After Jodie died I wanted to do something in her memory.  Planting a tree or buying a bench seemed the thing to do but wasn’t quite right.  Then one day, I spotted an article in the local paper that told the story of a 16 month old Rottweiler called Harlie.  Following diagnosis of Masticatory Muscle Myositis, Harlie needed an eye operation.  The article asked “can you help?”  This was the right thing to do.  Send some money to help to ease the suffering of another dog in the name of my beautiful girl. 
Steve sent me photos of Harlie after the operation.  For me, Jodie’s memory lived on in a dog I would probably never know.  Or so I thought.
After returning to the UK in 2010 following a spell of travelling, I had some time on my hands and wanted to do something worthwhile.  I did an internet search for SHAK, discovered it was still going strong and dropped Steve an email.  He rang and invited me to try a day volunteering at the kennels. 
It was an exhausting and exhilarating first day, kicking a ball around with Doyle and meeting beautiful Harlie.  I’ve been volunteering ever since in one capacity or another, but my favourite role is hands on with the dogs.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster working with these animals – illnesses and deaths, recovery and joy.  It’s the best job in the world!  It doesn’t pay the mortgage, but it pays a lot of licks and love.
Jodie lived on in Harlie and over time, she let me into her life.  Due to her condition, she could sometimes suffer pain.  This made her a little unpredictable.  However, everyone working at SHAK was shown how to handle Harlie so she and the staff were safe and comfortably.  She allowed me to feed, walk and even stroke her and in recent months she invited me in to rub her tummy.  She had the tiniest docked tail that would wag wildly whenever Geoff, another volunteer came into the kennels.  You knew Geoff was about when Harlie’s face lit up.  She also had a bit of a thing for Vicki, occasionally giving her a cuddle with paws up on Vicki’s shoulders.  Bit of a scary situation with an unpredictable Rottweiler.  But she loved her dad Steve big style and would ignore the rest of us whenever he was around.  She’d been lucky enough to spend a year living in Gregg’s home and thought the world of him too.
Harlie, seen standing on top of the kennel in run three, sporting her red diamonte-studded collar was well-known and well-loved at SHAK.  She competed with Bobby for the slowest walker in kennels as she had to sniff every blade of grass en route.  You had to walk at Harlie’s pace!
Thank you Jodie for everything you gave me and thank you Harlie for introducing me to a world I love so much.  Be happy beautiful girl!

Lottie And Cassie Set Off On Their Travels.....

You’ll remember the little terrier, Lottie that was found wondering into the sea. Well this week she’s near water again, but I’m delighted to say that its with her new Forever Foster Mam on holiday at the lake district. Lottie is a gorgeous old girl that has settled really well, and everyone at SHAK is delighted for her and wishes her well.
Another girl who has up and left us is Cassie a young Rottweiler that was with us for such a short space of time that I didn’t even get to take any photographs! Cassie has gone done the country to a foster family until a permanent home is found, although the rumours I here is that her new male Rottweiler friend might want her to stay full time!
Lottie, Off On Her Holidays.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Visit From Seymour.....

In all the sadness yesterday it was great to see Seymour who popped into show me his holiday photos. Looks like "Foxy" had a great time, and in the middle of my heart breaking he reminded me why I do this. Thank you Seymour.

September's 200 Club.....

This months winners of the SHAK Supporters 200 Club are:

1- 42 - Philip Stevens

2- 50 - William Tate

3- 186 - Mark Chow

Thanks again for your support.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Farewell Princess.....

I'm afraid today I had to make the hardest decision in the world, and say goodbye to one of the bravest dogs I've ever known. Harlie's condition had deteriorated dramatically in the last 24 hours, and I couldn't put her through anymore. She was an angel at the vets and cuddled into her two Dads myself and Geoff. Tears were shared, and Harlie spent her last moments on this earth relaxed, at ease and truly loved. She taught me so much, in fact she changed the charity for ever in terms of it was her that showed me I needed to provide a place for all the poorly dogs.

Harlie was such a character. She lead the kennels choir every afternoon, and I have so many memories of a beautiful girl that was such a brave and tough spirit. Run free baby, we all miss you, but I for one am so proud to of known you.

Friday, 14 September 2012

God Bless Dobby.....

