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Hope Rescue: The Perfect Storm


Hope Rescue is currently in the eye of a perfect storm. The aftermath of the pandemic, a huge rise in dog ownership and the cost-of-living crisis have hit the charity hard. Despite the challenges, they continue to do all they can to help dogs and owners in need, but their resources are stretched to the absolute limit.

In this time of crisis, they are reaching out for urgent help to weather this rocky storm and avoid having to reduce the number of dogs they can take in.

It has been widely reported that 2022 was a tough year for animal welfare charities like Hope Rescue and so far, the new year has brought little relief and a whole new fresh set of challenges. With around 3.2 million dogs purchased during the pandemic, it’s not surprising that Hope Rescue experienced a huge surge in the number of dogs through their doors.

The charity currently has 202 dogs in their care at the rescue centre and across their foster homes. This year alone they have welcomed 100 stray dogs through the centre’s doors with only 28% being reclaimed by owners, many of which have been deliberately abandoned due to health or behavioural issues putting further pressure on the charity.

Hope Rescue’s Founder Vanessa Waddon has said “As the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit every household, the same rise in costs has had a devastating impact on Hope Rescue’s already stretched resources.

As well as massive hikes in our energy and fuel costs, we’ve also seen an increase in the cost of other essentials such as dog food, bedding and cleaning materials. The increase in the number of dogs we are rescuing, and the heart-breaking condition they are coming to us in, means our vet bills have risen from £94,000 pre-pandemic to a predicted £312,000 this year.

We urgently need help to weather the storm. The last thing we want to do is to reduce the number of dogs we take in as this would put the lives and welfare of the most vulnerable dogs in our communities at risk.

But sadly this is a real concern. In the last 12 months, we’ve received 1242 calls from owners desperately asking for help to rehome their pets. This is a 69% increase on this time last year – too many dogs and their owners are counting on us.”

Can Hope Rescue count on you? If you can give anything, it will make a world of difference in their mission to keep giving our dogs hope.

You can make a donation to the care of dogs at Hope Rescue on their website The Perfect Storm | Hope Rescue or over the phone 01443 226659

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Funding Ellie’s Assistance Dog

Ellie Bourner is a 17-year-old girl from Kent. Unlike other teenagers her age, Ellie has to live with Tourettes Syndrome where she experiences physical and verbal tics. She is also affected by Irlens syndrome, anxiety, and joint issues. This will undoubtedly make day-to-day life harder.

Fortunately, an assistance dog can be a path of light. In the UK thousands of people own an assistance dog to increase their independence and confidence. These highly intelligent canines can assist with a variety of practical tasks, thus increasing the quality of life for their owners.

Ellie did have an owner-trained assistance dog, but by age 2, he became ill and as a result, was unfortunately put to sleep. This setback affected Ellie deeply. She was due to start college to study Animal Management but has since postponed this after the death of her assistance dog.

Jasper is a Labrador puppy. He is currently training to be Ellie’s new assistance dog. Jasper will undergo intensive training to support Ellie with her daily living. He is owner trained as unfortunately, Tourettes Syndrome does not qualify for funding.

To give Jasper the best training possible he needs to be trained by a professional. This could reach a cost of up to £10,000! Luckily, Jasper is currently training with Suzie, a qualified assistance dog trainer.

Ellie’s mum Elisa is trying to give her daughter the best start to living an independent life. She’s organized fundraisers and spoken to the media to help spread Ellie’s story far and wide. You may also see our products in her upcoming raffle so keep a look out!

If you’d like to donate to help train Ellie’s assistance dog you can do so here! To keep up to date with Ellie’s story head over to @Jasper_the_working_lab

Check out their story on ITV news by clicking here!

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Hope Rescue in Llanharan, welcomed English Bulldogs Mum and pup Deedee aged five- and 12-week-old Dill after their owner took them on from a breeder and soon realised, they couldn’t meet their health needs. On arrival, it was clear that both dogs had extensive health problems that needed investigating.  

Mum Deedee had an eye condition called entropion which requires surgery, and her other eye is needs removing due to irreversible damage. She also has extreme brachycephalic features including pronounced facial folds which will need regular cleaning and a very undershot jaw. It is clear she has been bred from multiple times.  

Little Dill is very wonky on his feet and x-rays have shown serious issues with his legs and hips which need a referral to a specialist orthopaedic vet to consider surgical options. Sadly, Dill also has breathing problems, a breed-related condition common with flat-faced breeds and one he will also likely need future surgery for.    

Vanessa Waddon Founder and Transformational Manager at Hope Rescue said ‘Poor Deedee and Dill are classic examples of low welfare breeding, and prioritising #WealthNotHealth. Even our most experienced staff have been shocked and upset to see a puppy this young struggle to breathe and function properly. The total cost of treatment for Deedee and Dill is unknown, but it anticipated it will be £1,000s, at a time our resources are already stretched as we deal with the impact of the huge surge in dogs purchased during the pandemic.”  

Deedee and Dills arrival comes as Norway banned the breeding of English bulldogs this week, ruling that it breaches the country’s animal welfare laws due to the host of medical issues the breeds face. 

On the landmark ruling, Vanessa Waddon said ‘I think it’s genuinely sad that it’s come to this, but the breed problems have just gone too far. There simply aren’t enough ethical and responsible breeders out there trying to improve the breed and prioritising health. The public should also take some responsibility for not demanding higher standards when purchasing puppies. Low welfare breeders are simply meeting the demand for these inherently unhealthy breeds.” 

hope rescue charity

If you are able to help Dee Dee and Dill, then you can make a regular or one-off donation on Hope Rescue’s website 

Other ways to donate: You can make a donation over the phone 01443 226659 (9am-5pm) or Text DEEDEE followed by your donation amount to 70085 to give that amount (e.g DEEDEE5 for £5 DEEDEE10 for £10 or any amount you would like to give). Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you’ll be opting in to hearing more from us. If you would like to donate but don’t wish to hear more from us, please text DEEDEENOINFO instead.

