Change Lives

Change Lives

Monday, 10 December 2018

HUGE Progress For Eden.....

Just had an amazing experience with little Eden, as I put a long lead on her and just let her loose.....

She clearly didn't know what was happening and followed me everywhere, but I think she enjoyed it. The look on her face when I put her back in her kennel was as if to say "What's just happened?!?!?" Totally priceless.

So proud of her, and of course Ged who also made the step to being off lead for the first time!

Friday, 7 December 2018

Can You Help Dinky?....

I know recently that I have posted a few oldies we are still actively looking for homes for, but this week we have had another old boy arrive who is breaking everybody's hearts.

Dinky is 9 years old and has lost his home because his owners health had deteriorated and he was unable to look after him anymore. A sad story in itself,  but even worse was that his breed seemed to go against him when it came to finding him somewhere to go. That's when we stepped in.

Dinky is a super boy who loves everyone. Even though he has never been socialised with other dogs he sees them as something very exciting in the new world he has had to discover.  You can see him making friends on our Instagram page shak_sanctuary_official

Kennels is an alien environment for this old boy and we really are looking to try and find him somewhere so he doesn't stay here too long. He deserves better. If you are interested in offering Dinky a place please email

Monday, 3 December 2018

Instagram Updates.....

Just a little reminder that there is a load.of updates on our Instagram page..... shak_sanctuary_official

Friday, 30 November 2018

Books On The Tyne.....

It was a real pleasure to be invited to Newcastle Library this morning with Rob McGowan to promote both Its A Dog's Life and Worthy of Such Devotion as part of the wonderful Books On Tyne book festival!

A big thank you to Rob for giving up his time, every one in the audience who listened, bought the books and to David Hepworth from the library for making it all happen!

The rest of the festival looks amazing, and I'm very proud to of been part of it!

Both books available at

Monday, 26 November 2018

Looking For Somewhere For Oscar.....

Following our series of appeals for homes for some of our older boys, today we are asking for help with another very special boy who has been here a long time. I think it's fair to say that when he joined us, Oscar was a real handful. He'd been seperated from his mother too early and I think the socialisation he missed from his mother in those couple of weeks really effected his behaviour later in life.

Having recently turned 11 he has really settled down and, although age is definately begin to show itself, he is still a very active and strong boy.

So we are looking for somebody that MUST have German Shepherd experience and to make things easier for Oscar we would like a home with no other dogs or children.

The appeals for Bully and Rusty didn't attract a single enquiry, which is very disheartening, but we know that if we keep trying something will come up for one of our fantastic boys.

If you'd like to express an interest in Oscar, Bully or Rusty please email for an application form.




Wednesday, 21 November 2018

An Unexpected Guest.....

I had an unexpected house guest last night, after Paul and I had to rush Duke to the vets with a very 'delicate' condition!

Duke has been with us a very long time after being severely abused. He was neutered about eight years ago, so for him to suddenly suffer what is known as Paraphimosis was a big shock. Rather than going into too much detail I'll let you Google it, but basically he had an erection that wouldn't go down!

Any way, he didn't take too kindly to being at the vets, and the swelling was so bad that he need a full anaesthetic so the vet could successfully reverse what was going on! Problem being that due to his stressed behaviour he couldn't be hospitalised and clearly couldn't go back into kennels.

So after half past eleven last night, Paul kindly returned to the vets and collected a very sleepy Duke and brought him up to mine. I set him up a nice bed in the utility room and, at 1am, after a little bit of food he settled down for the night.

He was amazing considering he possibly has never ever spent a night in a house, from the history we know he was locked in a yard before we got him, I like to think he enjoyed the break. This morning we had a nice walk in the rain, where he took in all the smells.

It was great to see him so relaxed in such a different environment, especially after such a traumatic start. I'd like to say huge thank you's to Paul and to Helena at Moorview Vets for helping Duke so expertly and being so understanding.

Monday, 19 November 2018

All I Want For Christmas.....

I reintroduced you to Bully a little while ago, especially his ability to hide Teddy Bears! Today I'm hoping somebody out there can find a place for him.

Bully has been with us  a long time now and despite being a bit of a villian when he arrived, he has always been everyone's favourite.

However,  time catches up with us all and Bully is no exception. So for Christmas this year we are looking to find him a home with someone who has experience and understands how difficult the transition from kennel life to the outside world can be.

