Change Lives

Change Lives

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Essential Equilibrium Courses At SHAK HQ.....

There has been quite a lot of interest in Leigh Smyth's courses being held at SHAK HQ over the coming months, which is fantastic! However, I have to point out that these aren't SHAK events, but Leigh is holding them in our pemises. So..... to hopefully answer all your questions, here's the lady herself:

Infection Management With Natures Remedies.....14th April 6pm.....Course Fee £25

Helping animals to manage infection with natures remedies. We know that nature is full of potential remedies for a whole host of ailments, and many essential oils and herbs can be useful in preventing, managing and sometimes destroying infection caused by fungi, bacteria and viruses. In this 3 hour intensive course we will look at how animals can use a range of remedies to help in managing a range of infectious conditions. The method we will specifically be looking at is Applied Zoopharmacognosy, so you will learn much about this behavioural science in using nature’s remedies, as well as the specific remedies which can be so useful here.

You will be given a pack of potential remedies to take away and use at home with your own animals too.

This course has been designed and will be presented by a qualified Zoopharmacognosist who also happens to be a Registered Nurse.

If you wish to gain further information AND TO BOOK YOUR PLACE please email Leigh Smyth on see her web site

Reiki Level 1..... 30th April All Day.....Course Fee £82.50

Reiki level 1; There are some aspects of our lives and bodies that we cannot see, but that are very important to our wellbeing. Subtle energy is something we cannot see but that is part of our whole body and soul. Energy healing is a way to rebalance our subtle energy systems, which can help people and animals in all aspects of wellbeing. Reiki is a form of energy healing which emphasises the need for us to look after our -selves and our own energy system so we are able to also help others; both people and animals.

This Reiki level 1 course is taught by a Reiki Master who also happens to be a Registered Nurse and Complementary therapist for animals and people. In this one day course, you will learn how to tap into your own ability to heal yourself and others. You will be supported to discover and explore your own innate healing ability and given advice about how to practice at home on yourself, friends, family and your own animal companions.

 Fully certificated course, with follow up support for all learners.

There are 2 follow on courses to Reiki Level 1 for those who wish to know more; Reiki for Animals and Reiki Level 2, more info to follow soon…..

If you wish to gain further information, AND TO BOOK YOUR PLACE please email Leigh Smyth on see her web site

Parasite Management With Natures Remedies.....5th May 6pm.....Course Fee £25

Helping animals to manage parasites with natures remedies. We know that nature is full of potential remedies for a whole host of ailments, and many essential oils and herbs can be useful in preventing infestation by pests, and also in preventing them from breeding once an infestation has been established. In this 3 hour intensive course we will look at how animals can use a range of remedies to help in combatting a range of parasites, both external (ie fleas and other insects) and internal parasites (ie worms). The method we will specifically be looking at is Applied Zoopharmacognosy, so you will learn much about this behavioural science in using nature’s remedies, as well as the specific remedies which can be so useful here.

You will be given a pack of potential remedies to take away and use at home with your own animals too.

This course has been designed and will be presented by a qualified Zoopharmacognosist who also happens to be a Registered Nurse.

If you wish to gain further information, AND TO BOOK YOUR PLACE please email Leigh Smyth on see her web site

I know from my own experiences working with Leigh how enlightening her work can be, if your lucky enough to do one of these courses, I'm sure you will see what I mean!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Munch Update.....

Just thought I'd share these photos of Munch..... as you can see he is doing well and his leg is healing very well. Such a brilliant turn around for this lively little guy. 

Thanks again to Sarah and her family for being there for him when he really needed them and for doing such a great job putting him back together.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Have You Ever Thought About Being A Foster Carer.....

There's been a lot going on of late, as more and more dogs seem to find themselves unwanted. However, we have to keep going and I am delighted to announce some more exciting new SHAK Club dates for you diary which are listed below.

Further details will be available soon, but they include a new ‘Interested In Fostering’ open day, a ‘Join Our Team’ day and something I’m really looking forward too..... ‘Care Of Your Dog Through The Ages’ looking after an older dog  with guest speaker Hannah Walker from Moorview Vets.

