Change Lives

Change Lives

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Update On Laser.....

I'm pleased to say that Laser is doing well after his operation, and that he is turning out to be a real joy to look after. He adores being around the other dogs, although cries like a baby when they go out for longer walks than him and he is left behind!

The operation went well, and although he still isn't always weight baring on that leg, he is doing ok and we have a course of physiotherapy to follow to help him. I'm taking him back for a check up early next week, where we will see where he is at.

Can I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated through our "Change Lives" scheme towards the cost of Laser's vets bill. Remember we have 28 days (25 remaining) to raise the £450 for the operation. So far thanks to your generosity we have raised £172! Thank you all so much! Having got to know Laser so much better over the last week I know that he really appreciates your support.

Laser enjoying a late night wander.

Little Ebony.....

I keep saying on here that this is the worst "after Christmas kick out" I've ever known, but it just keeps getting worse. We do what we can to try and shuffle things around to accommodate as many as we can, but ultimately the amount of dogs is far out weighing the amount of rescue spaces ANYWHERE, not just us.

There is more to come, but tonight allow me to introduce Ebony, yet another young Lurcher kicked out, under weight and unwanted. She is a real little live wire, who loves to run, and has already made friends with another two of our discarded Lurchers, Moss and Koby. I would put her at about 6 months old, and already in need of a rescue space. What has this world come too?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Laser Needs Your Help.....You Can Change His Life.

As always in this job time stands still for no one, and just a week after the launch of the "Change Lives"campaign, I need to come and ask you for help.

Laser has been having problems with his left hip for a little while now, not putting much weight on that leg, and holding it up. After seeing Smokey deteriorate in such a fashion, my heart was in my mouth when I took him for X-Rays last week. However, my worst fears were not confirmed, and no bone tumour was present..... just chronic arthritis.
You can see the arthritic change in Laser's left hip joint (right as you look at this X Ray.)
After consulting Emily and the team at Moorview, it was decided that the best way forward for Laser to make his life as pain free as possible was to preform a procedure called a "femoral head and neck excision." Or to me and you they are going to take off the top of the femur (thigh bone) removing the area of arthritic change, and once healed making the joint pain free. After which a long rehabilitation period will be needed including Hydro Therapy.

Now here is where Laser needs your help..... We have 28 days to raise the £450 cost of the operation.

There after any donations towards the cost of the Hydro Therapy and anti inflammatory medication would also be very gratefully accepted.

There are several ways you can donate..... send a cheque (payable to SHAK) to Wildwood Cottage, 3a Stead Lane, Bedlington NE22 5LT, make a donation via PayPal to the email address (marking all donations the Laser Appeal) or call Moorview Vets directly on 0191 256 6990 (please tell them it is for Laser from SHAK) or hand in your donation to the SHAK stall at one of the events on the Events Page.

We really need your help on this one. Laser needs this operation, and he can't wait any longer after seeing the X Ray.I am taking him down for the operation tomorrow (Monday 27th Jan) and whilst he recovers the hard work for us begins.....finding the funds to pay for it.

Every penny can help and will be gratefully accepted, every penny for Laser really can change his life.

Laser and his life long best mate Murphy.


Finlay At Home!....

Thought you might like to see these photographs of Finlay now he's fully settled at Sheena and Rogers!


A Year Since I Lost My Kennel Girl.....

January last year was a very difficult month for me and SHAK, losing my two fosters Brookes and Dusty within 5 days and then my girl at the kennels, Nina just a week or so later. Friday just gone was the first anniversary of her death.

Nina had a terrible life before arriving with us, used as a security dog in a way where the most affection she ever got included violence. I fell in love with her the minute she arrived, and it was clear the feeling was mutual.

Along with her ex work mate Gunnar, Nina proved the world wrong on so many times, and I personally learnt so much from a dog that had served her worth elsewhere and had nowhere to go.

I miss her, she was a true inspiration. A fine lady, but above all simply a wonderful dog.

The Day We Lost Nina x.....


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Who We Are And What We Do.....

2013 has been the biggest year yet for SHAK, and the support we have received from you has been nothing short of magnificent, so on behalf of all our dogs, thank you.

As we start a new year everyone at SHAK is preparing for continued evolution, and the launch of our "Change Lives" campaign.

A few years ago we made the decision to no longer be the typical rehoming charity, and instead concentrate our time, money and resources on providing sanctuary for the dogs that need it the most..... The abused, mistreated and neglected. Today our beliefs on this are even stronger as the demand for a safe haven seems to be getting even greater. Therefore it is vital to make you aware that we DO NOT TAKE DOGS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC. We deal only with councils, vets and some other trusted charities, prioritising those who need us the most.