To make this transition easier for Bully we insist on an environment with no other dogs, animals or children.

If you'd like an application form them please email

Thursday, 15 November 2018


Just a reminder that you can meet some of our dogs and see snippets of their daily life on our official Instagram account..... shak_sanctuary_official

Monday, 12 November 2018

Introducing Rusty.....

Left abandoned in an empty house, was how Rusty was found before arriving with us last year. No dog deserves that.
He didn't originally like men, which I guess tells his own story,  but over time he has grown to trust no the males and females. He really is a loving little Staffy, who does react to other dogs when put, but with an experienced handler it isn't too much trouble.

We are looking for an experienced foster home for Rusty, after having spent time away from the kennels earlier in the summer with Brad and Amy. He really did blossom into a lovely loyal companion, and as the winter approaches we'd love to see him settled in a permanent home.
So if you have experience with Staffys, no other animals and no young children and would like to know more about Rusty  or ask for an application form, then please contact

Monday, 5 November 2018

Can You Help Us Help Enzo.....

I briefly mentioned Enzo a couple of weeks ago after arriving in a horrendous state. Skin and bone and riddled with fleas,  he really was a mess physically. However, the minute he arrived and I looked in his eyes I knew there was an amazing boy just waiting to come out.

Fast forward a few weeks Enzo has lost the parasites that were living on him and made a whole bunch of new friends in both the SHAK Team and the dogs. In fact I think when introduced correctly he loves other dogs.

His days here are spent sharing a kennel with Kiki, inbetween going out to play with her, Bren and Rex. He is still underweight but I think that is mainly down to being so under nourished on arrival and adjusting to kennel life.

That is where you can step in and help him. We are looking for an experienced foster home to help Enzo get his life back on track. He is still young enough to learn, with so much love to give back.

If you want to know more, or for an application form please email

Saturday, 3 November 2018

The Official SHAK Instagram....

Some might say I'm finally catching up with the rest of the world, but today I am launching the official SHAK Instagram account on a trial basis.

The idea being that you get to see more of the dogs and what they get up to on they're daily routines and hopefully capture some of the special moments that we are fortunate enough to witness first hand.

So let's see how it goes..... shak_sanctuary_official

Monday, 29 October 2018

Amazing Results And A Need To Expand.....

I think it is more than fair to say that our flagship store in Blyth has exceeded all of our dreams and targets since opening just over three weeks ago.

The work rate and dedication from Joan and her team have given us so much to build on that coupled with the support from you guys we are already out growing what we have.

So we are launching plans to open the upstairs too, but with that comes the need for more hands on deck and more committed volunteers.

If you can give at least four hours in one shift and really want to help the dogs that nobody else gives a 'BARK about then please get in touch via email

Thank you.

Have You Ever Had A Karakachan?

Every now and then a dog comes along that is special in several ways. Obviously the way they are and the stories that accompany them, but also you just wonder how a certain breed or individual has ever needed us.

Kiki certainly falls into all of the above,  but especially given her breed. She is registered as a Karakachan, a Bulgarian Shepherd, and is the first once I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

She is great with the other dogs and in Bren, Rex and Enzo, she has three boyfriends that she manages to keep in check! People she adores, once she has gotten to know you, she is also very clever.

I said she is the first we have ever had and, whilst this is a long shot, it means we are also hitting a bit of a brick wall when it comes to placing her.

We know from her history that her young life has been spent being passed around a bit, the least she deserves it to be settled and with someone who will guide her through her insecurities.

So we are looking for anybody with connections or experience of the breed (We will only allow her to go to somebody that fits those requirements) to help us find her that person.

If you have had Karakachans before and can help, then please get in touch via

Thank you. 

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Can You Donate Tinned Food.....

Running this charity is often like spinning plates, there's always something to do.....

At the moment we are quite short of tinned dog food, so I'm coming at you cap in hand again. Some of our dogs will only eat if they have wet food mixed in, so please if you can spare any it would be greatly appreciated.

Another plate spinning is being short handed at the moment, so if any donations could please go to just either:

SHAK Store. 12 Bowes Street, Blyth NE24 1EB

SHAK HQ. Greenwell Road Alnwick NE661HB

That way it is easier for us to collect.

Thanks again in advance for your generosity.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Opening Offers Ending.....