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Support Dogs: Raife’s Story

assistance dog

Support Dogs is a UK based charity who train and provide specialist assistance dogs to those with autism, epilepsy, or physical disabilities. Since 1992, Support Dogs have helped both people and dogs! 1 in 4 of their assistance dogs were unwanted or rescued dogs! Below is Raife’s Story!

Check out Support Dogs on their website and Facebook!

Raife: Support Dog of the Month!

Raife the clever fox-red Labrador already has a raft of domestic skills that make him the perfect canine companion. The two-year-old Lab has learnt how to load and unload the washing machine, open doors and pick up dropped items.

Raife was being trained by Sheffield-based charity Support Dogs as a disability assistance dog to provide vital practical support inside and outside the home for a client with a disability or medical condition. But because of the dog’s lively personality and high energy levels, the training team at Support Dogs decided to switch Raife to its autism assistance programme.

Now Raife is being taught all the skills he will need to spend his working life helping a child with autism to be safe, secure, and independent. Although assistance dogs need to have different characteristics for each training programme – autism, epilepsy seizure alert and disability – they all need to be confident and adaptable, dog-friendly, people-orientated with no major fears or phobias.

Raife arrived at the Brightside-based charity as one of a litter of four and spent most of his puppyhood being looked after by a local volunteer puppy socialiser. Support Dogs is committed to high standards of dog welfare, with trainee dogs never spending a night in kennels, but instead living with local foster carers.

Raife is now with a foster carer family in Sheffield with a child, to help him get used to living in a household with children. “The original plan for him was to be a disability assistance dog but we felt because Raife is so active the autism programme would be more suitable,” says Support Dogs trainer Jemima McLanaghan.

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Raife, support dog of the month!

“Autism assistance dogs have to be quite confident and have to be quite adaptable. When Raife first came into training he was quite under-confident, but he has progressed so much and now is very confident. I’ve started taking him to play areas where there are lots of children and he’s been great. “He is very lively, always wagging his tail and his entire bum! He has all the energy in the world. “

Having learnt all the domestic duties expected of a disability assistance dog, Raife is now learning lots of new tasks that will help him transform the life of a child with autism – such as how to ‘brace’ when a child, attached to him by a harness, tries to run off, and prevent them getting into danger.

Autism assistance dogs are trained to keep a child safe using a wide range of methods, reducing the risk of injury or distress for the child and reducing stress and anxiety for the child’s family. “He’s sailing through his training, he just needs to relax and chill out a bit now!” adds Jemima.

“He will be introduced to the child he will be working with in September and will start training with the child and parents at their home in January. We expect great things of Raife!”

Support Dogs is a national charity based in Brightside, Sheffield. They train assistance dogs for children with autism and adults with epilepsy and physical disabilities. The dogs enable people to lead safer, more independent lives.

• Do you have a much-loved pet dog under the age of three that you can no longer look after who you would like to donate to Support Dogs to give it a second chance in life? If so, please get in touch via
• For more information about Support Dogs go to

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Rescued to Rescuer: Max the Wonder Dog!

Assisi Animal Sanctuary, in Northern Ireland, rescues and rehomes more than 2,000 animals every year. Below is their story of Max, a rescue dog turned rescuer! You can find Assisi Animal Sanctuary on their website or Facebook!

In December 2016, a beautiful young 3-year-old black Labrador was handed into the Sanctuary. His owner could no longer care for him due to significant health issues. After just a few weeks with us, Max found his new home and was adopted by Ryan.

Ryan, a full-time maritime officer with the Coastguard, had identified a real need for trained air scenting dogs to help coastguard teams on the ground.  Not long after adopting Max, Ryan saw real potential in Max and subsequently began to train him in live air scenting. 

This training can take anything from a year to a year and a half but after a year Ryan felt Max was fully trained and qualified to start work searching for missing and vulnerable people with the Coastguard teams.

In October 2018, Ryan got a call in the middle of the night from a family whose fear and worry was growing as their loved one had been missing for over 40 hours. They had heard of Max and the work he had been trained to do and were desperate for help in trying to find their loved one. 

Max on duty!

Before Max had fully graduated to become an official search dog, Ryan took Max to search the area where the family had last seen their loved one. Max got to work sniffing and searching and doing what he had been trained to do. 

After just 8 minutes into the search, Max bolted up a lane of an old house where there was an abandoned car sitting. He began scratching and pawing at the boot. Ryan investigated this further and managed to open the boot to find the missing woman inside and in need of immediate medical attention. 

Following treatment from medical staff, Ryan was told that had the woman not been found and remained there any longer in the freezing temperatures, she would not have survived.

In 2019, Max and K9 Search and Rescue were tasked by the Coastguard in a search for a missing teenager alongside coastguard teams. Max got to work and very quickly picked up a scent in a specific area which led to the team along with some divers searching the area. 

The team and divers subsequently recovered the body of the missing teenager. Although this is an incredibly tragic and sad outcome, it highlights the importance of the work that search dogs like Max do. In this case, search teams were able to focus their resources on the area Max had identified and in turn, were able to find and return the loved one back to the family as quickly as possible. 

Now a fully qualified search dog, Max, has and continues to be involved in countless searches all over Northern Ireland and is responsible for finding and returning people back to their loved ones. Albeit, sadly, not every case has a happy ending.  

He has gone from strength to strength, so much so that Max is now also trained to search coastal, urban and rural areas as well as collapsed buildings for disaster response throughout Northern Ireland. He also participates in multiple training exercises throughout the year, showing other teams what his capabilities are. 

One example of this is Max being used in helicopter rescues and being able to be winched in and out of them to access difficult areas in certain rescue situations.

Ryan has now recruited an entire team bringing on 5 other dog handlers, our very own Dylan being one of them! As well as supporting search technicians also trained in water rescue. Included in the team are 4 other new search dogs, all in training, one of which was also a rescue dog, this time from Dogs Trust and learning from the best – Max!

