A grieving owner has started a meaningful project, preparing shoeboxes filled with donations for dogs at local shelters in honor of her beloved rescue dog, Smokey, who recently passed away.
Lauren Hagan, from Woolston, was left ‘completely blindsided’ after the ‘unexpected’ death of her Staffordshire bull terrier in July this year.
When Lauren originally rescued Smokey from a shelter in 2009, she was told he had been used as a “former bait dog” to train other breeds in dogfighting.
She said: ‘He had numerous scars and nerve damage which caused his leg to shake when he sat. He had also had his fur burnt on his left shoulder. He was afraid of other dogs, who rode in cars and had never been on a walk before. It took him five years just to go for a little ride.
“It took him a little while to settle in, but when he did he became bold, bossy and extremely affectionate. He loved nothing more than cuddles, especially with my dad and they had a very special bond – he trusted my father implicitly.
Along with becoming a loving and reliable pet, Smokey also helped out Lauren’s mother who has hearing issues when he could.
“He seemed to know that my mum couldn’t hear without her hearing aids, so if he thought she couldn’t hear when the phone was ringing or if there was someone at the door, he would go get her” , Lauren said.
Lauren and her family have built an unparalleled bond with Smokey, despite his unhappy start to life.
And while she’s still trying to come to terms with the loss, the 32-year-old decided she wanted to do something positive to raise awareness and help save local dogs.
So she set up “The Smokey Project” with the goal of getting people to donate toys, food, treats or whatever rescue dogs in shelters might need during the winter. that she will then deliver a collection box to him with all the donations. chosen shelter of ‘Cheshire and Manchester Dogs’ Home’.
Lauren said: “We hope to deliver all donations to the dog’s home by December 17th as an early Christmas gift to the dogs at the shelter.”
And the legal secretary hopes to make the project an annual event, choosing a different shelter each year to donate items.
Explaining her other goal of the project, Lauren said she actively wants to encourage people to save Staffy, as they are a “tarnished” breed by the media, who are rarely singled out for rescue from shelters.
“I also hope I can help change the perception of ‘Staffys’ too. People tend to tarnish the breed with the same brush, but it’s often down to nurture rather than nature.
“The way Smokey came to us and what he had been through, he could easily have been a really mean dog, but he wasn’t.
“Not all of them are vicious dogs; most of the time, that’s how they were treated.
Lauren has created an Amazon wishlist that she offers to people interested in helping out, buying something that will then be delivered directly to her.
To learn more about how to get involved, visit the Smokey Project’s Instagram page @smokeyproject09 or visit the ‘Manchester Mayhem Para Ice Hockey Club’ Facebook page which promotes the project.