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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

The Tale of Isis and Capsule – Continued (and Concluded)

Yesterday there was a surprising but very happy conclusion to the tale of Isis and Capsule. They, of course were the dogs who were found by my friend tied up along the Aude here in Carcassonne while she was visiting last month and taken to the ScPA. In the first part of their story, I stated that the chances of them being reclaimed was very small, but I was wrong.

Yesterday their owner came to collect his dogs and all became clear.

Capsule out on a walk during her ScPA mini-break 

What had happened was that the owner had felt unwell and had tied his dogs up to keep them safe while he went to the nearby café for help. At this point he collapsed and was unable to tell the Pompiers that his two dogs were waiting for him.

Usually in such cases the Pompiers will inform the Police Municipal, who will bring the dogs to the nearest refuge. But this did not happen in the case of Isis and Capsule. And so when the owner was sufficiently recovered, he had to find out where his dogs are. I should have mentioned that he is not from the area, hence much of the confusion.

Yesterday he came to the refuge, and watching the reunion between him and his dogs made it clear that they are very much loved. In fact when he arrived Capsule, the rottweiler, was at the vet having some tests (she is fine, just old lady stuff, as it turns out), and her owner was really pleased to see how well his dogs had been looked after while they were at the ScPA. They, for their part, jumped all over the place with joy.

Isis – a family was visiting her on Saturday with a view to an adoption

He has had both dogs since they were puppies and they are inseparable, although being separated would have doubtless been the case had they not been reclaimed The younger dog, Isis, would probably have been the first to leave first, and the elderly rottweiler spending potentially many months waiting, not only due to her age, but also due to that pesky permitting process.

So how could this situation have been avoided? Well, it is a tricky one. If you are single, who will know that something has happened to you? Of course you could carry a “My dog is home alone card”, which would be fine for the majority of situations. Medical emergency staff would look in a wallet for identification and would find it. However there is no such thing as a ” I have left my dogs tied to the railings” card. However at least medical staff would be aware that you have animals and could contact the police if required.

man with two dogs

Reunited (and it feels so good)

It is something worth thinking about, if you risk ever being in such a situation.

So that was yesterday, and on the same day Tom, one of DRC’s hidden gems found a new family, so I was a very happy girl indeed last night.

Cards like this can be ordered online and could be very useful in some situations.

A Hidden Gem – Prune

Today we give you the second in our series of hidden gems. As we said last week, the goal of these blogs is to draw some attention to dogs who risk not being noticed by visitors. This might be due to their colouring or their behaviour in their kennel. And sometimes it is just because we at DRC love this particular dog and want him or her to find a home in double quick time.

Prune has been at the refuge since the end of October. I was there the day she arrived; brought in by someone who had found her tied up in his village and who had kept her for a couple of weeks before bringing her to the refuge. During those two weeks he had not taken her to the vet to see if she was identified, and when it emerged that she was microchipped, there was hope that her owner would come to collect her, but alas not.

Prune looking a bit nervous on the day of her arrival


So although we do not know anything of Prune’s background, thanks to her microchip we know her real date of birth (15th July 2017), and her breed, or at least the breed her owner registered her as being (a labrador/braque cross). Prune is magnificent to look at. Mostly jet black but with a speckled grey bib, she is fairly tall and has a very regal look to her.

Prune already has good basic education; she will sit, she will lie, she gives her paw. She plays fetch and will bring you her favourite toy to initiate a game. She is very playful and hugely affectionate. Prune is fine with other dogs and is often mixed with several others for playtime in the parks. When I was passing by earlier this week I stopped to say hello to her and she pushed herself up against the bars so I could pat her properly.

Prune is very affectionate

This is the sort of dog, the sort of behaviour, that keeps a dog in your mind and gives you sleepless nights when the weather is bad. Prune has no business at all being in a refuge. She is an eminently adoptable dog.

Prune loves her walks and although she is often at the far end of her lead, she does not pull. A quick call of her name (and it is her real name)) and she is back at your feet.

Prune loves her walks

Prune would make a great companion for just about anyone looking for a dog of medium to large size. I would say that Prune weighs about 30 kg or so, the perfect weight for her build. Yes, being a braque she will have a bit of the hunting instinct, but that is tempered by the labrador part of her, which keeps her close to whomever she is walking with.

Please share for our hidden gem, the lovely Prune. You can contact us here at DRC or the SCPA direct. Or if you are unable to adopt her yourself, please share.

black dog

Sunday ScPA Sum-Up

It has been another great week for adoptions, with ten dogs leaving the refuge.