Max is a fantastic example of what can become of a rescue dog and proof that not every dog is affected for life from their past experiences. With the right training, care, support and attention most rescue dogs can become and overcome anything!

Check out the Assisi Animal Sanctuary:

Facebook: Assisi Animal Sanctuary | Facebook
Website: Assisi Animal Sanctuary – Help for the helpless (
Twitter: Twitter
Linkedin: LinkedIn

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Saving Yorkshire’s Dogs: Holly & Jake’s Story

Saving Yorkshire’s Rescue Dogs help rehabilitate and rehome dogs that others just won’t take. These lovely people are working hard to make sure the vulnerable dogs of Yorkshire have a place to go. This is their story!

Check out their website and Facebook to meet the dogs and keep up with the work they do!

We are SYD Saving Yorkshire’s Dogs an independent rescue based in North Yorkshire. We take in the “at-risk” dogs and dogs other rescues won’t take in. Below are two of our rescues we are glad to say had a happy ending

Jake, the Westie

Jake after his arrival
Jake after receiving treatment

We helped out North Yorkshire County Council by taking in a dog in an emergency situation as the owner was taken to hospital. Jake was a Westie who arrived looking like a sausage – no fur at all on his body. After a vet check medication was started to help his skin recover.

Over the next few weeks he improved as did his owner and for a short period returned home., Sadly that was for 3 days and then the dog was put in foster with us for a few weeks until sadly his Dad passed away.

He was adopted by his fosterers and lived a great life ruling the roost and you could never have guessed the state he had been in.

Holly, the St Bernard

We were contacted by a local vet practice as to whether we would take in a 4yr old St Bernard that had been turned away from one of the larger national rescues. Why you may ask? , well her owners were in a sad situation as the gentleman was terminally ill and the wife knew she wouldn’t be able to cope with Holly as she was a big dog.

Holly was also epileptic but stable on the medication. The rescue had told them that they should have the dog put to sleep which they were horrified at so talked to their own vets who contacted us. 

Holly in a cap!

We immediately said yes and Holly joined us and stayed with us for the 3 weeks it took to do all the vet checks we complete on all dogs and to find her a perfect home. That home was “down south” and they had had an epileptic dog in the past and she joined her new Bernese brothers.

We offered the new owners help with medical costs but to quote them “you don’t have big dogs without expecting big vet bills “.

Holly then had a full life until earlier this year when she passed away 7 years after being adopted.

Follow Saving Yorkshire’s Rescue Dogs:

Website: Saving Yorkshire’s Dogs (
Facebook: SYD – Saving Yorkshire’s Dogs | Facebook

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Margaret Green Animal Rescue: Tilly’s Story

Margaret Green Animal Rescue is an animal rescue charity that has three centres, two based in Dorset and one in Devon. They take in pets that become homeless due to a change in circumstances, or that have been mistreated, neglected or abandoned.

As well as veterinary care, the rescue animals are prepared and rehabilitated ready for a new home. Finding forever homes is at the very heart of what they do and they believe there is no better feeling than finding the perfect match.
Margaret Green Animal Rescue recently welcomed Tilly into their care, who was an eight-year-old Bichon Frise.

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Tilly, the Bichon Frise

She was brought into their Lincoln Farm Centre in Dorset, when her elderly owner was sadly unable to keep her. She saw their vet the day after coming into the centre, as the team were concerned about her health. She was showing signs of incontinence and had urine stains on her back legs, which suggested that she’d had a urine problem for a while.

Her examination highlighted that she had stones in her bladder, which was causing her discomfort and the probable cause of her incontinence. This resulted in Tilly having a bladder scan and the vet was shocked to see what he estimated to be in excess of 100 stones inside her bladder!

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Stones removed from Tilly’s bladder!

Tilly underwent a very long operation to have the stones removed and she had to be hospitalised overnight so she could be monitored. The staff wish this had been the end to Tilly’s ordeal, but her examination also showed that her teeth were in very bad condition and she would need a major dental.

During the dental, Tilly sadly had to have every tooth removed as they were all so rotten that none of them could be saved. Even though she would initially have experienced a very sore mouth, she will be a lot more comfortable now that she has healed.

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Tilly’s teeth!

Tilly returned to the Lincoln Farm Centre to recover from her operation and dental, which cost a total of over £2,000. However, this was worth every penny as it meant Tilly could start to feel comfortable and begin her road to recovery. Tilly is such a brave little girl and the team are all so proud of her courage.

They are delighted to say that she recovered really well and has now found a loving Forever Home, where she will be able to live a happy and pain-free life! Margaret Green Animal Rescue are incredibly grateful for all the support that everyone showed Tilly and the generous donations that their supporters put towards her operations.

To find out more information about Margaret Green Animal Rescue and to support animals in need like Tilly, please
visit their website at:

Keep up to date with the rescue animals: Margaret Green Animal Rescue | Facebook

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Wagging Tails Family: A Dog Sanctuary & Safe Haven

Wagging Tails is a rescue centre that saves dogs and cats from untold trauma and euthanization since 1995! Their animals are adopted by people living in the UK and this is their story! Get in touch with them today and see what they do here!

Wagging Tails: Facebook link

Pet owners who have ever adopted a dog know this: giving a second chance to a living creature is a truly
beautiful thing! Many people choose to adopt a dog through a shelter or rescue animal organisation.
This is why this interview is dedicated to the Wagging Tails Family and their amazing rescue stories from

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wagging tails

Imagine living in this world hungry and cold, with nowhere to warm up. But, then your life turns around and someone comes to pick you up. Suddenly, everything is new. Where are they taking you? You come to a place with lots of other dogs, lots of food and many warm cuddles.

Oh, it’s ok. This is the Wagging Tails Shelter every stray dog talks about…The story began 15 years ago in a little country with no animal law protection and neglected animals on every corner. This family decided to turn this around and provide chances for a new life with many happy wagging tails.

So, today we welcome you into their little family of wagging tails and wet noses! Wagging Tails Family (WG Family) was established in order to combat the neglect and abuse of animals, in order to help the stray dogs and cats who had no one else to care for them.