I'd just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has come down to the SHAK Store and made it a huge success. Thank you too to Joan for steering the ship superbly and for the dedication and commitment shown by the team she has assembled.

One thing we plan to do is keep the shop fresh and forever changing,  so tomorrow is the last day you can take the opportunity to benefit from our opening offers of all clothes, shoes and bags (including designer brands) for just £5!

There will of course be other special offers starting very soon, especially after the success of these opening ones.

So why not pop along to 12 Bowes Street, Blyth NE24 1EB today or tomorrow and grab yourself a bargain.....

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

On BBC Newcastle Tomorrow Morning.....

I recorded a few bits this afternoon on BBC Radio Newcastle about re looking at the Dangerous Dogs Act. Tune in tomorrow from about 08.15 am for the full live interview.....

2019 SHAK Calendars Available Now.....

After have a presale exclusive for the opening of the SHAK Store, I am delighted to be able to announce thatthe brand new 2019 SHAK Calendars are now available to buy on line!

Thank you once again to all our sponsors who have made it possible that EVERY PENNY from these Calendars goes straight into the pot to help our dogs. Also a thank you to Michael Robinson for all his time designing the finished article.

You can buy yours on line via the following link, or why not save postage and pop down to the SHAK Store, 12 Bowes Street, Blyth.....

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Summer Loving.....

In such brilliant sunshine I just had to share a special moment between Kiki and Enzo.....

Help Needed In Our Back Run.....

You know we never stand still up here, as well as setting up the shop we've also been doing major renovation to our exercise run.

Our incredible maintenance man Brian has worked so hard and done all the work himself, but now we need a little advice and some help.

The plan is to lay artificial grass so the dogs have something soft to run and play on in all weather's. Here lies the problem.....

The surface at the moment is old concrete and rough, we need somebody's expertise to help make it suitable for laying the grass on.

So we are sending out a plea to any one who has experience doing this job that might be able to give us advice or even even physically help us out. If you are that person then please get in touch via email

The back run is so valuable to the dogs, being the only form of real freedom. We just want it to be the best we can.

(Please note we are in the Alnwick area.)

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Volunteer Opportunities.....

There have been a  couple of voluntary position become available at our kennels near Alnwick lately, so as the season change we are looking to attract some more people to work alongside our existing team.

These positions are completely voluntary and are minimum 3 hour slots anywhere between 8am and 5pm, seven days a week. They consist of kennel cleaning, general house keeping, dog walking and once trained, assisting in helping us work on the wide range of issues that come hand in hand with our dogs.

For insurance purposes we can only take on over 18's, whilst due to our own transport is essential.

Please note that these are NOT temporary placements and we do not offer work experience positions. We believe that our dogs need long term commitment to be able to start building relationships with people again.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience and see Rescue at the end where it really can be life or death.

For an application form please email:

Friday, 5 October 2018

Shop Opening Tomorrow.....

I promised you earlier in the week some really exciting news about the SHAK Shop, well here it is.....

We are opening tomorrow, Saturday 6th October, at 9am. Complete with guest appearances from Keith Dodds as a Storm Trooper and Marga Johnson as Woofles!

This project has taken months to get to this stage, with a lot of hard work, sweat and worry on a daily basis, but it's something we are very proud of.

The support this idea has had has been amazing,  with some incredible generosity along the way.....

I'd like to say a special thank you to Joan Brittlebank who has joined me every step of the way, had faith in my ideas and put her heart and soul into making it all happen.

Thank you to Rachel for giving up pour holidays to help search for just the right furniture to fit the shop out. I'd also like to thank Ann Ray for amazing generosity in buying us a steamer and a new carpet, Northumbria Flooring and Furniture for doing us such an amazing deal and Stephen Adams the carpet fitter for being prepared to tackle such a difficult job and still making it look perfect!

Thanks to all the members of the SHAK Team too who helped by ripping up the old carpet, hanging things on the walls and pricing things up ready for tomorrow. Then of course, there is the voluntary team who have come forward to man the shop when its open. We really would have been struggling without you all.

So tomorrow is the big day, a chance for you to come and browse and support us by treating yourself! We also thought as part of the celebrations we could try and include the dogs. So for the whole of October we are asking customers to donate treats and tinned dog food in the donation bin inside the store, that way the dogs too get something to enjoy from a very special occasion!