Amongst them we had the adoption of two long termers, Kaline and Baida.  Between them they had a total of over seven years behind bars, and and we hope that both these girls settle in well in their new homes.

Kaline – ADOPTED


Other girls who left the refuge this week were lovely but timid Cherry, and the fabulous Gisele, spaniel Nessy, and beagle Nefertiti (I do love a beagle!), all of whose time at the refuge was mercifully short. Cherry had spent longest there, at just over 2 months, but in that time her confidence came on enormously and this of course helped her to find a new family.

Cherry – ADOPTED

Giselle – ADOPTED

spaniel cross



Nefertiti – ADOPTED

Another leaver was Elvira, and this was particularly good news, because she had been adopted once before and it was a very bad adoption. The owner finally allowed Elvira to come back to the refuge and she was thin and in very poor overall condition. It is horrible to think that a dog who was once in the ScPA’s care was let down in this way, but this adoption is a change in Elvira’s fortunes and it should be all good from now on.

Thursday was a day of national strike action, and it was great to see that workers used their time well, by going to a refuge en famille and offering a new life to an animal in need. I usually find strikes very frustrating, but this one brought joy to two dogs, in any case! Recent arrivals Simba and Pax were both adopted that day!



The other leaver was little Sherlock, who attracted lots of attention during his brief time at the refuge. We wish him and the week’s other leavers lots of love and happiness.

teckel cross

Sherlock – ADOPTED

There have been several new arrivals, of course, including 7 puppies.  Three of them are already reserved, but if you are unable to adopt, perhaps you would like to make life for the dogs at the refuge more comfortable. If so please have a look at last night’s fundraising appeal to pay for heat lamps and associated charges. The response so far has been fabulous so many thank to everyone who has already donated,  and thanks in advance to everyone who is planning on doing so.

Tom has now been adopted

This is the first of what will be many longer pieces about dogs in whom DRC has a particular interest. For which read “A particular love”. On many occasions we have described a dog as a “hidden gem”, and our goal is to tell you more about these dogs and hopefully find them new homes quicker than would be the case otherwise.

This is Tom

Today we would like to introduce you to Tom. Unusually for a refuge dog, we know exactly what breed he is. This is because some great supporters of DRC adopted his sister, Théa (now renamed Betsy) a month or so ago, and they did a DNA test. Tom is 75% labrador and 25% mastiff. And this is a fabulous mix!

From the back he looks pure labrador, although one from working line, ie lower to the ground a stockier than their cousins from the beauty line. His head is squarer than a lab’s would be, and this is where the mastiff shows. He is all black apart from a bright white bib area and the tips of his toes, plus one bright white “sock”. He is simply stunning.

He is a stunning lad who was born in February 2019

Tom was born in February 2019, and so he was just out of puppy-hood when he arrived at the refuge at the start of October. But wherever he was before that, there was no mistreatment involved. Tom is a very sociable lad, with great body language. He likes children and although he can be a bit brusque when meeting other dogs, if introductions are done properly he mixes fine. He shares his kennel at the refuge. He seems intrigued by cats, as opposed to being aggressive, but further tests will be needed if he is to be awarded “cat-friendly status”.

He is wonderful on the lead, I took him out today on a long line but he chose to stay close to me. When I stopped and called his name he came to my side, leaning against my legs. Now who doesn’t like a dog that leans? Tom loves a cuddle, loves to have his belly rubbed and his back scratched. He is still quite puppy-like and has lots to learn, but he sits down when you ask him too and although he does jump up a bit, it is never aggressively.

Not the best photo in the world, but look at that beautiful smile!

We at DRC are in close touch with Tom’s sister’s new family, and we know that Betsy has been perfect from day one. She was house-trained and has fitted into their lives as if she has always been there. They are delighted with her and, like us, they adore Tom and want him to find a new home soon.

If you are looking for a young dog who already has some basic training, please consider offering a home to Tom. DRC would be happy to meet you at the refuge and help with any introductions, or if you would like any more information first, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Like all the dogs at the refuge, Tom is fully vaccinated, identified by microchip and castrated. He weighs about 20 kg (yes, he is not as big as you might expect) His adoption fee is €170. He really is a hidden gem; let’s get him adopted soon!

Look at his long sock!

The tale of Capsule and Isis.

In Sunday’s blog I mentioned that a friend who was staying with me found a couple of dogs tied up and apparently abandoned. I know that many of you have had this experience, so I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a bit about it.