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rescue dog wagging tails uk

Their vision is a world where animals no longer face suffering. Their mission is to build awareness and rescue and rehabilitate homeless and abandoned animals in a no-kill environment until each is adopted into a caring, loving home; and to act as a sanctuary for those dogs who are never adopted.

The mission was based upon dedication to the no-kill mission and commitment to rescue, rehabilitate, and
rehome abandoned, abused, and surrendered stray animals. Their work with stray animals consists of spaying and neutering to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens from being born into short lives of suffering, along with rescue, vaccination, medical treatment, sheltering, and adoption.

Their final goal is to improve the welfare of stray animals, resulting in better lives for both the animal and
human communities, to create a society without homeless animals, and to ultimately end animal cruelty. In 2020 alone, they have successfully adopted more than 90 dogs into their forever homes in the UK!

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Buck, now adopted and living in the UK!

Among their first dogs adopted in the UK is Buck. Buck is a black labrador, that was left in the middle of the winter near a frozen lake, with just his passport and a blanket. When we found him his condition was more than serious, he only had the force to look at us with tired eyes, as if he was giving up. But, we didn’t!

Buck is now having the time of his life in his beautiful home and is given a second chance to live a life free
from suffering and abandonment.


They also have momma Laika here, who was found left in a rural area with her newborn puppies. The puppies
were all underweight and neglected. Momma Laika and her babies were welcomed into Wagging Tails with open arms, and after lots of love, care, affection and regular treatments they gained weight and made a full recovery.

This family is actively working towards raising awareness for animals with disabilities as well, so here are few
stories that showcase the perks of adopting animals with disabilities.

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dog with a disability uk

Lana was found in the winter of 2020, a day before New Year’s. “ Someone left Lana on the side of the road and when she tried running after them, a car hit her. She was screaming and laying down unable to move, but no one came to help her. The driver did not stop, nor did the ones who left her.”

We came immediately to the spot and when we saw those eyes of hope we could not understand how someone can be so cruel and heartless. Took her in our arms and we headed immediately towards the closest veterinary station. That’s where they told us that she won’t be able to walk ever again.

We did not want to leave her and promised to take care of her until she completely recovers and afterwards, we will find a nice loving home. 6 months later, she is running freely in her wheelchair. Lana is perky, cuddly, sassy, she loves to run and her favourite activity is to be outside in the sun.

In our eyes, Lana is a strong girl and we don’t pity her disability. ” Says one of the volunteers in the shelter. With Lana’s sweet nature, spunky attitude, and underbite smile, we hope Lana’s story will raise positive awareness for all disabled dogs.

Another member of the Wagging Tails Family!

We hope that Lana’s story and photos will continue to spread and more people will open their hearts to dogs with special needs. Animals with special needs are no different. “ Our bond got to be so strong, and we are better people because of the patience we learned with them.

There are a lot of learning opportunities there in caring for a special needs pet. Disabled dogs have a difficult time finding a forever home and are usually the first ones to be listed to euthanize at the shelter.

The idea of a “special needs pet” can encompass many different conditions, but cats and dogs who require additional care can still experience full, happy lives. All you need is a little patience and a lot of love. “ say one of the volunteers at the shelter.

wagging tails rescue puppies
Rescue puppies!

Denny is a cat that loves to explore the world around him. He can spend hours checking out rooms in the
apartment where he lives with his adopters. He loves playing with toys, other cats and friends. There is one
thing, though, that sets Denny apart from other kittens: He is blind, due to a neurological condition.

But that doesn’t stop him from finding joy daily and sharing it with everyone he meets. “Denny showed me that a blind cat has no idea they are blind. They are just cats”, His owner says. “They snuggle and cuddle together, and they fight with each other and they chase toys and balls and go crazy over catnip.

The perception that a blind cat just sits and does nothing is so wrong.” As it turns out, Denny is quite the athlete. He begins the day with some sprints up and down the hallway. Then he spends the rest of the day climbing the furniture and playing with toys. He squeezes in a run before dinner time and then plays a little more.

The Wagging Tails Team began adopting more cats as they realized that cats are likely to be euthanized if
injured or sick, and eventually, they created a sanctuary to provide a permanent home for more cats who were
seen as unadoptable. WG’s nonprofit sanctuary currently cares for more than 80 cats.

While running the rescue, the WG Team works to educate people about the importance of spaying and
neutering outdoor cats and maintaining veterinary care to prevent more cats from going blind. According to the
Health Centers, the most frequently diagnosed feline eye disorder, conjunctivitis, can be cured if treated

In addition to preventative work, the WG Team teaches people that blind cats—or those diagnosed with leukaemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus—can still have a good quality of life. Once they come here, they get forever! Everybody deserves forever somewhere, and once these cats have come to us, they have exhausted all other options.

wagging tails rescue dog

The WG Team says. “With some of the cats, it’s like, ‘You’ve used a lot of your nine lives to get to me.’ This was the case with Denny, and he finally seems to be enjoying his new life. Adopting an animal from abroad is a very rewarding and heartwarming experience.

The adopters should know that they have changed the world for homeless animals and provided them with a new life of love and companionship. And, we are forever grateful to our adopters and supporters, to our heroes! Our little family is constantly growing and we could not be happier.

Everyone is welcomed into the Wagging Tails Family, because for us, knowing that we have brought happiness into someone’s life means everything. We believe that we should all try to make this world a little bit better, in our unique way and having respect for all living beings is the best way to do that!

Gallery of Our Rehomed Dogs in the UK!

Find rescue dogs looking for their forever home in the UK by clicking here!

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Mia before her adoption
Mia in recovery
Mia with her friends
Mia now in her forever home

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Happy Shelter Skopje: Finding Rescue Dogs Homes in the UK

Happy Shelter is a non-profit animal shelter based in North Macedonia that relies solely on the donations of the amazing general public. These fantastic people find rescue dogs their forever homes in the UK. This is their story! Check them out on their Facebook and website.

