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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Save the Date for the second DRC Dog Show with a Difference!

Today we have a date for your diaries. The second almost annual DRC Dog Show is now in preparation.

We hope to see as many of you as possible at the event, which is taking place on Sunday April 26th at the Club Canin Trèbes. Gill and Kai’s beautiful garden in Caunes Minervois has changed hands, but we are very lucky to have been offered use of the fabulous facilities in Trèbes, which are tailor-made for dogs and for event such as this!

Click the link above to take you to the Club’s website and see what they have on offer!

And this year we have even more fun things planned for you and your dogs.

There will be food and drink, bric-a-brac, taster sessions for various dog activities, including truffle-hunting and flyball, as well as all the fun of our dog competitions. Whose dog will win the coveted “looks most like a celebrity” prize this year, I wonder!

We are very excited to be offering a pop-up photo studio with the amazing Marketa. She is known to many of us, and is both an award winning photographer and dog-lover; a perfect combination for our event.

Many of you will have seen her work (National Geographic no less!), and some of you may know that I have recently taken my pack to her studio to have their photos taken. The results are incredible. This same studio will be set up at Trèbes, regardless of weather (there are plenty of indoor spaces) and you too can have a picture of your dog looking his or her best.

Most of you know Caillou, which is why I have put his photo here, but believe me, Marketa’s photos of Bella and Nero are just as stunning.

beautiful dog with pointy ears.

Marketa’s stunning picture of Caillou

Our friends from Cancer Support France will be joining us too, we are very happy to say.

We will give more details as the date approaches, but the most important thing for now is to keep the date free. This is one event you really won’t want to miss and we hope to see you all there!

One of the agility parks at the Club Canin in Trèbes

Sunday ScPA Summary

Another good week at the ScPA, with nine dogs leaving for new homes, plus of course the four who left for Belgium. In fact one of them, beautiful Melba, has already found a new home. This is what we mean when we talk about giving a second chance dogs who have waited a long time in Carcassonne. Melba was in Carcassonne for a relatively short 3 and a half months, but the fact that she was adopted 2 days after arriving at Animal Trust speaks volumes. And there is more good news on the way from Belgium but that can wait till next week.

On to the ScPA adoptions.

First up was husky Texas. This is his fourth adoption, so we hope this time he really has found his forever home. His lasted owner kept him for 18 months, and we thought that was it, so fingers really crossed this time. Luckily handsome as he is, he was snapped up. Spare a thought for the less attractive dogs who are brought back, they are seldom as lucky. Last week’s adoptee, Flavio, was brought back 24 hours later, and he is still waiting, as of course is lovely Banksie along with many, many others.


The ScPA also said goodbye to Moby (now renamed Monty and being proudly shown off on the Languedog Facebook page) and Luna, a lively little parsons terrier who proved in her last home that with the best will in the world, she is NOT able to live with other animals.



Nala, a young malinois cross  found a new home. She was brought in for rehoming last week as her family no longer had time to care for her. As did tiny pups George and Charlotte, both of whom had been found in a local village.


Charlotte (now renamed Solsi) – ADOPTED

George – ADOPTED

One of DRC’s favourite new arrivals, Bree, was also homed, as was yellow labrador Gloria; two fabulous and gentle girls, neither of whom had to wait very long to find happiness again.

Gloria – ADOPTED


Perhaps the adoption of the week is that of Buffy, aka Mamie Zin-Zin, a yellow lab who was brought to the refuge due to her owner’s going to long term care. Buffy is atypical of her breed; she is good with neither dogs nor cats! Moreover she appears to have had some kind of cerebral incident, meaning she has difficulty walking.

That has not stopped her finding a new home, and today she left as an adopted dog, not a long term foster! There are some wonderful people out there. We wish Buffy every happiness and long long life in her new home.

yellow lab

Buffy (aka Mamie Zin-Zin) – ADOPTED

So we end the weekend on a high and look forward to more good news next week, along with the return of Moira who is back from her Scottish sojourn and is eager to meet all the new dogs.