Whilst walking into town, Debs saw two frantic dogs tied to a railing along a well-frequented cycle path outside a café. She phoned me to ask what to do. On the basis that the dogs might have been left while the owner had a coffee (unlikely but possible), I told her to leave them for a while and see if they were still there on her return. So she untangled their leads and went on her way.

When the dogs were still there 2 hours later, it was clear that something was wrong. The usual thing to do here is either to inform the police municipal, or to take the dogs to a vet to see if they are identified. At this point a vet will either contact the dogs’ owner or failing that, will inform the local pound (fourrière) to come and collect the dogs.

The vet was shut and I did not want the dogs to be left any longer than necessary for the police municipal to arrive, so I contacted the refuge directly and brought the dogs in.



It turns out that both dogs are identified by microchip, and Debs and I went home, hoping that the dogs’s owner would be contactable and would collect his dogs. Of course at this point the refuge staff would have mentioned the inadvisability of leaving dogs tied up etc.

However attempts to contact the owners failed. The dogs have the same owner, but are registered to two different addresses, both in departments far from Carcassonne. There are four mobile phone numbers on the central database; Two numbers are no longer in use, and the other two are hung up as soon as the ScPA says who is calling. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the dogs have been deliberately abandoned, and so both are looking for new homes.

Of the two, Capsule will find it harder to find a new family. Not only is she 10 years old, but she is a rottweiler, a breed that requires special permits and insurance in France. Isis is black, which is not good in terms of adoptions,, but she is younger, at three years old. However now they are at the refuge both will be well  looked after, get regular walks and vet treatment, and sooner or later both will find new homes. Unfortunately t is very unlikely that they will be rehomed together, and as they are inseparable at the moment, this is perhaps the saddest aspect of the story.

black lab


We hope that this blog has given you some insight as to the process that follows finding a dog. There is a very good article here, and we know that circumstances vary enormously, so we at DRC are always available to give advice.

In the meantime, let’s all wish Isis and Capsule the very best of luck and we will keep you informed as to their progress.


Sunday ScPA Sum-Up!

Despite the recent changes at DRC, Moira and I are both still active at the ScPA. So we thought it would be nice to bring you up to date with what has been going on at the refuge, and most specifically the adoptions!

This week eight dogs have left for new homes, and we are delighted for each and every one of them.


Five of them were boys, Ben, Irish, Fudge, Tintin and Bobo and the girls were Jessy, Sofi and DRC urgent appeal, Mabrouka.

Ben – third time lucky





Ben was a former DRC urgent appeal; a wonderful lad who has been adopted and brought back twice for rather odd reasons. Sometimes a dog just has bad luck. Tintin, for example, was brought in for rehoming having been bought at a local pet shop by a gentleman who quickly realised that 92 was too old for a puppy. It seems almost unbelievable that a pet shop would even consider letting a dog leave in such circumstances. However when the sole motivator is profit, anything can happen.

Tintin – ADOPTED

Bobo – ADOPTED (after arriving badly injured)

Jessy was a hunt dog who refused to hunt and this sensible decision on her part means she now has a proper family home, rather than living in a kennel for the rest of her life. And as for Sofi, well, I was the one who brought her to the refuge after finding her on my morning walk. The ScPA had already rehomed her once, but she has serious separation anxiety, so was brought back to the refuge.

Jessy – refused to hunt and now ADOPTED

Sofi – ADOPTED (again)

I am very pleased she has a home. If you are the one who brought a dog in, you have a stake in their welfare, somehow. So imagine my chagrin when a friend who was visiting last week found two dogs tied up alongside the Aude in Carcassonne. She left them alone for a while (perhaps their owner had just popped into a shop), but when the dogs were still there 2 hours later, alarm bells rang.


What to do in such instances is something DRC is contacted about on a regular basis and will be the subject of a future blog.

Mabrouka ADOPTED at nine years old

But tonight we are full of smiles for the week’s lucky leavers.



Time for a Change

Tonight will be the last blog from me for a while, as I am off to the UK tomorrow for a few days. Moira is already there and will be away for several more weeks.  So now seems like a good time to let you know that as of now the blog is changing , and we hope you agree it is for the better!

Since the “retirement” of our long suffering translator, Helene, the blog has been less accessible to the French community. Many people use Google translate, but the information on the blog can be gleaned quite easily from just seeing which dogs’ photos have been added to the album of adoptees. So whereas the blog will be visible here, on the DRC website, and on the DRC Facebook page as usual, it will not longer be duplicated on the ScPA Facebook page.

You might also notice less refuge news, and more information of general interest. And as we will not be waiting for news from the refuge, the blog will not be tied to a particular time of day either, which will be quite liberating for both Moira and me.