In just under a year we have successfully adopted 80 dogs into their forever homes with 76 of those beautiful fur babies being in the UK. The shelter is just shy of a year old as it was opened on 15th October 2020. 

As it stands we currently have 23 amazing dogs at the shelter still looking for their forever homes. We hope to find each and every one of them the absolute best home possible so they can live the lives they so truly deserve. 

Our mission is to never turn away a dog in need of help and care and to find them all the most loving and amazing homes no matter how long that takes! But for this, we need the help and support of others so we can continue to build and grow. 

cropped dog ears

One of our biggest boys here, Cliff, has quite the story. On 28th April 2021, Cliff physically climbed the fence to make his way into our shelter! He must have known he would be safe with us. He was covered head to paw in mange and his ears had been brutally cut off.

But despite all he had been through he still has the most amazing and loving nature! He acts just like any 11-month-old puppy would do! He’s extremely playful and loves attention.

After lots of love, care, affection and of course treatment Cliff has made a full recovery! Although his ears will of course never grow back we still think he’s very handsome! He’s looking for his forever home now and we cannot wait to tell him when we find it! 

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Kona at our shelter a few days after his rescue
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Kona now

Kona here is a very handsome 10 month old Eastern European village dog x Sarplaninac (according to his embark test done by his family). He was rescued when he was just 6 weeks old after being found by a local man in the mountains with just one other puppy.

Of course we welcomed him with open arms at our shelter and he was very quickly adopted, although due to his age it would be a little while until he could make his journey to his new home.

He suffered with kennel cough during his time with us as unfortunately the kennel cough vaccine is unavailable here in North Macedonia. So every day for two weeks he was given antibiotics morning and night.

With the right care he was able to fully recover and receive his rabies shot, meaning in 3 weeks he could travel! He made his journey home to his family back in April where he now lives a wonderful life full of love.

His family have said ‘Kona has been with us now for 5 wonderful months and we couldn’t imagine our life without him. He’s the craziest, silliest, most loving boy and we are so grateful to HS for giving us the chance to have him home’ 

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Frankie at our shelter
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Frankie now

Frankie here is a beautiful little girl, believed to be a terrier mix of sorts. She was rescued along with her mum and siblings, then known as the spuntiks, when she was just 2 weeks old. They had been dumped in the middle of nowhere with the smallest bowl of water!

Lucky for her and her family they were found by one of our volunteers and immediately brought to the shelter. Mum Lajka, Frankie and all her siblings have since been adopted and are all living their absolute best lives in the UK with Frankie travelling all the way to the North of Scotland.

Frankie is now just over 7 months old and has been living with her new family for 3 months. It’s safe to say she is very happy with her new life! 

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Maggie (left) with her blood sister Mila (right) both adopted in the UK
Maggie now (left) with her new dog brother Murphy (right)

Maggie has had it tough that’s for sure. She is currently 11 months old and was adopted back in May. At the end of May she travelled to what was supposed to be her forever family. But after just 10 days they gave up on her.

She wasn’t even given the chance. It’s unfortunate that sometimes bad adopters can slip through the cracks when they say all the right things. Maggie was taken into emergency foster by one of our UK volunteers/adopters where she stayed for 2 months until the perfect home was found for her.

During her foster stay she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and cherry eye. We of course told her foster to go ahead with any treatments necessary for her. Thanks to her wonderful foster home Maggie was able to thrive even with her medical issues.

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Mila when she was rescued
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Mila now

She became the best of friends with resident dog Mila who is also a Happy Shelter dog that didn’t have the easiest of starts either. She was found on the streets of Drmeni as a young pup with a huge scar across her side. She’s been living with her family now for 6 months and has just celebrated her 1st birthday in style!

Maggie really learned what it was like to be loved. After surgery on her eye and medication for her hips she was ready again to look for her forever home and boy did we find it! She now lives an extremely wonderful life with her new mum and dog brother Murphy.

Unfortunately after a second eye surgery her eye has once again prolapsed and she will now need a final surgery for removal but she doesn’t let this stop her. She knows her limits but is just as playful, loving and affectionate as any 11 month old puppy. 

Happy shelter skopje
From left to right: Leeny, Louie and Tori all looking for their forever homes

You can follow us and our dogs on either of our Facebook pages, Instagram or our website where you can see all of our fur babies looking for homes and you can also see all the wonderful dogs in their homes 🥰 

We cannot thank our wonderful adopters enough for giving these beautiful babies the absolute best lives and to our supporters for continuing to support us even when times are tough. 

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Staffie & Stray Rescue

Staffie and Stray Rescue is a registered charity here in the UK. These special people help dogs who are harder to rehome and would likely be put down! Check out the fantastic work they do on their website. You can also keep up to date through their Facebook page.

Below are a couple of their most memorable stories!

Biggest Rescue Mission on Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day 2021, Staffie and Stray Rescue carried out their largest rescue mission to date, rescuing seven dogs all from the same property.  

stray rescue uk
stray rescue UK

The majority of these dogs have never been outside, never been on a lead, never interacted with other dogs except the pack that they were in and haven’t known more than a few humans before the rescue jumped in to help on Valentine’s Day. 

Taking in the dogs required two transport vehicles from a volunteer team, who gave their time in an incredible 6 hour round trip (+ additional hours to get themselves home!) to bring these dogs to safety. 

This was a very traumatic day for all involved, but once the dogs arrived they were under the safe care of Staffie and Stray Rescue, who pride themselves on dedicating their lives to the health and wellbeing of their dogs, particularly specialising in dealing with more challenging and complex cases. 

staffie before rehoming
staffie rescue uk
staffie and stray rescue

They were quite distressed at first but spent a lot of time socialising with people and learning that they are safe. The dogs resided in emergency boarding kennels and were given time to decompress and adjust to their new settings before assessments and rehabilitation begun prior to rehoming.  

We are pleased to say that all seven dogs have found their forever homes and are living the happy lives they deserve! 

rehomed staffie
Pictures after rehoming
staffie rehomed

Winston’s Story

Here is Winston’s story, who arrived at Staffie and Stray Rescue over Easter weekend in 2020.  Winston has quite clearly been through the wars. He was found as a stray and subsequently taken to the pound.