Four more dogs leave for Belgium

It is now four weeks since the last lucky four dogs left for pastures new at Animal Trust in Belgium, and since then two of them have been adopted. The rest are clearly loving their new surroundings, with a fresh start, loads of walks and group playtime in the huge parks. They are about to be joined by four more lucky dogs, who have set off on their journey to Belgium thanks to YOUR donations, you wonderful supporters of DRC.

In fact €300, almost half the transport fee, was donated by supporter Sharon’s book group, who meet throughout the year, each member donating €1 for each book they take from the shelf. It is amazing how this mounts up during the year, and the timing was perfect. So many thanks to all the avid readers in the Aude.

Several of you have asked how we select the dogs to go to Animal Trust. No, it is not just a question of choosing our favourites! Yes, we love them all, and that is why it is important to have selection criteria. Sometimes we pick a dog who risks falling back into the wrong hands (as was the case for last month’s leaver, Finou, and now for lucky Melba). Melba was found in a poor state and brought to the ScPA by supporter Karen, who has been to visit and walk her many times since. Melba’s owner has not come to collect her; but this could have happened and getting her to safety was important.

Melba – her hunt days are over

The second (and main) category of dog that we send is dogs who have been at the refuge for a long time and are constantly overlooked by potential adopters. Three of today’s four leavers fall into that category.

Vegas has been adopted on two occasions, but the last time was well over two years ago. This lad is now 7 years ago, and it is high time he had a change of scene.

big griffon cross

Vegas – time for a change

Likewise Jax, who was brought in for rehoming when he was under two years old. That was a whole 18 months ago.  A beautiful and well-behaved dog like this should have been adopted quickly. Perhaps it is his size that has put people off, as his only fault is that he doesn’t like cats, and not everyone in France has a cat!

big black and dark brown dog

Jax – perfect apart from his size!

And last up we have Noisette. She has been at the ScPA since September 2018, when she was brought in with her puppy Pirouette (Impala). Impala has been adopted twice since (once badly, once well), but no one has shown any interest in Noisette, who is now six years old. Time for a change of scene for her, too.

Noisette –

Of course we discuss the potential leavers with Eline, at Animal Trust, as she too has her own pressures. There are plenty of dogs who need rehoming in Belgium, and the goal is not to flood the country with foreign dogs. But by taking breeds who are unusual in Belgium (the long-ears!) and dogs whose chances of adoption in France have been shown to be poor, Eline is able to justify taking a few dogs every so often. And we are massively grateful that she does!

Of course we will give news of “our” dogs as they are adopted. We know that people here are very attached to certain dogs (Karen would have loved to have adopted Melba, for instance, but could not due to that common problem of already having too many dogs). But we are all adults and we are all here for the good of the dogs, so we have to feel happy for them to have been offered this great opportunity at Animal Trust.

Sunday ScPA Summary

Another relatively quiet week for adoptions, but not for arrivals, sadly. In the first 12 days of the year 27 dogs have already arrived. Several of them have been reclaimed, but it does appear that there is something of a post-Christmas phase going on. Out with the old and in with the new, perhaps.

In any case, we are here to tell you about the week’s adoptions, of which there were five. Plus one very lucky old girl has gone to long term foster with friends of DRC. Old lady Tinka, a 14 year old golden lab has been lucky enough to go to live with Sally and her husband where she will be loved and cared for. Not that the same wouldn’t have been the case at the refuge, but far better for this gentle old lady to be in a loving home than in a kennel.

Tinka – long term foster

The first of the adoptions was that of Alpha, a lovely husky who had been at the ScPA for a surprisingly long time. Sometimes it is better to wait for the right home rather than let a dog leave with a high expectation that he will come back. So we hope that Alpha does not regret the time he spent at the refuge.