The 'Interested In Fostering' open day runs along the same format as the previous 'Join Our Team' days have, but this time the morning will focus on another very important way you can help our dogs without being involved at the kennels.

We are looking to build a network of foster carers that range from taking a dog home for a short period of time so we can assess if he or she is ready to make the next move, to providing a caring environment for a dog to recover after surgery, illness or emaciation, to a longer term commitment until they find a new Forever Foster home.

It is important that the environment is right for each individual dog, so I think its very important to point out that we will not place dogs with children or cats and small furries unless we have prior history that they have lived with them before.

You really could make a difference to one of our dogs, by helping them take the next step.....

So if your are interested why not come for a 'no strings attached' talk on the 2nd of April at 10.30am at our base in Greenwell Road, Alnwick NE66 1HB. Please RSVP


Mar 31st 2016... - FREE Microchipping with Northumberland Animal Welfare Team &
a ‘Donation  Drop Off’ Day 12pm-3pm

April 2nd 2016... ‘Interested In Fostering’ Open morning 10.30am-12pm

Apr 14th 2016 - 6pm... ‘Infection Management’ with Essential Equilibrium with Leigh Smyth

April 23rd 2016... ‘Join Our Team’ An opportunity to learn more about how to become a SHAK Volunteer. 10.30am-12pm

April 28th 2016.. ‘Caring For Your Dog Through The Ages’A talk about the older dog by
Moorview vet  Hannah Walker 7.30pm

Apr 30th 2016 - All Day.. ‘Reiki Level 1 with Leigh Smyth

May 5th 2016 - 6pm... ‘Parasite Management’ with  Leigh Smyth

May 15th 2016 - All Day... Reiki For Animals with Leigh Smyth

Aug 14th 2016 - All Day... Reiki Level 2 with Leigh Smyth

Sept 18th 2016 - All Day... Reiki Level 2 with Leigh Smyth

A Little Reminder.....

Just a little remember about our FREE Microchipping day at SHAK HQ next Thursday in today's Northumberland Gazette......

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Tinned Dog Food Appeal.....

You have all always been so supportive of us, but I'm afraid its that time again when I have to ask our brilliant supporters to help us out. We have run desperately short of tinned dog food, I don't know why these things literally run in feast or famine, but whilst the dry dog food is ticking over the tins have gotten really short.

Please, if you can spare one tin of food it would be greatly appreciated. As I have said before, the dogs will not starve so please don't panic. We will starve before them, but every bit of help will be a massive boost.

There are a couple of ways you can donate..... dropping off at one of our drop off points, bringing some to'The Donation Drop Off' day at SHAK HQ on the 31st March or by ordering through out Amazon Wish List:

SHAK Amazon Wish List.....

Thank you in advance, below are some food drop off points:

Pets At a Home, Cramlington.
Taylor's Newsagents, Alnwick.
Moorview Vets, Backworth.
Sainsburys, Alnwick.
Carlton's Feed Merchants, Seaton Delaval.
Wilkinsons, Alnwick
Carlton's Feed Merchants, Benton.

Thank you.

Another Great Night..... And FREE Microchipping.....

We had another great night on Tuesday at HQ as our good friend Emily and her technical assistant Kerry travelled all the way up from Moorview Vets to give us a talk on 'Preventative Health Care and Canine First Aid.' It really was both informative and entertaining, and I have to say a huge thank you to another sell out audience!

We are already in talks with Moorview about planning the next talk, so I'll keep you posted on that, but in the meantime I'd just like to thank Emily and Kerry for giving up their own to to support us, not only on the night, but in all the time it took to put the presentation together!

Next up at HQ is a FREE MICROCHIPPING event and a Donation Drop Off day on Thursday 31st March between 12-3. In conjunction with the Northumberland Animal Welfare Team anybody who hasn't had their dog microchipped are very welcome to come and get it for done for FREE before the law changes on the 1st of April.

The doors will also be open to anyone who has any donations of bedding, food etc as a drop off point. We had a great success with such a day at Christmas time, so hopefully this one will be as big a success.

SHAK HQ is located at Greenwell Road, Alnwick, NE66 1HB and both events run from 12-3.

Look forward to seeing you all there.

Petplan Awards.....