It's with great saddness that I have to tell you that one of SHAK's little princess's passed away at 9am this morning after a stroke. Dobby was unwanted and on the street, she was so sad when I collected her, but she had fallen on her feet and was promptly whisked straight home by Paula. Paula, Laura and her boyfriend Alfie will all miss this pretty little girl, but they can be proud that they made her life both happy and complete. Run free little one.

You Can Still Sponsor Lynn.....


So in a slight moment of madness I decided to apply for a place in this year's Great North Run and miraculously managed to get a place on my first time of applying (everyone I spoke to said that just doesn't happen!). So come the 16th of September I will be attempting to run 13.1 miles, hopefully in about two and a half hours - not looking at breaking any speed limits for the first time in my life!

As most of you know the charity SHAK is a very special charity for me. SHAK stands for Safe Homes and Kindness and they provide just that for dogs have have been abused and abandoned. Having volunteered there for eighteen months I have become very attached to the dogs that have wandered through the doors over the time I was there and not one of them would still be alive if it hadn't been for Steve and his staff and volunteers. As he says SHAK takes the dogs nobody else wants! The aim of SHAK is either to rehabilitate the dogs, no matter how long it takes until they can become a much loved pet in a new home or if that would be too traumatic for the dog they will be given love, attention, stimulation and care for the rest of their lives.

Please, please dig deep for our puppies - SHAK is an entirely independent charity which relies entirely on charitable donations so when they say every little helps, it's true, every penny counts.

Lynn x

Run Sharpy Run..... Link To Sponsor.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Never Forget You Mama.....

It's two years today since we had to say goodbye to the biggest girl SHAK has ever known. Mama Bear was loved by everyone. Cancer got the better of her on the morning of the day she was meant to move into her new Forever Foster home, but she left a massive imprint on everyone. Never forget you beautiful.


Harlie Update.....

Harlie is still under observation, and we're all praying that the weekend gives her something., She is eating very sloppy meals, but the key has to be how far her jaw will allow her to eat rather than drink. In saying that, she did devour a hotdog from today, so that in itself is progress. Stay strong baby, we're all behind you.

Thank You.....

Just want to say thank you for all the kind words and best wishes for Harlie and Finn after todays "It's A Dogs Life" Radio Show. It was great to have such a large audience input, so thank you. More of the same next week please!

Finn Update.....

I'm pleased to say that although the results of Finn's heart scan still cause concern, they are perhaps better than we were expecting. Finn is suffering from Mitral Heart Disease, and below is a link for you to read up on the condition if you like.

Blood and urine tests came back fine, so we're hoping that his condition isn't to bad. Next step for the gorgeous Finn is for blood to be sent away for test's to see how bad his condition is, and then we can give him the best treatment possible. Big hugs to both him and Anna today, you deserve them.

Find Out More On Finn's Condition.....

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

"It's A Dogs Life".....

Please don't forget to tune into "It's A Dogs Life" The SHAK Radio Show tomorrow from 9am - 11am on Lionheart Radio 107.3 fm. Or listen live on line at

Of course it's still not too late to send me your musical requests and Waggy Tails stories, so please keep them coming at

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Brave Brave Girl.....

It hasn't all been good news though, and I'd like you to remember a couple of dogs in your prayers this evening.

Writing this is just breaking my heart, as we all prepare to possibly say goodbye to the bravest SHAK girl ever.

Harlie suffers from a condition called Masticatory Muscle Myositis, which  is an inflammatory disease in dogs affecting the muscles of mastication (chewing). I'm sure you have all followed her story over the 4 years she has been in our care. During that time she has been on medication, and has enjoyed a normal happy life, and definitely is the main lady at SHAK. However, over the last couple of days her condition has worsened to the state where her jaws appeared seized.

Having spoke to the vet at great lengths, we have decided to put Harlie onto a very large dose of steroids to see if the problem is active muscle inflammation or whether quite simply all her muscles have been replaced by scar tissue. If it is a case of the latter, I'm afraid we will have to let this beautiful, brave girl move onto a happier and healthier place.

Harlie has been a massive part of my life for over four years. I can't even start to imagine life without her. Please prayer that we have a positive result over the next couple of days. It is heartbreaking to watch, but we will all remain strong and do whatever is best for Harlie. I love you big girl. 


Pray For Finn.....

