A dream opportunity for dog lovers

The latest instalment of our weekly series dedicated to the Alnwick-based dog sanctuary, SHAK.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 13:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 12:30 pm
Marley enjoying a countryside walk.

Things are getting back to normal at the charity, although founder Stephen Wylie says things don’t differ much because of Christmas.

By 9,30 on the day after Boxing Day, he received the first call from a vet with a dog booked in to be destroyed, while strays are also making an appearance.

“One thing the holidays has shown us is that we still really do need to strengthen both our voluntary teams at the kennels and on the retail side.

“Both can’t function without the other, so any help on either level would make a great difference,” said Stephen.

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“All we ask for is a commitment of a three-hour shift at the kennels just north of Alnwick and a four-hour shift at the shop, which is based in Blyth.”

Jon started to volunteer for SHAK about three months ago.

He spends three hours on a Thursday morning walking up to 10 dogs, one at a time.

He said: “The dogs vary in size, age and temperament but all share their delight at being out on one of their two walks a day, which are clearly the high spots of their lives.

“They revel in being outdoors, sniffing their way down hedgerows and smelling the messages left for them by fellow boarders.

“It can be a challenging environment at times. When 40-plus dogs get over-excited in the kennels, the noise level can get significant and some of the dogs pull quite strongly on the lead, especially when they first get out.

“As time goes on and you begin to build a rapport with the dogs you walk, it is very satisfying to bring 20 minutes of joy into the life of a dog who probably hasn’t had much of that emotion in his or her life so far.

“It is a good feeling when they start to recognise you and greet you with great enthusiasm. I now look forward all week to my Thursday dog fix.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for SHAK, either at the kennels or the shop, can email a telephone number to office@shak.org.uk and someone will be in touch.