The next instalment of our series dedicated to Alnwick-based dog sanctuary, SHAK.
Snuggled together in a loving embrace, lurcher dogs Haden and Sam look happy and content.
But life for the cute pair before arriving at SHAK was anything but simple, having both been dumped by their owners and found as strays.
Haden, in particular, has complex issues, suffering from epilepsy and having just three legs.
While their stories prior to SHAK aren’t 100 per cent clear, it is believed that they may have been used by poachers and then abandoned.
With this in mind, SHAK founder Stephen Wylie is keen to highlight the plight of lurchers and greyhounds at this time of year.
He said: “As the clocks go back and the dark nights come in, we see a lot of these types of dogs coming through the rescue system, after being abandoned by poachers.
“Greyhounds and lurchers are used by poachers and, as well as being illegal, the sad thing is these dogs are often not treated very well.
“Sometimes if they are no good at the job they are wanted for, they are dumped. If they get injured they get dumped and sometimes if they are disturbed they flee and just leave the dogs.
“That’s when they end up as strays. We’ve had a lot over the years with injuries ranging from broken legs to dislocations and serious skin conditions due to flea allergies. In fact, we’ve had a few who have been practically bald.
“Both Haden and Sam were found as strays and I think were either past it or no good at poaching.
“Haden arrived as a stray without his leg. It looks like a professional amputation but having rang around all the local vets, nobody recognised him.
“It wasn’t until I took him home that the fits became apparent. I often wonder if he’d been in some sort of accident, had the leg amputated and then maybe the fits started and the owner couldn’t cope and kicked him out. I guess I’ll never know the full story.
“Sam was also dumped as a stray. He is microchipped but the owner had disappeared off the face of the earth. He was 11 and had to start his life all over again. He ended up coming home with me.
“From my experience, sighthounds (greyhounds and lurchers, etc) are up there with the most abused dogs in Britain.”
○ SHAK’s fund-raising Christmas boutique, held last weekend, was a huge success. Today, the remaining stock is being sold for half price. It takes place at SHAK HQ, Greenwell Road, Alnwick, from 10am to 5pm.