SHAK rescues dog in a horrific mental and physical condition

Stephen Wylie with Harley.
Stephen Wylie with Harley.

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

Underweight, tripping over his overgrown nails and in a horrific mental state – a badly neglected dog has been rescued by SHAK.

The dedicated sanctuary team admit they were shocked at the condition of new arrival Harley, who soiled himself in fear when being put on a lead for the first time.

And the way that Harley reacts when he’s outside makes his rescuers believe that he has led a very confined life.

A long road to recovery is ahead for Harley, but the carers at SHAK are determined to do all they can to help.

SHAK founder Stephen Wylie said: “I was approached last Monday by a Northumberland County Council officer to see if we’d take a Dogue de Bordeaux which was facing the threat of being euthanised by his owner.

“I won’t go into too many details because of the fact we do have some history on this dog, but of course I said yes.

“Harley arrived a few days later in a horrific condition. He was underweight and his claws were so long that he sometimes tripped over them when he walked. However, it was the mental state of this dog which had me really concerned.

“On his arrival, he was frightened, but manageable – he walked into his kennel on a lead and we even had a little cuddle. But then I saw how damaged he was.

“As soon as I moved my hand to put the lead around his neck, he started barking and growling. Fear that I could totally understand.

“However, as I raised my hand slightly higher to make a bigger loop and hopefully cause him less stress, he was so frightened that he soiled himself as he cowered.

“I got him out eventually with some gentle coaxing and we went for a walk, but even the sound of sheep blew his mind, I think you’ll be beginning to draw the same conclusions I am.

“The next day, he was still frightened and a little more difficult to get on the lead, but we got there. We went for another walk and his reaction to traffic really shocked us and the first time I touched him, he wet himself.

“As I said, I really don’t think I can comment on his history or explain his behaviour, but seeing him like this makes me only presume he’s had a tough time, physically and mentally.”

Thankfully, Harley is already on the mend. Earlier this week, Stephen said: “We’ve seen some amazing progress from Harley over the weekend – progress that makes us all very proud. Rich and Brad stepped up on my days off as it’s vital that Harley doesn’t just get used to one person. Both did exceptionally well, with Rich pulling out the masterstroke – chicken.”