The last couple of years too has seen a very special group of people to come together to form our team. This work is as heartbreaking as it is uplifting, and you have to be very strong to survive in this job. Working so closely with the individuals we have, using all of our time and skills to make such special bonds with our tortured souls, means that we no longer take on new volunteers at the kennels. Likewise the treatment and torture our dogs have been subjected too means that strangers prove to be too daunting, and as we respect the kennels as their home, The Rescue Place is not open to the public. We appreciate your cooperation in this, and therefore we have designated drop off points around Tyne and Wear and Northumberland for any very appreciated donations.

The aim of this work is to provide rehabilitation, environmental enrichment, physical and mental stimulation for our dogs and to make their lives as full and normal as they would if they had homes to call their own. After such work some of our dogs are ready to go on our "Forever Foster" scheme where we look for a very specialised home to continue the dogs development where the emphasis will be on providing the dog with a stable environment, appropriate diet, positive socialisation, good physical exercise and participation in training classes or a dog activity such as agility or flyball whilst offering comprehensive support and advice from our forever foster team. To make the transition as easy as possible for both the dog and new fosterers, we do not rehome any of our dogs with children unless we have conclusive history that the dog is used to such an environment.

After the success of the Jam Jar Army campaign, 2014 sees us launch our "Change Lives" project to create awareness of "another option" rather than a vets needle, and of course to raise the essential funding and food donations that makes our work possible.

"Change Lives" means exactly that. You can help change the lives of the dogs with nothing, by donating food at one of our drop off points listed below, organise a sponsored event to raise funds, help by donating on one of our special appeals or simply save your small change and hand it into Taylors Newsagents at Bongate Within, Alnwick or the fundraising team every last Saturday of the month at Alnwick Market (from Easter) or at any other of our fundraising events that will be listed on our website ( Every penny or tin of food really does count, and we desperately need your support to help us continue caring for the 60+ dogs in our care! 

Thank you once again for your support, and please remember, your kindness really CAN "Change Lives."

Our Drop Off Points Are:

Pets At a Home, Cramlington.
Taylor's Newsagents, Alnwick.
Moorview Vets, Backworth.
Sainsburys, Alnwick.
Co-op, Amble.
Pride Of Northumbria, Amble.
Whitley Bay Pet Supplies, Whitley Bay.
Carlton's Feed Merchants, Seaton Delaval.

Carlton's Feed Merchants, Benton.

And please keep a look out for our "Change Lives" Collection Tins.

Cooper, Oliver And Judy.....

So to show that its not just the German Shepherds that get out and about with friends, here's Melissa with Cooper and Oliver and Judy.

Socialisation is so important to dogs, and is a very big part of our day to day work, but I think the fact that from a state of such 'manicness' when they arrive, dogs like Cooper can now say he has friends is a credit not only the work we do, but so much more, the work the dogs themselves do.

Doyle Shows Kai The Way.....

You will have seen the fantastic photo's on here recently of what has now been christened the German Shepherd Club, well, I think these next two may be even more amazing..... for two reasons.

Firstly, the fact that Doyle has come on so well with the other dogs on those walks that he can now behave like a stooge dog to bring on others such as Kai, although Laser and Murphy were there too.....they took the photographs! Remember, Doyle was a scrapyard dog that hadn't been allowed to see another dog apart from his brother Bodie for the 8 and a half years he was locked away.

Secondly I think that it is great to see Kai walking with another dog like this. Yes, as you can see he liked his space, but he was interested and comfortable being around the others, and he actually walked closer to them the more the walk continued.

You never know, maybe the German Shepherd Club could make an exception for a German Shepherd Rottweiler Cross.....

Kai (left) Doyle (right)

Asda Blyth Gets 2014 Rolling. But We Need Your Help.....

Yesterday saw the first official fundraiser of 2014 as we enjoyed a great awareness day at Asda in Blyth. The food donations were unbelievable, and when I say we enjoyed a full car load, I mean a FULL CAR LOAD as well as a fantastic amount of financial donations reaching into the hundreds.
So thank you to all the staff and customers of Asda blyth for getting the year off to a great start. However, we also need your help to continue the fine start. As a bonus we have also been entered into the tokens draw with a top prize of £200. So if you shop in Asda Blyth, then please put your tokens in the SHAK slot! Thank you.

It's A Dogs Life Goes To Cambodia!....

