Change Lives

Change Lives

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Twelve Years Ago Today.....

Twelve years ago today I lost the dog that had changed my life forever,  Shak. Lymphoma took him unexpectedly and I swore never again would I have another dog......


Monday, 18 June 2018

Phoenix Finds His Home.....

Thank you to everyone who has sent best wishes to our little Husky that arrived on Friday. Too unwell for kennels he came to spend some time at my house, that was until Rachel came to stay.....

Instantly there was a bond and suddenly my new house mate had moved on to his new home.

Phoenix as his to be known in his new life has settled extremely well,  he enjoyed the traditional Sunday evening  bath like I used to as a kid and is enjoying having the company.

Below is during his bath, after and with his new sister (another ex SHAK dog) Willow.





Saturday, 16 June 2018

Another Arrival In A Horrendous State.....



So when I decided to take a few days off to try and get my head around the events of last weekend, I never for one minute expected to be joined by a new house guest.

I hadn't long been awake yesterday morning when my phone rang. It was one of the dog wardens who had just picked up a Husky from a vets where he had been on IV fluids since being found tied to a tree on the A69, the main road from Northumberland to Cumbria.

The dog was described as being almost at deaths door when found and in a horrendous state.

Of course I said we'd help, but on his arrival at the kennels the true horror of his condition came to light.
The husky (I still haven't thought of a name) was extremely under weight, very wobbly on his back end and it appears his eye sight is very limited.

I quickly had staff on the phone as they had put him in a kennel and all he had done was walk into the walls. It looked like I was going to get company.....

So first up he met Lennox, a veteran of course at meeting and greeting new arrivals, then it was a case of coming home to meet the others.



This boy is so special and just desperate to be loved.  There has to be somebody out there somewhere who knows where he is from and whose he was. Of course I think it's important to state that there may be a very reasonable explanation for his condition, but I have to say the videos really do not do his condition justice.

If you have any information about this dog then please contact Northumberland Council Animal Welfare Team on 03456006400


A Wonderful Tribute.....

Thank you to James Willoughby at the Northumberland Gazette for a beautiful piece on Star.....

The next instalment of our weekly series dedicated to Alnwick-based dog sanctuary, SHAK. An emotional tribute has been paid to a much-loved SHAK dog, who passed away last week.

Star lost her battle against a splenic tumour on Friday and the charity’s founder, Stephen Wylie, expressed his heartache following the death of his ‘best friend and rock’.

Star arrived at the sanctuary in March 2013, and lived with Stephen for the last five years. During this time, she changed from an aggressive dog to one that loved humans and her own kind. Stephen said: “Star was one of the most amazing dogs I have ever had the privilege to know. I didn’t see this awful disease coming to take her. “She came to me after being booked into the vets to be destroyed for repeatedly biting. I could get her out to walk her, but it took more than two months before I could actually touch her. She was that bad. “Eventually, once I could get closer, I noticed she had a terrible infection in both ears. I muzzled her and tried to look, but she just went ballistic. “I drove her to the vets, they sedated her and got a good look in her ears – they were rotten. She had them cleaned out and was given antibiotics and from that moment, her life changed.

“She loved everybody and was amazing with other dogs – reassuring them if they were scared or telling them if they crossed the line. She helped so many at SHAK.

“It dawned on me a while later that her ear issue was probably why she’d bitten people. She nearly lost her life because of that, but instead she went on to help so many others. Now she’s gone, I feel lost. She was my constant companion who went everywhere with me. I am so proud of what she achieved and I miss her so much.”



Read more at: https://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/an-emotional-farewell-to-the-brightest-star-1-9206624

Friday, 8 June 2018

Goodnight To The Brightest Star.....

Tonight a Splenic Tumour has one of the most amazing dogs I have ever had the privilege to know. I have been through this  awful disease so many times but I didn't see it coming to take Star.

I have lost my best friend and my rock, the charity has lost the greatest stooge dog it ever had, despite being in the vets room with her I still can't believe she has gone.

Maybe one day I will be able to remind you all of her story on here without breaking down, but right now no words could do justice for my beautiful girl.....





Thursday, 7 June 2018

Worthy of Such Devotion Hits The National Glossy's......

A fantastic review of "Worthy Of Such Devotion" in the national glossys magazine Dogs Monthly today. Thanks to them for that.....




Of course you can still by your copy of the book here.....

https://www.shakshop.co.uk/Worthy_Of_Such_Devotion_-_The_SHAK_Story/p168627_18458742.aspx

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Lady And Daisy Play.....

I'm just back from another incredible walk with Lady and Daisy, for the first time they began to play when out except Lady had no idea what to do.

When I got back I asked Rich to give me a hand. These two just continue to amaze me....