Upon arrival it was discovered that he was not microchipped (so he had no name), he was covered in sores, riddled with worms and terribly emaciated. One of the worst cases the team at Staffie and Stray had seen in their 7 years of rescuing dogs. 

winston staffie and stray rescue
A picture of Winston’s body

By law, dogs must be in the pound for 7 days in case anyone claims the dogs. If a dog is microchipped, attempts are made to reunite dogs with owners. In the case of Winston, he had clearly been abused and it is no surprise that there wasn’t anyone looking for him when he got to the pound.

This poor boy was terribly ill when he arrived, if he hadn’t got to the pound sooner, it is unlikely that he would have survived. It is so fortunate that whilst the majority of us are working from home or furloughed, it can be an opportunity for people to nurse dogs like Winston back to health. 

winston staffie and stray rescue
Winston before his adoption

The rescues gave Winston his name and are so grateful for financial aid from their supporters to enable Winston to be transported to Bournemouth. The moment he stepped out of the car was the beginning of his new life, where he can be loved, comfortable and protected by the wings of Staffie and Stray Rescue and his loving foster home.  

The rescue would like the public to read Winston’s story as food for thought, as they are seeing increasing numbers of bulldog breeds into rescue. These dogs are often purchased for around £2000 for a puppy, it is believed that Winston had been used for breeding and then discarded. 

Recently, the introduction of Lucy’s Law was enforced by the government (6th April) stating that anyone wishing to purchase a puppy or kitten must do so by going direct to a breeder or a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders must show puppies interacting with their mothers.

winston bulldog staffie and stray rescue
Winston in his foster home before his adoption

If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they can now face fines or be sent to prison for up to six months. The law is named after Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was lucky enough to be rescued from a puppy farm where she was subjected to terrible conditions.

Puppy farms work with third-party sellers or ‘dealers’ to distribute often sick, traumatised, unsocialised puppies which have been taken away from their mother at just a few weeks old. 

Whilst there is still a long way to go with the issue of over breeding, it’s a big step in the right direction. Staffie and Stray will only ever advocate adopting a rescue, it is such a rewarding experience. Particularly when we are reminded by poor Winston. 

His plight is shared by an unimaginable number of dogs used and discarded by backyard breeders. Just a few months later, Winston’s foster home decided to adopt him, which is the best news ever! 

winston staffie and stray rescue
A happy & healthy Winston a few months after his adoption
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The First Caucasian Ovcharka Rescue in the UK

Below is the story of how the UK’s only Caucasian Shepherd Rescue service began. Mark and his dedicated team have already done some fantastic work! Here, he explains a little more about the breed and what he does!

We started the Caucasian Ovcharka rescue Uk to help people with the breed here in the UK. Too many of these animals are ending up in shelters or being destroyed through vets/authorities not understanding this majestic animal.

If you need us find us @caucasianovcharkarescueuk on Facebook


caucasian shepherd garden

You can do all the research for this breed but you can’t beat real-life experience and talking to
owners of the Caucasian. Over the last ten years, I have seen a lot from this breed and have seen the good and bad that they can do.

The popularity of this breed is increasing at an alarming rate in the UK and backyard breeding
and cross-breeding is becoming a serious problem. Puppies are sold without papers and not being registered so the full amount in the UK is unknown.

Unfortunately, this has seen a massive increase in dogs being dumped on the roadside
and into shelters. Police have even shot abandoned Caucasians for no reason other than it was barking due to being scared, cold and wet.

After losing my boy Zeus Easter Sunday 2021, we were broken, even though our three Caucasian girls kept us going, we needed something to help us deal with the grief we were going through.

A post appeared on our Facebook feed of a dog requiring rescue as he was due to be PTS
through no fault of his own. His owner was moving into a one-bedroom flat and couldn’t take
him. In our eyes, this couldn’t happen.

caucasian ovcharka

The owners expressed he was good with everything except men. We couldn’t believe how much
he looked like our boy and contacted them. They brought him immediately to us to see him.

On his arrival, he was aggressive to absolutely everything, after doing a full assessment of him
we agreed he had a pure fear aggression drive to being only kept around three people for the last six months.

We asked them to keep him for a few weeks whilst we found a place for him as we were not
ready to take a dog with this aggression into our household. They said they couldn’t.

From this point, we were on a clock as he was being destroyed three days later and they refused to hold him. We contacted our friend Graham Macgregor and discussed our idea of the rescue and Graham quickly got on board and we started the Caucasian Ovcharka Rescue UK.

Having had these dogs for over ten years we wanted to give back to helping the breed with our
experience and knowledge. Looking into the background of Zeus, we found that he was related to our boy and this galvanized us to get this project up and running.

Since starting the Rescue we have already taken in four Caucasians in five weeks. Two males
with aggressive behaviour and two gorgeous females with slight puppy problems which were
quickly and easily got under control.

Zeus has been integrated into Grahams Caucasian pack and has settled into life brilliantly. He
now shows no aggressive behaviour towards people, dogs or livestock. He is loving life and
looking well.

Also, Seth has been rehomed to a family on a farm after we dealt with his aggressive behaviour at the rescue. We also help owners who can’t cope with behaviour issues or just life changes which mean the dog is at home alone through either advice, training or re-homing.

caucasian shepherd seth
Seth the Caucasian Shepherd

We have two sites in the UK able to take in dogs, we are currently building more kennels in our
Burnley site and two in the midlands. We hope to educate the UK market with real-life experiences and knowledge that will help future owners.

We want to stop this breed from being euthanized from vets that don’t understand the breed and their traits. This breed isn’t for everyone but in the right hands and with the right training, it can become a great guardian and companion for life.

A typical male should stand anywhere from 25 1/2 to 30 + inches at the withers and should
weigh 100 + pounds. Females are a bit smaller, 80 + pounds and a minimum of 24 1/2 inches.