It looks like It's A Dogs Life has spread its wings (or pages) even further as these photographs from Dale and Jill's holiday in Cambodia prove!

A cheap plug now, but if you haven't already got your copy of the book that explains why I had to found SHAK, then you can order your copy from here:

Order Your Copy Of It's A Dogs Life.....

Till Has It Still.....

I know Christmas is a long way away now, but thought I'd share with you how Till spent his Christmas morning! Age is beginning to catch up with him, but Till still managed to get excited enough to jump on Sandy's knee! Great to see from a great old man.

Meg Relaxing.....

Another SHAK girl that has been with us a long time, but is really blossoming in her assessment home is Meg. Lesley took her on very much as a work in progress, just to see if she could work out what makes her tick, and despite a few setbacks, she is doing very well. Lesley is beginning to understand her so well, its just pinpointing her triggers that she needs to be sure of. Anyway, as you can see, Meg is taking it easy.....

Mona At The Seaside.....

Mona had a great Saturday afternoon recently, as Anna and Cuba took her to the beach. She certainly seemed to enjoy herself, and its brilliant to see her interacting with another dog again, something she hasn't really done since Brodie went into a home.

An Update On Finlay.....

Here's an update from Sheena on Finlay. Also a photo of him running off lead along the beach, which is brilliant to see when you think he couldn't even stand upright when he arrived just a couple of weeks ago:

"Hi Steve - Just some notes about Finlay

Finlay is doing really really well. He will be a superb pet for some lucky family.He is still nervous when meeting new people but within a few minutes is fine.

He wants to cuddle in with my dogs but they wont allow it. He has shown no aggressive tendencies at all to them even if  they have snapped at him.

He walks well on the lead. Ignores dogs large or small when out (wish mine did).

He is doing well with the cat - not that interested but I still watch him. The cat
has walked in front of him without issue.

Loves being with us now in the living room and doesn't run into his crate so often if
he feels insecure.

Eats well and tummy fine.

He loves being fiddled with and will stand for ages being petted. He was well
behaved whilst having his bath.

He has found his voice and barks along with the others when someone comes to the
door. (Very deep bark)

Good in the car - just lies down.

His legs are building muscle already. I am giving him metacam daily for a week as
the vet prescribed.

Yet another lovely dog.


The Three Amigo's.....

I mentioned in a previous post that we had had a few arrivals in the difficult period after Christmas. Well here they are.....

Tye was seconds away from being destroyed, perhaps the closest call we've ever had, as he was in the vets room with the needle drawn when I got the call. He is currently under assessment but already showing severe signs of lack of socialisation around other dogs despite being a gorgeous boy. I will keep you updated on his progress.

Freya was dumped at the same vets just a couple of days later by someone who said they had found her as a stray. She too is under assessment, and although very scared she enjoys a gallop after a ball, and a good shake afterwards!
Huey was another stray, left in an area that backs onto a lot of fields. Early signs are that he is so laid back, but again we need to assess him fully. So handsome and likes the simple things in life, I will keep you updated on his progress too.

Thanks To The Shilbottle Ladies.....

I'd also like to thank the ladies of Shilbottle Woman's Institute for inviting me to do a talk at their meeting last Thursday too. It certainly helped take my mind of Dusty, although the winner of the doggy photograph competition I was asked to judge turned out to be an old Labrador!

I enjoy doing these talks about SHAK, how and why I started the charity, and the work we now do, and I think the ladies do too! If you'd like to enquire about me doing a talk to your group then please contact

A Year On For My Mr Perfect.....

Thursday gone was the first anniversary since we lost Dusty, and although I have been unable to write on here until now, he is very much on my mind. The day he died, I said I had lost the most perfect dog. And I had.....


I guess when your down, you really are down, and after the sad news of losing Sky last Thursday, then the personal loss of my own little Staffy Brookes on Friday, today I lost the most perfect pet and happiest dog I've ever had the privilege to share my life with.

Dusty was perfect in every way to me. He had horrendous health problems when I picked him up as a stray, including rotten ears and testicular cancer, and he fought them all to be with us.

Neve was with me when I picked him up, she was only 4 at the time, and I think his finder could see the concern in my eyes when I saw the state he was in. "What will happen to him now?" She asked but before I could answer "he's coming to live with us" Neve said, and that's exactly what he did.

Dusty was a brave, brave boy. Everyone loved him, and today was the first day I didn't see his tail wag. He lived with me for almost two years, way more than I expected, but it seems like he was mine forever. I miss you so much, thanks for letting me share your life."