So please come and see the shop and meet the team tomorrow. We open at 9..... just look out for Woofles and a Storm Trooper!

SHAK. 12 Bowes Street, Blyth NE24 1EB

Monday, 1 October 2018

Very Nearly There.....

We are very nearly there..... Huge news announcement later this week.....

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Good Night Phoenix.....

This is still very raw, but I will try my best.

You will remember in June we took in an old Husky that was tied to a tree on the a69. This is one of the busiest roads in Northumberland,  connecting the east and the West, and he was in dreadful condition.

This bedraggled boy became Phoenix, and it turned out he was at least 16. It was clear from the minute he arrived that he couldn't stay in kennels so he ended up at home with me.

His stay lasted literally a few hours then Rachel came, fell in love and the two became inseparable. The love was mutual and instant, like it was meant to be.

He became an integral part of our family, settling in as if he had always been there, loving life with his brothers and sisters.

Fostering an older dog is never easy, but Rachel was so patient and understanding with him. Seeing them together showed true devotion, I am so proud of them both.

Last week he became ill. Blood tests showed some major changes, especially in his protein levels and he didn't have enough red blood cells. Without further tests we couldn't be sure of the cause, but it pointed towards a liver or kidney problem. Severe anaemia meant his body was shutting down, there was nothing we could do.

On Thursday his body told us it was tired and couldn't go on. We lost an amazing part of the family who had showed so much bravery and desire to live. He was stubborn, courageous, determined but above all he was amazing. We were very lucky he found his way to us, we miss him dearly.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Busy, Busy Times.....

It has been a really busy time of late, with what appears to be the 'post school holidays kick out' season really gathering pace. It's amazing how many dogs find their way to us as 'strays' but once you dig a little deeper into microchip details the truth begins to unfurl.

I really don't know what the answer is to this problem, as it is definately better and safer that these dogs come to us and other rescues rather than being left on the streets or destroyed, but the overall effect in the world of rescue is that we are all completely saturated.

Couple that issue with the seasonal problem of poachers, now the nights are drawing in and the fields are being cut, thus creating an influx of Lurchers and Greyhounds, you can see just how desperate things are.

The biggest issue with the abandoned sight hounds is they are usually dumped in horrendous condition. More often than not emaciated and riddled with fleas.  They tend to need some sort of medical attention and are usually very nervous around people. We have seen it all so many times before.

So as winter is in the air, our work rate needs to step up even more, putting us under even more pressure. That's why you support is so valuable. Thank you.

Kiki and Enzo who both arrived recently and are now helping each other.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Duke Update.....

The support and kindness that people have shown Duke has been nothing short of sensational.  I'm delighted to say that we smashed the target we set and people are still stopping me in the street and donating and asking how he is. We've decides to keep the excess funds to one side just in case he needs more surgery or further amendments to the surgery that has been done. Once again, Thank you all so much.

He's had a great few days recovering with Brad and Amy, as you can see......

Duke is recovering really well, he’s feeling pretty sorry for himself so is enjoying extra cuddles and attention. He has been spread out across the double bed every night!
Duke has been doing so well we decided to take him for a pint down the local pub where he got even more spoiled as everyone felt sorry for him with his buster collar on. The bar maid even brought out a bowl of cheddar cheese for him since he’s very fussy and said no to the regular dog treats!

Dukes eyes look to be healing really well, we are back at the vets this week for a post operative check up so fingers crossed they are happy with his recovery. They will be checking to see if enough skin was removed in order for Duke to be as comfortable as possible as before the operation his bottom eyelids were extremely inverted. They will be looking to see if any skin needs to be removed from his top eyelid to make him even more comfortable. I think Duke can’t wait to get that buster collar off regardless!


Sunday, 16 September 2018

A Reminder For Tomorrow.....

Please dont forget if you are interested in volunteering at our new shop, we aare having an information meeting tomorrow.....Monday 17th of September at our new premises.... 12 Bowes Street, Blyth NE24 1EB.

Doors open at 17.45 for an 18.00 start. Hope to see you then.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Duke Recovering After His Op.....

Just want to  say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everybody who has supported Dukes appeal. The reaction from our supporters has been simply unbelievable and I'm delighted to say that he has had his surgery and is currently recovering at home with Brad and Amy. Thank them and you guys so much.....