All colours except solid black and solid brown, black ticking and combinations of black and
brown. Most commonly seen are various shades of grey. Other colours described are rust, straw, yellow, white, brindle, earth, spotted and piebald.


The Caucasian Shepherd dog was developed to guard flocks and thus is naturally protective. Though their appearance may be fierce, in general, they should be a calm and steady dog with even temperament.

They should be well behaved with and accepting of all family members, but naturally wary of strangers. Although more eager to please than many flock guardians, they still can be quite independent and stubborn when compared to more easily trained breeds such as the German Shepherd dog or Golden Retriever.

It is important to “socialize” the Caucasian at an early age to properly adapt to different people and situations. If you are planning to use your Caucasian for flock guardian work, it is important to start exposing them to the livestock as early as possible. With proper socialization and training, you should have few problems.


caucasian shepherd children
caucasian shepherd child

Yes. most Caucasians are good with children they know and would never hurt them purposely. However, it is imperative to establish the proper pecking order from the beginning, making the Caucasian understand that it cannot push the children around.

It is also essential to realize that they are large dogs and sometimes forget their size. This can result in a child accidentally being knocked down or stepped on. As with any pet, it is important that young children be supervised by an adult when playing with your Caucasian.

Also, as a dog bred to protect their flocks, Caucasians will substitute the family for its flock and may try to keep strangers or other threats away from the children. Older children with an active social life need to realize that although their friends may like dogs, it may not be appropriate for the dog to interact with every visitor.


caucasian shepherd other dogs
caucasian shepherds

Most Caucasians are able to live with other dogs, cats and of course livestock. If you have other
pets, it would be best to get a puppy so everyone learns to get along. Females are more likely to be able to live together; two male dogs who have not been neutered can rarely be
expected to live peaceably. Issues arise between them due to dominance.


Well, that depends on what you mean. If you have a pristine house with many precious and
breakable items, you may need to think twice. If you have a good vacuum cleaner, have moved
the crystal out of the way and are ready and eager for an adventure, then yes, the Caucasian can be a great house dog.

Any dog can be trained to behave in a house and the Caucasian is no exception. Puppies need to be housebroken and taught what is permissible behaviour and what is not. All puppies and young adults chew and crate training can be of great benefit to you and your dog.

In this regard, I do not like this, however. Talk with your breeder, trainer or experienced dog owners about the value of using a crate. Caucasians respond very well to steady and consistent training (Repetitive).

black and tan caucasian shepherd

Caucasians are not really that different from most other dogs, except that you can never forget
that they are a large dog and the problems or challenges may be correspondingly bigger. For
instance, you may find the crate for your dog is bigger than the kitchen table!

You may also want to buy stock in the company that makes rolling hair removers for clothes and furniture. Although large in size and requiring regular exercise, CO’S make excellent house or apartment dogs as they generally do a lot of lying around. Their activity level is quite low compared with many smaller breeds.


As with most livestock guarding breeds, the CO is generally a phlegmatic, low activity level dog.
Originally they were bred to lay around with the sheep all day and keep predators at bay. As
most predators are nocturnal, you may find your CO much more active at night.

If you are planning on keeping your dog outside, you must realize they are alarm barkers and will give warning to anything encroaching their territory. Do not be fooled by their habit of lying around, appearing to be dozing. The slightest disturbance will rouse them and most CO’S are surprisingly quick and agile.


Although they lose hair all the time in small quantities, most CO’S “blow coat” at least once a
year. When this happens large tufts of hair are everywhere! Get out the rakes and combs and go to work.

With proper grooming, the mess can be minimized and save that fur! Clothing knit from
CO fur is said to bring good luck and longevity to the wearer.

caucasian ovcharka dog


Well, they do shed and like the mud. Pound for pound, they are no messier than most other dogs but since they are big dogs, any mess is correspondingly bigger.


For their size they are an easy keeper. While a growing puppy or a pregnant or lactating bitch
might consume as much as 8-10 cups a day, an unstressed adult dog will likely consume much
less. You should feed your CO a high-quality food that provides necessary nutrition.

Check with your breeder to see what they recommend. Some breeders supplement the diet with cooked meat, yoghurt, goats’ milk, etc. Young pups need to be fed 2-3 times a day, while adults 1-2 times a day.


caucasian shepherd dog breed

CO’s do well in all kinds of climatic conditions. They absolutely love cold weather and snow.
Under normal conditions a good solid dog house with plenty of bedding is sufficient. They
tolerate heat equally well with sufficient shade and water. Do not cut the hair due to high temperatures as the coat also keeps the heat out.


No. This is a personal option. Ear cropping is traditional (as a flock guardian, dogs are at an
advantage (if the prey has no ears to bite at) but not required even for show dogs.

Although a cropped ear is preferred, many European countries have banned cropping for humane reasons. The cropped ear does change the expression, however, and some feel it makes the look of the dog.


caucasian shepherd cropped ears

As soon as your pup is old enough, training is highly recommended (contact a local obedience or breed club to find one), followed by a basic obedience class. Caucasians respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and will enjoy short, fun, creative training sessions.

Obedience training also helps to establish the bond between you as pack leader and your dog as a respected member of the pack. Beyond the obvious benefits of having a well-trained dog, many people enjoy working with their dogs in obedience competitions.

With a Caucasian, it is particularly important to remember that obedience training is not for 1
hour a week for 8 sessions, it’s forever.


Caucasians, like any large breed, can be afflicted with hip dysplasia. Adult dogs should be x-rayed for signs of the disease. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, (OFA) issues numbers to
dogs with acceptable hips.

When buying a puppy, always try to find a breeder that is using x-rayed stock. Ask to see OFA
certificates or letters from a certified Veterinarian. Reputable breeders will guarantee their pups
against hip dysplasia and other severe genetic defects.


CO’S are not a dog for everyone. Why not? They demand time, attention, frequent training and
handling. They are strong, willful and cannot be expected to like everyone. Without proper
training, they can be very aggressive to both people and dogs.