I came home to a very nice surprise yesterday to find that the charity, Joan and myself had been nominated in various categories of the 2016 Petplan Animal Charity Awards. In a period when things have been so difficult it is nice to know that people still recognise the work we do. Thank you to the people who have nominated us.

ASDA Green Tokens.....

I am delighted to announce that we have once again been chosen for the Asda Green Token campaign at the Ashington branch. Running from yesterday until the end of April, we really need your support to help win the prize money.

So if you shop in Asda and live near Ashington please ask for your green tokens and put them in our container. We've had such great support with this in the past, thank you in advance for helping us this time.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Two Special Girls Enjoy The First Day Of Spring.....

I made the most of the nice weather today to take two very special girls down to the seaside. Star has worked so hard this week helping Donnie,  whilst Gema is battling so hard against her bone tumour.

Her determination to enjoy life is second to none, and she is showing bravery that I could only dream of. Seeing her on the beach, amazed by so many people and dogs was an emotional sight to say the least.

Amazing girls who both faced a vets needle before I got the phone call..... I am so very proud of them both.


Munch's Vets Bill.....

I've just had a quick tally up after receiving a payment tonight, and I'm delighted to say the total for Munch's Vets Bill Appeal is..... £1201....

So I'm just over a week your support has lead us to our target of £1200. Absolutely amazing. I'd like to thank everyone who has donated or held fund raisers to help this boy. I'm sure when you look at the picture of him below you can see how much his life has turned around.....

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

A New Chapter For Donnie.....

It has been a big week for Donnie, after he somehow managed to break his tail?!? A visit to the vet resulted in him having to have it amputated but it also meant me and him have some quality time together.

I've had experience of problems with tails before. Sighthounds in particular are a nightmare as their tails are so fine. If you look around any pound you will probably see a Greyhound or a Lurcher with a tail missing or partly missing! The problem is they are so difficult to get to heal, and if infection sets in its even worse.

So we decided the best thing was not to put Donnie through weeks or months of trauma given his size and 'athletic' behavior in kennels!

Every cloud has a silver lining, and as I said it meant I am able to spend some one on one time with him as he recovers from his operation at my kennels at home. Donnie has always been a real sweetheart with people but arrived with us with a reputation for being dog aggressive and so strong! The strength I've never questioned, but the issue with dogs I've always felt was more he was afraid of them, or perhaps even worse, he'd just never been allowed to be around them.

Anyway, it was something I was determined to investigate whilst he stays with us.....

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Buddy's Story..... A Year On.....

I've had this video to put on here for a little while, but time just seems to get away from me. Melissa sent me this video of Buddy, a year after spinal surgery changed his life forever.....

Again, fitting in with Munch's story, this video shows what can be achieved when people pull together for the best interests of the dog.

I know how much Melissa and David love this little guy, but we're all so very proud of him.

Munch Doing Ok......

I'm delighted to be able to give you another update on Munch (yes for now we're sticking with his original name.) He's doing extremely well, after such intensive surgery, the extent of which can be seen in the X Ray's very kindly provided by Moorview Vets below.....

Now the surgery is over, Munch is back for a check up tomorrow, but as you can see from the  photo's below, he's settling into his new foster home, and seems to be enjoying his new lease of life. I think it's heartbreaking to that a week ago tomorrow he was facing losing his life never mind starting a new one.

All of this of course has come at a price, and with a bill estimated at around £1200 we have had to rely on your generosity once more. Already an amazing £578 has found it's to Moorview Vets via us to pay of Munch's bill, but with the outstanding balance still at £622 we have to keep asking for more.....

There are several ways you can donate......

Send a cheque made payable to SHAK (and marked on the back 'Munch') to SHAK HQ, Greenwell Road, Alnwick NE66 1HB

Pay via Paypal to again stating you'd like to help Munch

Or via his Eveyclick page.....

Thank you to everyone involved in this boys story, and thank you to everyone who has donated towards his treatment.

Two Dates At HQ In The Next Week.....

We've got a couple of big events at SHAK HQ in the next week, starting this Saturday with YOUR CHANCE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BEING PART OF OUR TEAM.

