Meet The Team
Christine Sales – Foster Coordinator
I’m Christine, and together with Clive, I share my house with three gorgeous dogs, two Akitas, Kiri and Obi, and our Akita cross, Petal. I’ve been involved in the welfare of dogs for many years, my father was a dog trainer and so I was always surrounded with a huge variety of breeds. I got involved with Akita’s by accident, whilst looking for a Chocolate Labrador from rescue. There in a corner, looking so dejected was Kiri, on seeing us, she raised her head , connected with us and patiently waited for us to research the breed, and reach the realisation that she was the dog for us. On the day we collected her she let out one long howl, the first sound she had made in months, and that was it, we were hers and she was ours, for life. Her beauty, not just her appearance, but the beauty within her, led us to our second Akita, Obi. He was a puppy, taken into rescue with his litter mates, he’s our gentle giant, loved by all who meet him and feared by all the teddy bears who come his way! He adores them, and will try any means, fair or foul to get hold of one. Recently our little pack was completed with Petal, an Akita cross, who wraps us around her little paws.
Life with Akitas is not one to be taken lightly, they are unlike any other breed I have ever known. They can be stubborn and strong willed, but train them in the correct manner, with patience, firmness and love, without damaging their pride, and you will have their respect and love forever. There is no bond stronger than an Akita with their family.
The pleasure that being involved in rescue has given me is beyond words. The satisfaction of seeing an unwanted dog flourish is worth more than anything money can buy. I hope that by doing my little bit ,I can help in the educating of people to whom the breed is unknown , and make a few more converts to the complex breed that is the Akita.
Nicola Bell – Co Founding Trustee
My name is Nicola and I’m co founder of the Trust. I currently own 3 akitas and have always owned large breeds although for the last 8 years it’s safe to say Akitas have owned me
The charity was formed in 2007 after myself and a few friends noticed there was a distinct lack of provisions for those dogs ending up in council pounds with 7 days before destruction. At this point we did some research on the pound system and decided to set up a dedicated rescue to help – FOA was born!
During my time in rescue over a dozen akitas have come and gone from my home on a foster basis – it’s such a rewarding experience! Volunteering for a rescue charity is hard work and relentless at times but when I look at our rehoming pages and see the number of dogs our charity has assisted it makes it all worth while!
Rae Cooper – Fundraising & Promotions Coordinator
I first got involved with FOA about 5 years ago after falling in love with the breed and wanting to do more to help to dispel the myths surrounding akitas and to meet like minded people. I started off by carrying out the assessment of stray dogs in council contracted pounds, helping with transport runs to get dogs to safety and visiting the homes of potential adopters to assess their suitability for the breed.
Since then I have gone on to foster countless Akitas both long and short term until they were founds homes of their own. I am now the fundraising and promotions coordinator for the trust organising fun days, events and generally ensuring that we keep much needed funds coming in so we can secure the future of more dogs.
Nothing is more rewarding than being a volunteer for FOA and although very emotional at times I have shared some great experiences with everyone else who is involved.
Gemma Newsome – Trustee
I’m Gemma and I’ve been owned by Husky for over 8 years now, since he was 9 weeks old.
I got into Akitas by accident and didn’t know anything about them when I got Husky. I soon learned that I needed to know what I was doing from the general training to details about the breed so at 13 weeks old we started puppy training classes. It was the best thing I could of done to start my learning curve and Husky’s training.
When Husky was about 1 year old I started looking on the internet more and more about the breed and the plight of rescue Akitas. When Friends of Akitas was founded I was more than willing to extend my knowledge further and help all the Akitas I could in the process so I started assessing Akita’s (mainly in the pounds) and home checking for the rescue.
I have met a lot of different people and Akitas over the years and wouldn’t change it for the world.
Julie Marsden – Trustee
I’m Jules and I live in Derbyshire with my three fantastic dogs. Akisha is my Akita, she is now 13 years old and was adopted from Friends of Akitas in March 2008, after a brief stay with me in foster care I decided she would stay for good. Duke is my Chocolate Labrador, he is 12 years old and completely deaf, he joined the family as a companion for Akisha in September 2010. Last but not least Elmo is my Lurcher and the baby of the pack at 4 years of age, he joined the family in October 2012.
I have been involved with Friends of Akitas since the beginning in 2007 after falling in love with the breed and it has been great to watch such a fantastic charity grow and go from strength to strength. It is a privilege to be involved in the day to day operations, helping the abandoned and unwanted Akitas facing destruction in the council pounds to the safety of rescue spaces, assisting people who sadly for whatever reason can no longer keep their Akita and of course helping this wonderful breed into new forever homes of their own.
Volunteering for Friends of Akitas comes with many emotions, it is enjoyable and fun but can also be distressing and frustrating, but working alongside such a great team of people who share the same common goal and knowing we are making a difference to the lives of so many Akitas is very rewarding.
Shirley Snape – Senior National Coordinator
I’m Shirley, married to Wayne with 4 children and live in Cheshire.
In August 2008 we adopted Dontay, our first Akita from FOA 11 months old and for what ever reason his owners could no longer keep, the following year in October Chico joined us again adopted from FOA. Chico was found tied up in some woods and left, he was taken to the pound to serve his 7 days where if he wasn’t claimed he would be euthanised, thankfully FOA stepped in to prevent that and took him into their care. I am so happy they did he is such a character with a fantastic temprement. Then we have Poppy our small crossbreed who is 9 years old and seems to rule the boys.
Since adopting Dontay and joining the forum I began to see all the Akitas in need and was shocked as to how such a special breed could end up in rescue and even worse some of the conditions they were in. I was amazed at all the hard work and dedication the volunteers of FOA put in to save Akitas from death row in the pounds to the safety of rescue.
From doing home checks, assessments, transport runs and fostering, it is so rewarding to know you have helped. So here I am, 5 years on since adopting Dontay and 3 years being a National Coordinator for The Friends of Akitas Trust and I am very proud to be part of the team.
Les Rollins – National Coordinator
I’m Les and I live in Birmingham. I have on Akita called Holly who I have had for 6 years now. I have been with the Friends of Akitas Trust since its start in 2007 and I am a National Coordinator which has some great moments especially when you see a dog after he’s been saved from a pound in a new home fully settled and enjoying life.
I totally love the breed as they are so funny and do things I have never seen from any other breeds, they go to sleep in positions that make them look like they are broken in half, they chatter in a strange way which we call talking. I really get frustrated when out walking with akitas when your stopped by people with the same question “is that a Japanese fighting dog?”, which I think a little knowledge can be dangerous.
Angela Price – Transport Coordinator
I’m Angela and I currently have an Akita crossbreed called Beauty, we live in the Outer Hebrides with my husband, 2 cats, three chickens and flock of sheep. We joined the Friends of Akitas forum to be able to chat with like-minded Akita owners and possibly adopt a sister for the Akita boy I had then named Frey. I’m now a the Transport Coordinator for the charity!
It’s good to chat and debate on forum, there is a serious side to FOA. That came home to me one Monday morning in November 2009. William, who was dumped by his owner in the most callous way and despite the best efforts of the team to help mend his broken heart, had passed away in his kennel. At that point I knew I had to help, but given my location, I couldn’t physically help out with home-checks, transporting, fostering or events, so I took up a sponsorship package.
In June 2010, the FOA team expanded and I was offered the role of Transport Coordinator. While it’s sometimes difficult, frustrating and, at times, upsetting, it also immensely rewarding and I’m proud to be a member of the team.
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