They do bark a lot and have a lot of hair. They require firm, steady and consistent training. A CO needs to learn manners well enough to be trusted to react as you would want and expect in all situations.

If you know you are totally confident in your ability to handle a large, dominant dog even in threatening situations and are able to supply the necessary time, energy, attention and money to raise and keep a dog for its full life, only then should you consider a Caucasian


As with many breeds, males are generally larger and can be more aggressive. Females may be a
bit easier in the house because of their smaller size. Also, females are usually less dominant and
can be easier with children.

The answer for you depends on personal preference, whether you’ve owned a Caucasian before, whether you have other male dogs in the house or whether you’ve had
experience with other flock guardians or large working breeds before. This should also be a point to discuss with your breeder.


Some people prefer to acquire an older dog that has already been housebroken, has some
training and is no longer chewing. Some people are in seventh heaven around a pup and don’t
mind the trials and tribulations of puppyhood. Some are even crazy enough to have more than
one puppy at a time!

zeus caucasian shepherd

In loving memory of Zeus 2011-2021

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Rico , the Kokoni Dog Rescuer!

Rico is a remarkable dog up for an award for simply being a Superdog! Vote for Rico, the Kokoni at the Superdog Awards here! This good boy definitely deserves it!

On Friday 26th March 2021, Clinical Animal Behaviourist Rachel Rodgers (age 31) was attending some professional development training with Conservation K9 consultancy at Erddig National Trust, in Wrexham with her dog Rico (6-year-old rescued Kokoni X from Portugal).

Photo shows Rachel Rodgers CAB with her dogs Maisy and Rico (the rescuer!)

The course was going well, then during one of Rico’s trials to find some missing
scent (truffle oil) all of the course attendees could hear the panicked cries of

Rushing out into the car park at the Felin Puleston Outdoor centre the course attendees found a local family, The Jones. Their recently rescued Tibetan Terrier, Henry, had run off on his walk around Erddig 3 hours earlier.

More family members had turned up to join the search, but poor, shy Henry was nowhere to be found. The family had already contacted Missing Dogs Team Wales (see poster above) and
Henry’s photo and information was all over social media and local networking groups.

Unfortunately, with Henry being rescued during lockdown the family hadn’t
managed to get his microchip details updated, which was adding to their distress. If
he was found, would anyone know he belonged to them?

Rachel who works as a professional dog trainer, and clinical animal behaviourist has
for the last 18 months been training her pet dog Rico in the fun dog activity of pet
trailing with Becky Smith, at Pet Trailer U.K.

This giant game of hide and seek teaches dogs to search for missing pets using their nose. However due to Covid-19 restrictions, the pair had not done any fun scent trails for months, and they have certainly never helped in the case of a genuinely missing dog before.

Rachel was watching the situation in front of her unfold, wondering if having never
done a search for a real missing dog before, and with 6-year-old Kokoni X, Rico
being tired from 2 days of training, could they help at all?! Was it worth trying?

Deciding that she couldn’t possibly just stay quiet and not help, the next hurdle to
overcome was finding a scent article of missing dog Henry. A scent article is what
the trailing dog, in this case, Rico, uses to establish who or what they are trying to

With limited options available, Rachel picked Rico up and popped him in the
boot of the family’s car. The car doesn’t just smell of Henry though, it smells of the
whole family and their other dog, a beautiful Golden Retriever.

To try and reduce this problem, Rachel then let Rico sniff each of the 3 family members at the scene where Henry last was sighted, and their other dog so that Rico could eliminate them from his search.

Off the pair went – on the search for Henry, accompanied by one of his family
members to approach Henry if he was spotted, as he is nervous and would likely flee
if approached by a stranger.

Rachel tells us more:
“Pretty early on Rico indicated across a river twice but I couldn’t get across. It was
too deep and the other side of the riverbank was rocks enclosed in the metal mesh
which I could never scale.”

“So we had to go the long way round, we went back over a bridge and then Rico re-joined the trail at the point he had indicated to. He walked straight past a food bank where Rico literally ignored all the food, as he was focused on the task in hand.”

“He kept telling me to go through a broken-down, discarded lorry with the back down,
but I couldn’t get down there. Instead, I picked him up onto a 5ft wall. He walked
along the top to the end. Indicating again under a tunnel but there was no path, no
safe way for us to go.”

Rachel had to come up with another solution, so she took him off working and
walked round to the original search point. Again Rico had to rejoin the trail.

“This time he took us through some hellish undergrowth to the other side of where he
indicated before. Again, we couldn’t get through 6ft high green metal fencing. No
way under, over or round.”

Rico tried every route the group could find but sadly as the evening started to draw
in, Henry still wasn’t found. Rachel said “I was disappointed, but I also trust Rico implicitly and knew he was on to something. We just couldn’t find a point to re-join the trail.”

As there was nothing more the trailing duo could do, they headed home where
Rachel shared the story on her Instagram account (@NosetotrailUK) urging owners
to get a decent scent article for their pets by following @PettrailerUK’s step by step

You never know when your dog may go missing, and if Rico is going to help
your pet be found – he needs something to work from!

Hours later, the Jones family decided to go and have one more look for Henry.
Exactly where Rico had taken them, the family found their dog!

The owners contacted Rachel on her Facebook page @Nosetotrailpetservices
saying “Thank you so so so much for today!!! Please thank Rico for us!! We found
him exactly where Rico was taking us!!! He was spot on!!! xxxx”. Proud dog mum!

Quite right too don’t you think? Rico, originally a rescue dog himself who was due to be put to sleep in Portugal due to being without a home has saved the day. Getting shy Henry home and out of the horrible weather!

Since word of Rico’s amazing work finding Henry has spread, he has been
nominated for a Naturo Super Dog Award. The Awards highlight the incredible work done by dogs across the UK.

If you think Rico is a Super Dog then you can vote for him here;
Rico – Naturo SuperDog Awards
Don’t leave it too long to vote as this stage of the competition closes on the 30th of September 2021!