Elderly poodle Molly was adopted almost as soon as she arrived. It is sad when a dog arrives due to their owner’s being hospitalised, so it is wonderful that Molly found love again so soon.


Little Chihuahua Elsi was also rehomed. Yes, we do get tiny dogs, but you have to be either quick or lucky or both, and above all you have to be suitable. Always worth keeping your eye on the DRC Facebook page, which is being kept up to date with new arrivals, even if the website is not at present.


We also had the adoption of young female border collie Orphée. She was abandoned by a family who was not able to keep her. And sadly although Orphée had been well socialised with other dogs, cats and children, this was all the attention she had received in her former home. No training had been done, and we all know what bored border collies are like! Orphée is adorable but will need a bit of education before she can be described as a good canine citizen.

However her new family are up to the challenge, and less than a week after arriving, Orphée’s new life has begun.

Orphée – ADOPTED

Last of the week’s leavers was Flavio, a lovely long haired brindle coloured dog who took less than 2 months to find a home since being found as an unidentified stray in a nearby village.

brindle dog

Flavio – ADOPTED

So only five adoptions this week, but as long as they are good ones, that is just fine with us!

And there is news of the dogs who left for Belgium, too, as both Edge and Finou have been adopted. As ever, huge thanks to Eline and her team.

We have exciting news about everyone’s favourite “almost annual” event to come this week, by the way. Yes, it is the much anticipated return of the DRC Dog Show with a Difference!

A Hidden Gem – Banksie

I made no secret of my love for this dog when he was at the refuge last time, and I was delighted when he was adopted at the end of October. However he is now back, and so I thought I would feature him as a hidden gem, in the hope that he has more luck next time.

Banksie is a very handsome lad with a slightly whistful air about him

Banksie spent almost a year at the refuge before being adopted, which is a long time for a great little lad like this. He was found straying in a village where he had presumably been abandoned. So although we don’t know his real age or anything about his history, we got to know him quite well before his adoption. And although this adoption has failed, it does mean that we know far more about him now, and hopefully his next family will be better suited to him. And he to them, of course. A good adoption is a two-way street.

The family who brought him back are heartbroken. They adored him and bringing him back was not something they did lightly. They, like everyone at the ScPA, would love him to find a new home soon. They wrote copious notes on the rehoming form, and talk of the hours they spent cuddling him on the sofa and the joy he brought to their lives. However they have a toddler and another child on the way, and although Banksie is fine with older children, he is not a fan of little ones. He prefers to avoid their company, which was not possible with a toddler who wanted to play with him all the time.

Banksie loves his walks

Banksie is an extremely quick learner, and would like an active family who will take him out and keep him occupied.  The garden of his recent home was not adequately enclosed and Banksie had a habit of taking himself off on walks, much to the annoyance of the neighbours. So an enclosed garden is required, although this does not mean Banksie is a runner by nature; he was off the lead on walks and stuck close to his owners at all times.

Banksie can live happily with other dogs and his family describe him as being a very sociable dog. On his return to the refuge he went straight in to share with another male dog. He does not like cats. Obviously he is house-trained and his family inform us that in the house he was very calm and never destructive. He is quite small weighing about 18kg.

Banksie loves home comforts and adores the sofa, where he lay for hours being cuddled

Banksie loves to play and especially loves to chase tennis balls. He loves long walks and has good recall. According to the vet, Banskie was born in December 2012, making him just over 7. However he could be younger than this estimate, which was based on the state of his teeth and paws when he arrived. And as we know that he had been straying, this might not be the best indicator.

It is sad for a dog who is so close to being perfect to be back at the ScPA. And sadder still that his family really did love him. However he proved while he was with them that he is really is a wonderful dog and hopefully finding him a new home will not take as long as it did last time, now that so much more is known about him.

Please help Banksie find a new home either by sharing this post or by talking to friends and acquaintances about him. Or why not come to the refuge and meet him in person. He might just be the perfect companion for you!