Monday, 4 June 2018

The Question On Everybody's Lips.....

And for the answer to the question everyone has been asking all week.....

Yes Bully remembered where he had buried his teddy!


Then he promptly buried it again!

Holiday Weekend For Two Very Special Staffies.....

It's been another great summer weekend for a couple of our older staffies thanks to a couple of members of the SHAK Team.

Amy and Brad are becoming dab hands at this now,  but for Rusty this was perhaps the first chance ever of some kind of holiday. He came to us a while ago having been left in a house on his own for weeks with only a friend of the owner going in to feed him once a day. The owner had fled through domestic abuse. For no fault of his own Rusty was alone and arrived with a serious fear of men.

As you can see he is doing exceptionally well and learning to trust. This weekend he spent it all away from kennel life and having shared  a couple of beers with him on a night time it was incredible to see what a loving little man he is.....

Rusty snuggles upto Brad.



We would love to see Rusty in a home after seeing him this weekend, but it would have to be one with no other dogs and very experienced with Staffordshire Bull Terriers. If this is something you'd like to discuss more then please email foreverfoster@shak.org.uk for an application form.

Mona was another very lucky SHAK Dog as she got to spend the weekend at Jill's house. Mona has been there before,  but I think this time she really felt at home. Getting on to being one of our longest serving residents, Mona is a complex character who has progressed so far in our care and even more so since she retreated to the quieter and more relaxing SHAK 2. This weekend especially should that despite all of her troubles she can still enjoy the simple things that we all take for granted.









Breaks like this are so valuable to our dogs I really do want to thank Amy, Brad and Jill for giving them this opportunity and for enabling both Rusty and Mona to show what amazing characters they are.







Saturday, 2 June 2018

Bully And His Cuddly Toys.....

I love this footage Lynn got of Little Bully just to show you the antics he gets up to with his cuddly toys.....


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Green Dog Walkers.....

Whilst this isn't a SHAK Event I want to share it as I think it is a great way of promoting responsible dog ownership.....

And it's at SHAK HQ.....


See Northumberland County Council Animal Welfare Team for further information.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

New 'Giving a Bark' T Shirts Coming Soon.....

As summer is almost here I thought I'd brighten up the very popular 'Giving a Bark' T Shirt range. So as a little bit of an exclusive, here's the new colours.....

Available to order very soon.....


The Spice Girls.....

You may recall a few weeks ago I posted a picture of a very unexpected pairing of Lady and Daisy. Well we've been continuing to let them spend time together and they are quickly becoming good friends. So good in fact they've earned the nickname the Spice Girls!

Today I was lucky enough to enjoy a stroll with the two of them in the sunshine on my own. It's great to see how they have began to interact with each other and show a little affection.

However my thunder was stolen recently when one of the volunteers Kat saw me bringing them back into the farm yard and said "Here's the Spice girls with..... old spice!"




Monday, 28 May 2018

A Little Old Man Called Bully.....

As I said previously it has been such a busy period of late with five of our dogs moving onto other rescues but then three others arriving needing us to start to do our work from scratch. There stories will be on here in time, but with so many coming and going we always make sure we don't forget about our old timers. I asked Amy to help me do a little  right up on one of our longest residents and here is our combined efforts ......

Bully is one of our long term SHAK residents. You are probably wondering why he is called Bully- he certainly lived up to his name when he first arrived at SHAK causing chaos whenever he could and often with a swear word in front of the word Bully!!

Despite his big reputation though, Bully is the most cuddliest, full of mischief and friendliest little staffie you’ll meet. He stays in one of our kennels which looks out into the fields which we think he spends most of his days dreaming of running in.

He's a loveable rogue and most definitely one of many volunteers favourite in the kennels, keeping  everyone entertained by bringing one of his many soft cuddly toys on a walk and finding a hiding place to bury his teddy by using his nose to dig a hole in a hedge or under a tree! He is a very clever boy.

Bully however is reaching that age of retirement, he’s slowly getting more grey hairs and isn’t as much of a ‘bully’ he once was. Recently he enjoyed a well deserved night away with Brad and Amy, letting the old boy enjoy the warmth of a home and some cheeky sausages he couldn’t help but give a paw for. Regardless of where Brad wanted to sit, Bully spent the majority of the night on Amy’s knee enjoying the simple things most dogs take for granted- a cuddle with their human friend.

You may ask why we are telling you all of this, as this isn’t an appeal to find Bully a home, we are just simply sharing this beautiful boy with you all so you can get a glimpse of how amazing all our dogs are, including the ones who have been here for years and sometimes miss the exposure the new arrivals get.

 In saying that however,  if  the correct home with a very experienced owner came along then it is definitely something we would consider......



