Change Lives

Change Lives

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Difficult Day For Benson But Good News.....

Yesterday was a really difficult day, as after having been unwell I had the pleasure of accompanying Benson to the vets. Benson hasn't seen a lot of life, and the last trip to the vets I had with him to get neutered was the most difficult trip there I've had. So a full military operation was planned.....Yesterday though, I have to say he was a star.

Benson has been being sick, lost a little weight, and has a lump on his front left "ankle joint." After what I have just gone through with Smokey, I feared the worst. However, I'm pleased to say that X Rays showed no tumour or nasty mass in his abdomen, they also showed that the lump on the leg is arthritic rather than anything serious, and whilst tests for diabetes came back negative, we are waiting on the results of other blood tests.

Until I get those, I still won't relax, but I'm just so relieved that I brought him back to the kennels and home. Funny how you build a relationship with a dog through some really strange experiences. Benson's fan club got another member yesterday.


Oscar Still Looking.....

Another handsome SHAK boy that has been enjoying the sunshine lately is Oscar. He simply adores a ball, or should that be two or three! Remember we are looking for a very special home for this big, intelligent boy. If you'd like to be considered then please contact


The Handsome Jenson.....

Jenson is also adjusting to life with us, after turning up as a stray. He is still very young, though so bright. We think he is probably a Labrador cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and you can see so much of both breeds in him, especially the Labrador ears.


The Beautiful Dee Looking For A Home.....

Dee was another one who came to us in difficult circumstances and very stressed out. She is such a typical German Shepherd, and clearly very upset with being in kennels. And who could blame her.

We know a little bit about her history, and she comes with a glowing reference around people. She has certainly lived upto that, and is adorable. However, she also came with a reputation of not being very good with other dogs. Time to call in SHAK's ambassadors Harvey and Grace.....

Harvey and Grace.
Once again, great work from all three dogs, and it was really nice to see Harvey and Grace help Dee after being the same position themselves long ago. Dee was brilliant to watch, as she over came her fears and even had a game of chase round the caravan with Grace.
I'm sure with a bit of work and patience she will over come her fears once and for all and make someone a fantastic pet and companion. If you would like to be considered as a Forever Foster home for Dee then please contact

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Meeting Fraser.....

I mentioned last week that we had a few new arrivals, well I can now introduce them.

Fraser came very stressed, very frightened and letting us know that he didn't want to be here. He has taken a lot of work in the very short time he has been here, but more importantly he has worked very hard to trust. All the photos were taken over a 24 hour period, and it was great to see him really respond.
This is Fraser and me on his first venture out. He decided he was going, as he started sniffing my lead when I sent into his kennel to give him a treat. So off we went.....
Then that afternoon he started to make friends with Melissa. I think you can see that food is the way to become friends.

Then the next day he decided that David had to take him out for a stroll rather than around the back. Ignore the concentration on David's face, the feeling of admiration is mutual!

I think the smile on Fraser's face compared to the first photograph says it all. Great few days work Fraser.

No Radio.....

Half Term Holidays means that there is no Radio Show again tomorrow. Sorry!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

No Radio Tomorrow.....

I'm sorry to say that there's no radio show tomorrow. After spluttering through last weeks show, the sore throat has now developed into an annoying tickly cough and an unpredictable pitch! Hope to be back on air next week.

Still Need More.....

Thanks to everyone who has contributed towards our food appeal, however I'm afraid we still need more.....

With it being such a difficult year and so many dogs arriving and needing our special attention, I'm afraid its that time again when I have to ask our brilliant supporters to help us out. We are running desperately low on dry dog food of all kinds. Please, if you can spare one bag of food it would be greatly appreciated. As I have said before, the dogs will not starve so please don't panic. I will starve before them, but every bit of help will be a massive boost. Thank you in advance, below are some food drop off points:

Pets At Home, Cramlington.
Moorview Vets, Backworth.
Dereks on a Sunday, Seaton Sluice.
Taylors Newsagents, Alnwick.
Sainsburys, Alnwick.

Or perhaps the easiest way of donating is via our Amazon wish list.....

SHAK Amazon Wish List.....

You pick what you want to donate, and then it gets delivered directly to our door. Simple.

Thank you once again for your support.

Christmas Is Coming.....

Just a couple of reminders as the clock ticks towards Christmas. You can get your SHAK Christmas Cards and 2014 Calendars from the links below:

SHAK Christmas Cards

Don't forget your 2014 SHAK Calendar. Each month has been very kindly sponsored by some wonderful supporters, which means every single penny from sales goes straight back to helping the dogs.