For us to continue to be as successful as we are in turning around the lives of so many of the dogs we have put a lifelong commitment into, we need reliable HELP. Over the 10 years we have seen so many people come and go for whatever reason,  but in all of this there is only one group losing out, the dogs. For some a lack of resources from us has cost them the ultimate price..... their lives.

We are NOT looking for dog walkers, we are looking for committed individuals that are prepared to help in every aspect of the reality that is rescue..... kennel cleaning, washing dishes, fundraising, vets runs, temporary foster when an emergency comes in, and people who aren't afraid and want to learn how to help these dogs the SHAK way.....

I know I am asking a lot, but too much time has been taken up with no long term benefits of an individual that the dogs can count on. After all they are all that matters.....

So if you really are committed to the SHAK cause and are interested in learning more about what it takes to become a volunteer at SHAK, then why not pop down on Saturday morning to SHAK HQ and find out.....

SHAK HQ,  Greenwell Road, Alnwick NE66 1HB from 10.30am till 12.

(Please note we are looking for permanent and regular volunteers, we do not offer temporary or work experience placements.)

Following on from Saturday the 12th, Tuesday the 15th see us welcome Emily Renton from Moorview Vets. Emily has very kindly donated some of her rare spare time, and is coming to give a talk concentrating on 'Preventative Health Care & Canine First Aid.' So it's another great opportunity for you to come along and gain some really good information and tips, as well as coming along to support SHAK.

Doors open at 6.45pm for a 7pm start, and we ask for a minimum donation of £3 entry.

Please RSVP to

Look forward to seeing you at both/either event.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Home Time.....

Just an update on the little Lurcher that I told you about last week. His operation has gone really well and tonight I collected him from the vets. He's now settled in his foster home (thanks to Sarah and her family) with the biggest bandage I've ever seen.

The support this dog has had has been nothing short of amazing with £350 of the expected £1200 bill already raised and paid off. If you'd like to donate towards his operation please PayPal

Thank you.
Waiting at the Vets.....
Please can I go home now.....
At last!....
This is more like it.....

Friday, 4 March 2016

The Operation Goes Well.....

Just had an update from the vets for the little Lurcher boy.  Despite some worries about the break being so close to his ankle, they are happy the operation went well.

A foster home is now secured, and my new mate has a weekend to look forward to being in the best hands at Moorview.  A special mention to Mark who has been brilliant I explaining and preforming te surgery throughout.

Incredibly the fundraising side has already gathered pace and our friends down south have collectively raised £350 of the suspected £1200 we need to cover his operation. Thank you to everyone who has chipped in for this special boy. An official fundraising campaign will be launched over the weekend.

So his new life started today, literally with a sing and a dance! Although it was more of a stumble..... All he needs now is his new name decided. I have a few suggestions to go through, he's had a traumatic 48 hours.

On His Way.....

There's been a lot of interest in its boy since I posted last night.  Just an update..... he's singing his heart out in the back of my van as we head north to the vets!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Another That So Nearly Slipped The Net.....

Yesterday started off like any other day, but a text message at tea time changed the way the day was going, and also saved a life.

Further south a Lurcher thought to be only 6 months old had been taken to the vets with a suspected broken leg. From the conversation there seemed to be only two options. The owner had to find money to have the leg amputated or the dog was destroyed.

He is only 6 months old.....

A picture from the vets. Look at how his leg is bent!
That's where the text to me came in, and having seen the brilliant work that the team at Moorview had done in the past for our other Lurchers with similar horrific injuries, I knew we had to give him every chance.

We had to wait till this morning for confirmation that the owner would sign him over and that the vets would release him, but tonight I'm pleased to say that he is being comforted in our good friend Julie's home before I travel south in the morning to get him. Surgery is planned for tomorrow afternoon.
X Rays show the break.

However, our vets are confident that the leg can be fixed and saved from amputation.
Once we know the full extent of his injury and the cost of putting it right we will be launching a funding appeal, but the most important thing for him is that he is safe and on his way to a new start.....He weighs only 11kg and is covered with fleas.

Relaxing at Julies tonight, waiting for his taxi north tomorrow.
So a life saved, and hopefully his leg. At this point I'd like to thank Julie Marsden for being there for him and interrupting my tea! And for Moorview Vets once again for simply being brilliant!