Finn is enjoying his new life in foster, but I'm sad to say that after collapsing a couple of times foster Mam Anna took him to the vets where a large Heart murmur was found. Finn is back to the vets on Thurs for a heart scan, and we all pray that things aren't as serious as feared and he can be treated. I will update you as soon as we know more.

Brooks And His Best Friend.....

Little Brooks is an old boy that is very wobbly on his back legs, and has difficulty with his sight. My daughter Neve has decided that will look after him until we find him a Forever Foster home. As you can see he is a wonderful old man, who is clearly relishing a new lease of life. Brooks is out with my other dogs every day, and loves Lennox and Miko. If you think that you could offer Brooks a full time home please contact us at

Miko, A True Inspiration.....

I'm so proud of this next story, that to be honest right now it gives me the fuel to keep going. Below is the photo I was sent of Miko in June 2009. He'd given up on life and was in a pound ready to die.

It has taken hours and hours of work, in fact years for him to find a home for himself, but he has finally found one in my new kennels in my stables. As you can see the dog that was once so stressed has new friends and is enjoying country life. The SHAK team have given over three years of their lives to give him this, and he is loving every minute.
Miko left, SHAK's own Lennox and my Oskar.

Miko far left, SHAK dogs Lennox (centre), Sky, Willow and Dusty.

Lennox, Miko, Oskar.

Molly Living The Life.....

I'm sure you all remembered Molly who came to us in such a dreadful state, starved and skinny because her owner couldn't afford to feed her. Well, I'm delighted to say that after just a very short stay and plenty of small and often feeds, Molly has now gone to her Forever Foster home. Such a wonderful girl, here's what she's been upto:

"Just an update on Molly's first few days.

There were a couple of incidents on Thursday night she was very quiet and when we found her she had the top of the kitchen bin round her neck, looking innocent but as I said to her "you've been framed".On Friday morning we woke up to find (even though we had bought a nick comfy bed) she was lying draped across the sofa in our bedroom, she then slithered off as though nothing had happened.

She has been very brave and taken everything in her stride, especially the food!

Friday: First thing after brekkies we gave her a bath to get rid of the "eau de kennel" she wasn't keen on the bathing but stood while we did it, bless her. We then took her to Morpeth and walked her round the park and up Haw Hill then took her to the otherside of the river via the stepping stones over the Wansbeck river which she negotiated really well, not a pretty technique but she got there.

We went to the point in the morning at Newbiggin gave her a good walk and back home to have lunch. We've been feeding her little and often three times a day. In the evening we went to the Queen Elizabeth Park and she avoided the lake really well.

Walked her and then went to Dyke Neuk for Sunday lunch (you can take dogs into the bar whilst you eat) which we did and we were very proud of her she behaved impeccably.

We'd arranged to go to Durham so Molly came to, walked her along the river and Moira looked after her whilst I did a few jobs.

Overall, she has settled very very well and there are little things like getting on chairs etc but that's nothing, she now knows that when she gets into the car she is coming back home and jumps in no bother. Overall we are absolutely thrilled with her and are thoroughly enjoying having a dog again."

Absolutely brilliant, I swear these dogs have a better social life than me.

Charlie Goes Home!.....

One man just setting out on this road after a long wait is little Charlie. Charlie had fleas the size of greenflies, came off an allotment and was so frightened he wouldn't walk when I picked him up as a stray. After working so hard to learn to trust people and get over his fear of the outside world, Charlie now lives with a whole load of other dogs and is gradually adjusting to the life he should of had from day one. Way to go Charlie!
The little man striding out.

Charlie too frightened to walk.

Such A Honey.....

Another girl that has proved to be an amazing little girl is Honey. Used as a bait dog, and described to me as evil the day I went to collect her from Birmingham, here she is enjoying home life.

"Here are a few more pics of honey.  She is settled in now i think.  She has done really well and seems happy , enjoys the beach but dislikes the water generally . She is lovely and nice company for Juke,they get on really well."

Roxy. The Sky's The Limit.....

Thought you'd all like to see how well the beautiful Roxy is doing. An amazing turn around for a girl whose life had simply never got started.

"We took Roxy to the Lt Gransden Airshow - 1000’s people and 100’s dogs.  I was so pleased with her, the amount of people wanting to know what breed she was and if they could fuss her and how beautiful she was.  I felt like a proud Mum.  She loved everyone (human that is) which is quite a step forward. Dogs not so good  but she got better and better as the day went on - it seemed she really relied on us to look after her.  The planes and noise she didn’t take any notice of at all, so laid back, even with the Vulcan bomber.  I am attaching some photos we took when we sat down for a rest in a corner."