Moira and I regard this as a very positive move both for DRC and for the ScPA. Times have changed and the refuge has less need of DRC now than when we first started to help them some 10 years ago. Euthanasia is now a thing of the past, and many of the things for which DRC worked at the beginning, such as castration /sterilisation of all animals, are accepted as standard. There are far more volunteers and things seem to be rolling along well. There is no reason to think that this will change in the future.

Plus DRC has its own distinct identity, which is something we would be stupid to ignore.

So less refuge news, more Home to Homes, and more DRC and Anglophone related news. In brief a much more streamlined approach all round, always with the well being of dogs as our number one priority.

We hope you continue to support us in this and are as excited about the changes as we are.

Adoptions of Kyra and Milo

Two dogs were adopted today, and they have something very important in common. Both Kyra and Milo were brought in by their owners for rehoming.

This means that the ScPA already has plenty of information about the dogs, their likes, their dislikes and their actual age (rather than a vet’s estimate). It also means that the ScPA does not have to keep the dogs in the pound for 10 days whilst looking for the owners. The dogs can move to the refuge proper immediately (which usually means canine company and walks!) plus the dogs can be adopted without delay. And in fact both of today’s leavers found new homes before spending 10 days at the refuge! QED.

First off was Kyra. She is a very sweet English bull terrier who arrived less than a week ago with a great CV; good with dogs, cats and children! She caught the eye of the family who had adopted Price earlier this year, and everyone was delighted when the two dogs hit it off well. We get regular news of Price who is clearly a very happy boy, but who will be even happier to have a fabulous friend to play with.

English bull terrier


Next the ScPA said farewell to Milo, a classic looking border collie. He caused quite a stir when his photos were put on line; he is a stunning boy with many typically border collie traits, most significantly his quickness to learn and attachment to his owner. Border collies are very intelligent animals and often find refuge life very difficult, so we are pleased that Milo has found a new home so quickly.

black and white border collie


So that was Sunday and brings to end another week, one which had plenty of adoptions. Let’s see what next week has to offer.

Adoption of Kitana and Loupiotte

There were two more adoptions today, meaning that it has been one of the best in terms of numbers leaving for some time. Long may it continue!

First off today was Kitana. She arrived in September with dogue Argentin Gino, and is although initially we thought they would be at the ScPA temporarily, the green light was given to find them new homes. This is great news for them, and it is even better that Kitana’s time at the refuge has been a relatively short one. Let’s hope that Gino’s turn comes soon, too.

black and white dog

Kitana – ADOPTED

Next up was little Loupiotte. She is a very small terrier cross. In fact she looks like she could be long haired jack russell, except so far she doesn’t seem to have the “feisty” gene. It is not surprising that a dog like this; small, fluffy young and female, should find a home quickly, and indeed Loupiotte has been at the refuge for just two weeks.

small white JRT

Loupiotte – ADOPTED

So we say goodbye to two more lucky dogs and as ever, hope for yet more good news this weekend.

Adoption of Oscar

Oscar’s time at the refuge has been typical in some ways and very atypical in others. He was seen straying in a terrible state and brought to the refuge thanks to the perseverance of a volunteer (in this his story is exactly identical to that of Melba, and several other dogs, mostly but not exclusively, hunting types). He was terrified on his arrival and the employees and volunteers did wonders in bringing him on.

He was adopted and brought back about three weeks later due to a “change in circumstance”. Grrr. And as he was absolutely terrified to be put back in a kennel, it would have been far better for him had the first adoption not taken place at all. This was in late September and it looked like Oscar could be in for a long wait.

However his luck changed when a woman came to visit him a couple of days ago and offered him a new home. She is not from the area, but had seen Oscar on line and paid him a visit while she had other business close by. Rather than her drive back, it was agreed that the ScPA (in the form of Carole) would take Oscar to his new home. As was the case with Arthos and Indian, this enabled a pre-adoption check to take place at the same time, which is very reassuring.

This afternoon the refuge has already received pictures of Oscar on the sofa, so it looks like he has got the hang of things pretty quickly. Anyone who might think that hunt dogs are made to live outdoors, think again!

griffon cross


There have been lots of adoptions this week, but the good mood at the refuge has been tempered by the news that Canelle, the young malinois who was adopted on Monday, was killed on the railway line just 48 hours after leaving for a new home. Her new owner is very upset, as of course are the staff and volunteers. These things happen, as we know all too well. It is so tragic that Canelle’s wonderful new life was cut short.

We are hoping that good news tomorrow will raise morale again a bit.