Sunday, 27 May 2018

A Little Step But Such A Big One.....

We've been so busy this last week that I just haven't had time to post any updates on here, so whilst I apologise for that you can rest assured that there has been some amazing work done during this time.

As insignificant as this may seem, the picture below shows great progress from Indi.  The chew was put in her kennel on the day she arrived. Just over three weeks since she arrived I found this morning that she had finally relaxed enough to start chasing it!!!!


Saturday, 19 May 2018

A Happier Harley.....

I'm sure you'll all remember how terrified  Harley was when he arrived just a couple of weeks ago. Fear aggressive and petrified by transport, his mental state really wasn't very good.

Today I captured a couple.of very special moments on a walk with Amy. You can see how far he has come.....


Below is the video of when he arrived:


Thursday, 17 May 2018

Fun In The Sun.....

Today Indi and I were joined by a very special guest as Rachel joined us on an afternoon stroll in blazing sunshine. Although I'm not aloud to post any photographs (Must be a girl thing ha ha) Indi soon got over being very cautious and even allowed Rachel to walk her for a while.

Afterwards we retired for another snooze in the sun room where, with the help of Lennox, I was able to enjoy a very special moment.....



Sleeping Beauty.....

So after her walk last night I thought I'd give Indi another look at indoors.....  She promptly lay next to me and fell asleep!


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

First Look Inside At Home.....

Having been getting on so well with Indi I thought let her follow Star and Lennox inside after her walk tonight. It's fair to say she did incredibly well although whenever I moved she tried to bury herself into the nearest object.

We shared a little snooze and then I took her back to her kennel where she collapsed totally exhausted.

Still I managed to get this footage.....


Monday, 14 May 2018

Two Huge Moments For Two Very Special Dogs.....

Even I know that this is a terrible selfie but I just couldn't help but show you who sat on my knee tonight and enjoyed the sun and a beer after work.....



Such an amazing feeling on a beautiful evening.

It was also a big day for Harley as he went out for a walk with Lynn for the first time. Meeting a new lady meant he needed a little spruce up and how amazing is it that considering the state he was in when he arrived he let Amy and Paul get so close.....


Sunday, 13 May 2018

A New Experience For Indi.....

I bet you thought you'd got through a full day without a post about the wonderful Indi.....

Well as the sheep had been moved it meant we could have a trip around the field next to her kennel, which so represented a walk on grass for the first time since she came to live with me. As usual she took it all in her stride despite being visibly unsure, whilst in Star and Lennox  she had great sources for reassurance.

Oh and we caught a beautiful sunset.....




Saturday, 12 May 2018

When The Cats Away....

So look what Indi (in the kennel on the right) gets up to when she thinks that nobody is around.....




Here Comes The Yosh In Black.....

I really do think Yoshi is taking these sleep overs with Brad and Amy just a little too far, as he's clearly fully relaxing!


Friday, 11 May 2018

Indi A Week On.....

So a week ago today myself and 3 of my dogs set off to meet a scruffy little dog that was extremely shut down and terrified. That dog of course was Indi, and what followed has been a very emotional and proud week.

This is her on arrival.....


You have all followed her progress all week, the highs and lows, we all share the same admiration and love for her. Today is a day off, so I had the pleasure of getting her put for a walk in daylight and having been with Star all week I introduced Lennox who had also had the pleasure of the road trip to get her.....


All three of these dogs have had tough lives and Star and Lennox are battling their own issues that health and age bring, but I have to say that to be part of this walk this morning was an amazing feeling. I am so proud of them all. So much has changed for Indi a week on.....

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Indi's Most Amazing Walk Yet.....

Sorry for the late post but I really couldn't wait to share with you a really proud and massive moment for Indi. Tonight we went out for a walk with Star like every night, only tonight she really did step out.....

Not much trashing around or biting the lead, tonight she walked despite still being terrified. It was as if her curiosity had finally taken over her senses. She really was amazing.

Interestingly at one stage two cyclists went past talking, it was the only time she freaked out. Then not long after a van went past and she didn't flicker. Once again all I can conclude from witnessing her actions is that she is terrified of humans but used to traffic?

Anyway we went all the way to the cattle grid and back again, a combined trip of about half a mile. Quite incredible considering she only thrashed her way into my life 6 days ago. I am so proud and in love.

Once we got back she was exhausted and fell asleep in front of my eyes. She let me put on her new collar, and perhaps more importantly she didnt scrunch her head into a corner. For the first time she just stretched out and then went to sleep in front of me.

Writing this I am still very emotional about what I have seen from Indi tonight. I don't even think the video and photos will do justice to just how amazing she was......





Ember Trump.....

I just couldn't resist this when I went to the van.....