Sunday ScPA Summary

Until this evening it looked as if it was going to be a bad week in terms of adoptions. This would have been understandable in many ways; tomorrow is back to school for kids, and for many others it is the first day of normal life after the long Christmas and New Year break.

We always say that better one good adoption than 100 bad ones, but as it turned out, today brought a flurry of activity, more than doubling the week’s total number of adoptions from three to seven!

The last two adoptees of the year left on the 31st, with both Vladimir and Mousqueton finding new homes. We have DRC volunteer Petra to thank for Vlad’s departure, as she brought her Dutch neighbours to the refuge to look for a new pal. And Mousqueton, the other day’s leaver has fallen on his three and a bit paws, too. He has an old hunt injury but his new Anglo-German family were not at all phased by his missing toes. So the refuge definitely ended the year on a high.

Vlad (now renamed Tibo) – ADOPTED

Mousqueton – ADOPTED

Things were quiet for a couple of days until the next adoption, which was that of long-eared lovely Abby. She had arrived very recently and proved to be very popular, with several people offering her a new home. The photo is quite deceptive, she is under knee height. An utterly charming young girl.


Then today there were four more leavers. Bobby was extremely timid when he was brought in for rehoming at the end of November. But he soon perked up and showed his true personality; full of joy and smiles. Even more so now that he has a new home. Likewise Sky, still a puppy, who was brought in as her family did not have the time needed to turn this lively girl into a good canine citizen. She attracted a lot of interest, with a key requirement being her new family’s commitment to doing some formal training before Sky becomes too much of a handful.



The adoption of the week is probably that of Hermés. His name has been mentioned recently as the last of the dogs who was left at the refuge gates early last year. The recently (and successfully) adopted DRC Hidden Gem, Kéops, was the second to last to leave. And finally it is Hermés turn.

This spaniel cross was the most timid of the “pack” and although he was adopted once before, he was brought back literally 24 hours later for (ah-hem) being too timid. Of all the problems dogs can have, this is one that his previous adopters could not have failed to notice. For some reason they seemed to think that one night in a home would cure him. Hermés’ new family have no such illusions. They have spent literally hours in the ScPA park with him, always sure they would take him home, but keen to wait until Hermés felt more relaxed around them in order to make his transition easier. Now that is what we like to see.

Spaniel cross smiling

Hermés – ADOPTED

The week’s last adoption was of Matt, and we at DRC are very happy about this because he is an old dog who arrived at the refuge following the death of his owner. Matt had known nothing but love all his life and seeing him in a cold kennel was really sad. However he is a wonderfully friendly lad and it didn’t take him long to find a new home, and we hope that the shock of losing his owner is soon put behind him as he starts his new life.


So a good start to what we hope will be an excellent year. More adoptions, fewer abandons and far more happy dogs!

Happy New Year from DRC

As you will guess, this is the last blog of the year from us here at Dog Rescue Carcassonne. We have had another good year and would like to thank everyone for supporting us during 2019, be it by donating, attending (or hosting) fundraisers, sharing our posts or by dog walking or adopting.

The dogs at the ScPA Carcassonne remain the key focus of our rehoming efforts and the statistics from there are particularly shocking this year. As of the end of the year, a total of 698 dogs have come through their gates. That is almost 2 dogs every single day. This is more than has been the case for many years and it is hard to find anything positive to say about this figure.

However the fact that the number of dogs present at the refuge is still under one hundred is very positive. As of  course is the fact that this is achieved without a single dog being euthanised. This is a very different picture from when Moira and I started volunteering at the ScPA many years ago.  So things have improved in that respect at least.

As mentioned in a previous blog, DRC as an association plans to branch out a bit in 2020. We plan to help out more dogs via our home-to-home feature, and are open to helping dogs in need from other associations if requested.  It is planned to give the website a new look sometime in the new year, and other changes are afoot.

We remain very much present and active and are excited about the year to come.

