A DEDICATED volunteer whose unique charity saves condemned dogs from death row has written a book to help explain why the work has become his life’s passion.
Stephen Wylie has spent almost seven years providing sanctuary and care for larger dogs, such as German Shepherds, rottweilers and cross-breeds, languishing in pounds and shelters.
They face an early death because they have bitten or attacked people, are too nervous or have significant behaviour or health problems, making them uncontrollable or unattractive for most potential owners.
Stephen, 39, launched his charity Safe Homes and Kindness (SHAK) to rescue such animals – and he and his team of volunteer helpers currently care for about 50 dogs at kennels on a farm near Alnwick, Northumberland.
Now he has used his years of experience of dealing with abused, mistreated and neglected canines to write and publish his first book, It’s A Dog’s Life.
Each copy of the 122-page book which is sold will result in a £2 donation to SHAK, and help support its rescue work.
Told from the perspective of an abandoned rottweiler which finds itself in a pound, the book aims to give an insight into the frightening world of a stray dog which has been cut off from everything it has known and loved.
Yesterday Stephen, who lives near Whittingham, said: “SHAK has taken over my life since I set it up and the book is based on the many experiences I have had of rescuing and handling various dogs. I suppose it is really about why there needs to be a charity like SHAK.
“I initially intended it as a short story for our website, in an attempt to explain things from an abandoned dog’s point of view, but it took off from there and became longer and longer.
“It is told from the point of view of a rottweiler abandoned in a park by its owner and picked up and taken to a pound. But I also introduced other stereotypical examples of dogs I have handled, such as the abandoned greyhound and the Staffie pushed out of its home because of the birth of a child.
“I have had 1,000 copies published so far and the book is available from the SHAK website and at our fundraising events. I hope to get another publisher interested and get it on sale in bookshops eventually.”
SHAK, which started up in 2006, takes dogs from all over the country, gives them care to address their behaviour problems and provides them with a home for life at its kennels, named The Rescue Place.
Stephen, who decided to dedicate himself to helping dogs after losing his German Shepherd Shak to cancer, sold his share of a mobile phone business and switched to working with abandoned animals before setting up the charity.
It’s A Dog’s Life costs £6.99 and is available at www.shak.org.uk.