Friday, 7 September 2012

Brand New 2013 Calendars Available Now.....

The brand new and official 2013 SHAK Calendar sponsored by Kingsway Service & Repair Centre and Whitley Bay Pet Supplies is available now!

Please remember, that thanks to these two wonderful sponsors EVERY PENNY made from the sale of these calendars goes straight to the dogs!

Order Your New 2013 Calendar Here.....

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Just A Staffy Cross.....

Haven't read this for ages, and having just taken a Staff into my care it kind of hit home again:

Just a Staffy Cross.

Today is just another day - to me they're all the same
I have the worst of genes you see, I bear the "Staffy" shame.
The shame is in our numbers, there's thousands with no home.
Thousands just like me you'll find, in kennels all alone.

My mum was "just a Staffy", my father - well who knows?
Mum, too, became unwanted, as the last puppy goes.
And then begins the process, of money-making deals
A life of "moving on" unfolds, who cares how the Staffy feels?
If you have the cash to hand, the Staffy pup is yours
But that pup is getting bigger now, just look at those big paws.

You brought me for your image, thought I'd make you look more tough
But you'll find my boisterous natur has already got too much.
If you had thought to train me, with kindness and with praise
You would have had a faithful friend to share your darkest days.
I would lay down my life for you, but you simply cannot see
You make sure you get your money back on what you paid for me.

And on it goes, until one day, I'm no longer worth a dime
The retail on an adult staff - not worth the waste of time.
So what happens to a Staffy now? Do you really want to know?
Do you care what will become of us, when we leave our final home?

Have you ever thought to wonder, "Where is that Staffy now?"
The "Staffy" has another name; he's become a "stray" somehow.
Me, I was put into a car and driven far away
The door held open, I jumped out, I thought to run and play.
It was with joy and happy heart I turned to look for you
You drove away with all my trust and a piece of my heart too.

I wondered round for many days before I was brought here.
Now I wait with heavy heart, trepidation and with fear.
Seven days is all I have you see, seven days for you to claim
The little dog that you threw out, for which you have no shame.

This is my last goodbye now my seven days are up
If only more thought had gone into the future of that pup
As the needle empties to my veins I lay down with one last sigh
I'm sorry I was born a Staff, because it means that I must die.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Appeal For Tombola Prizes.....






The SHAK Radio Show.....

Please don't forget to tune into "It's A Dogs Life" The SHAK Radio Show tomorrow from 9am - 11am on Lionheart Radio 107.3 fm. Or listen live on line at

Of course it's still not too late to send me your musical requests and Waggy Tails stories, so please keep them coming at

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mable And Lottie.....

If anyone listened to last weeks "It's A Dogs Life" The Radio Show, I mentioned two little terrier types that had pretty much been through hell on their journey to get to SHAK. As I said, Mable was left abandoned in a house after the tenant moved out, and after being terrified she is now blossoming into a great little dog.
Lottie on the other hand was about to wander into the sea after being dumped at the beach. Her eyesight isn’t the best, but she is a great companion.

Neither of these dogs deserved to of needed us, the fact that these two can be abandoned and discarded just makes me worry for all the big ones. If you think you could give either a Forever Foster home then please get in touch via email to


Why Oh Why.....

Police investigating an attack in which a dog was set on fire in County Antrim have arrested a 21-year-old man.

A three-year-old collie dog, called Cody, suffered serious injuries after it was doused with flammable liquid and set alight in Maghaberry nine days ago.

The PSNI had appealed for information about two men who were seen with the dog on Trummery Lane, close to a quarry at about 10:00 BST on 26 August.

The man was detained on Tuesday morning on suspicion of animal cruelty.


Nina Update.....

This time last week I was in a bit of a tizz over Nina who been rushed to the vets for a serious operation to remove a condition call Pyometra. I’m delighted to say that Nina has made a great recovery and the vets are delighted with her progress. During a check up visit, the vet was still amazed at the size of the infected mass they removed. So amazed in fact that they weighed it and were gobsmacked to see that Nina had been carry about 2.3kg of infection!

It really is amazing to think that she survived, and the fact that she wasn’t almost dead on her feet. Continue you to get well Nina, your a brave little girl.