You can get your copy here:

SHAK 2014 Calendar.....


A Year On For Elmo.....

Time goes so quickly, and its hard to believe that its a full year since Elmo (formerly Jake) found his Forever Foster home with big SHAK supporter Julie. I love this photograph, and I love the cake too! Congratulations Elmo.

Return Of A King.....

As always though, its a bit of a revolving door, and we've had three more really desperate cases arrive (more of those later) and unfortunately Otto's foster place at Lesley's was quickly taken up by the returning King. It was with a very heavy heart that we were asked to remove King from his Forever Foster home. In hindsight by moving to Lesley's its probably the best thing that has ever happened to him, due to the pampering that she has planned.

A visit to the vets on collection confirmed our worst fears, that King is practically blind, suffering with neurological problems and really struggling with arthritis. He now has medication which will hopefully at least make him more comfortable, and I know he will get the care and attention that he deserves from now on, in fact I know he is going get spoilt rotten. Thanks Lesley.
King on the left, with his new brother Oscar.

Three Get Forever Foster Homes.....

But life goes on, and at SHAK life has to go on. Therefore I'm delighted to say that Snoopy, Millie and Otto have now found their own Forever Foster homes. It's incredible to think that all three of these dogs needed us for various reasons, but I'm pleased we were here for them when they did. Thank you to both Sheena and Lesley for fostering Snoop and Otto whilst we found their homes.

Thank You.....

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has said so many nice words to me and the rest of the team as we come to terms to life without Smokey. It's one of those weird and horrible situations where, because he lived with me for such a short space of time I am both grateful and distraught that he is no longer here..... Who'd of thought such a stubborn old man would leave such a huge, gaping hole.


Friday, 18 October 2013

Time To Say Goodbye And Memories.....

October the 18th is a day etched into my head already, as two years ago I lost Scooby, the dog that changed SHAK forever. Today that imprint in my head got deeper as my worst fears were confirmed and I had to do the right thing and let Smokey go.

After the beach on Tuesday I took Smokey to the vets as he had a large lump on his back leg that had got dramatically bigger. I knew it wasn't good, and the look on Emily's face said it all. An appointment was made for X Rays today, and thus began the horrific countdown of doing everything with the dog that had become my side kick for the last time.

Today's results were worse case scenario. A massive bone tumour was feeding off Smokey's body and there were signs of possible secondary tumours appearing other places. I had to put my personal needs to one side and do what was best for him.

Smokey had been with us for the best part of four years, the last month I have gotten to know him better than I thought I already did. He was tough, stubborn but oh so brave. If I had half the spirit he had, then maybe I wouldn't feel so broken inside right now.

Today SHAK lost a legend, like so many before him, Smokey summed up everything this charity stands for and fights against. Personally I have lost a dog that became so close to me, not having him hurts, but more importantly I've lost a dog that I am honoured to of let me get so close. We all loved him, and my family loved having him with us, I'd like to think that Smokey felt we were lucky to have him!

Smokey saying goodbye to his friends at the kennels yesterday with a game of football.

Relaxing last night around the fire outside.

Sweet Dreams big man.....

Our goodbye this morning.  Fighting back tears and wanting time to stand still.


Losing the big man was even more ironic as it came on the second anniversary of losing the dog that made taking in dogs like Smokey possible. A lot has been said about Scooby, and I think his nickname of Lord Scooby says it all, but if he hadn't of come into my life snarling and biting me in the process, Smokey, Miko and all the others would never of made it to SHAK and ultimately home with me. I still think about you Scooby, and miss you being here. Thank you x


His Lordship who I owe so much.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

One Very Brave Boy Experiences Something New.....

In between appointments today I managed to take Smokey for a trip to my favourite part of beach. The place was clear other than us, and those twenty minutes are minutes I will never forget.

He'd clearly never been before, and as you can see from that last picture, he wasn't 100% sure of the waves. He seemed to enjoy it, once again his determination to walk on the sand is testament to how brave this wonderful big boy is. Today brought back memories of Dudley, but also provided me with amazing new ones of an equally brave soldier.

Worn out and back in the Landrover ready for Parents Evening, "I think I'll just stay in here Dad."

These next few photos I tried to take myself. Now isn't the time to tell Smokey's life story before SHAK, we have to value the time we have left, but some people out there will be amazed to see him showing affection like this. I just feel like the luckiest man in the world to be receiving the love. I know my time with his is running short, the grains of sand are pouring through the egg timer for perhaps the last time, but pictures like these will keep him with me forever.....