We would like to wish you all and your families (including dogs) a wonderful 2020 and let’s hope that lots more dogs are happily homed in the coming year.

Sunday SCPA Summary

It has been a quieter week in terms of adoptions, which is understandable bearing in mind it is Christmas and there is lots going on in the majority of people’s homes. It is generally understood that this is a bad time to introduce a new dog into the family, but of course there are some people for whom Christmas is the ideal time to adopt; they have time off work and owning a dog is a long-held dream, not just a fickle caprice.

Such was not the case for Gnoky who it turns out had been adopted to be given away as a Christmas present. And an unwanted one at that. He was brought back straight away, much to the ScPA’s disappointment and disgust. However he was rehomed very soon afterwards, and his brother, Osso, found a new home too. So his return was a short one, and we hope that the people who adopted him as a Christmas gift have learned something from this experience…..Especially as when they adopted Gnoky they wanted to adopt his brother too. Talk about poor judgement as far as gift-giving is concerned!

We never stop saying it, but (all together now)….A dog is for life, not just for Christmas!

Gnoki was given as a Christmas present and brought back on Boxing day, but was ADOPTED again two days later

His brother Ossa was ADOPTED too

Other leavers this week were lovely young border collie Pooky (who had been brought in for rehoming),  and pretty little brindle girl Dolly. Neither of these two had been at the refuge for long and it was great that they found new homes so quickly.



Two long-ish termers were homed, as well. First up was Pegase, a handsome Breton spaniel who arrived way back in July with his sister Muse. As is usually the case, the female left quicker, but Pegase’s long wait is over at last. And just as wonderfully, Sand found a home. He was just a year old when he arrived in August and this can be a difficult age to find a new home. He was, to paraphrase Brittany Spears, “Not a puppy, not yet a dog”. Yes, that in-between age can be tricky. Besides which, in superficial terms Sand looks similar to many other dogs at the refuge, and people kept passing him by. In fact he was due to be the next DRC Hidden Gem, as there was no reason that he should not find a home. And QED, cos this week he left for a wonderful new home!

Breton spaniel

Pegase – ADOPTED

pale coloured shepherd cross


And then today, the last day of the week, there was what was for many the adoption of the week. Noctis had been brought in for rehoming in early August by his family who did not have the time to look after  him. He was only 8 months old at the time, so it looks like getting a puppy was the wrong decision for them, but at least they admitted it relatively quickly and gave Noctis the chance of a new life.

When this young lad arrived at the refuge it was clear that he had seen nothing in his life thus far. He was scared of his own shadow. It has taken a lot of work by staff and volunteers to get him to the stage where he can walk on a lead and enjoy playing in the parks. Okay, Noctis is still afraid of lots of things, but his fears are now manageable and he will make far quicker progress away from the refuge.

shepherd cross

Noctis – ADOPTED

We wish him and the week’s other leavers lots of love and happiness in their new homes.

A Hidden Gem – Mirabelle


We thought it was about time to present you with the next DRC Hidden Gem; the lovely Mirabelle.

I know for a fact that Mirabelle is a hidden gem, because even when people come to the refuge and specifically ask for a young, medium to large female, everyone always forgets about Mirabelle. And I include myself here, too. I have no idea why this is; yes, she is in one of the lower kennels which are less visible to visitors, but that is no excuse. Mirabelle is a fabulous dog and should really have been adopted before now, so let’s hope this “spotlight on” article gives her the boost she needs to find the home she so deserves.

Mirabelle is a very smiley dog

In fact Mirabelle did have a home until the middle of September when her owners moved house and decided not to take her with them. This is something that seems inconceivable to many of us, but as we are not in the family’s shoes, we are probably not best placed to judge. I like to think that it was a tough decision for them, because it has certainly not been easy for Mirabelle.

When your DRC friends first met her, this poor girl was cowering in the back of her kennel. She was sharing with another dog, but definitely did not feel like meeting new people, or even showing her face to the world. Moira and Jane persevered and finally coaxed Mirabelle out for a walk, and once she was out of the refuge, her behaviour changed completely. The shock of being in a noisy refuge with lots of other unhappy animals (as well as lots of happy ones, of course) had had a very bad effect on her.

Mirabelle on her first walk with volunteer Jane

Since this time, Mirabelle has settled in well and is now happy to go on walks without too much coaxing. In fact she is currently helping to “bring on” a very timid dog and is often seen in the park when there is group playtime. She really is a lovely girl.

Mirabelle was born in August 2016. According to her documents she is a malinois cross, but I am not sure about that; she just looks like a lovely mix of various shepherd-types to me. She is medium to large size and very gentle, not at all pully on the lead and already with good basic training.

She will be devoted to her family

We are sure that whoever adopts Mirabelle will be delighted with her. She would be fine as an only dog or would fit in well with a new pack.

Please help us find a wonderful home for Mirabelle. Please share if you see this post on Facebook, share it to pages for dog lovers, share it far and wide. All it takes is that one family to see the post and Mirabelle’s life could begin again.

Mirabelle is alert and active, is fine with other dog and already has good basic training, including being perfect on the lead

Another SUPER Sunday ScPA Summary

Despite not having a litter of adorable pups to home this week (luckily), it was another bumper one for adoptions. As well as the four dogs who are now settling in happily to life at Animal Trust, the ScPA said goodbye to a further 12 dogs. And several of them are thanks directly to DRC and our ever-growing network.

Kéops’s story was shared on Wednesday as a hidden gem, and as was the case with the two previous hidden gems, he now has a new home. Unlike hidden gem Prune, who also found a home this week, Kéops has a number of behavioural issues, most specifically acute separation anxiety. So it was important that the person adopting him was well aware of the work that adopting him would entail. But on Friday Kéops found what looks to be the perfect home with a very experienced owner and three other dogs and who will give him the love and stability he needs.

DRC “Hidden Gem” Kéops – ADOPTED

Prune was just about as perfect as a dog can be, but that doesn’t mean she should be adopted with less caution than any other dog, and we were delighted when she left with a fabulous family who have been looking for a new dog via DRC for a while.

black dog

DRC ” Hidden Gem” Prune – ADOPTED

The third dog was actually thanks to the lovely ladies who set up LangueDog, where anglophones can discuss all things canine. A gentleman asked for advice on how to adopt in the area, and so many people wrote of their positive experiences with the ScPA and DRC, that he decided to bring his family to meet Lana, one of the many dogs who has just been unlucky up to now. Her luck has well and truly changed; she has an enclosed garden and will have plenty of walks; no time to get bored and head off into the wide blue yonder. Many thanks to Henny and Yvonne for setting up LangueDog, this one is down to you!

Lana – ADOPTED thanks to LangueDog

Other lucky leavers this week were gorgeous spaniels Nugget, and Gypsy, whose daughter Volga left last week. Wonderful that she didn’t have too long to wait before finding happiness. She just has to learn to leave the family hens alone and all will be well.

Nugget – ADOPTED


Other adopters this week were little terrier, Ouille, bichon cross Vernon (who has gone to live with ex ScPA dog Zara), elderly lady Albertine plus two dogs who had been brought in for rehoming as opposed to having been found as strays; sharpei Tiger, and huge labrador cross Gnocky

Ouille – ADOPTED

Vernon – ADOPTED

Albertine – ADOPTED


Gnocky – ADOPTED

Another puppy (a lone one this time), Mamba, was adopted, as was Fido, who has waited for this moment for a long time; 16 months, in fact!

Puppy Mamba with her new much bigger pal – ADOPTED


Lazare has gone to long term foster again, and has got a new lease of life thanks to the family’s other dog, with whom he is playing non-stop.

German shepherd cross

Lazare – Long term foster found

That is two super weeks in a row; it really does seem as if Christmas has brought a little bit of magic to the refuge!