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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

An Easter excursion and adoption of Skip

Welcome to the first blog of the week. Yes, the SPA was shut yesterday, but as usual some volunteers took some time off from eating pancakes and chocolate and devoted their afternoon to walking some of the refuge dogs at a local lake. They had a wonderful time, by all accounts, so chances are there will be more such excursions in the future. Many thanks to Sebastien and the rest of the team.

Three dogs enjoying an Easter excursion

Now, onto today. As you know we always love it when a dog is adopted by a volunteer. First of all it means we know that the family are real dog lovers, and secondly of course it means we will continue to have news. So we are delighted that little border collie pup Skip has been adopted by volunteer Sylvie. He arrived ten days ago, and due to the arrival of yet more puppies, we were worried that he would be left behind. Yes, the new pups are indeed stunning, but so is Skip! Many thanks to Sylvie. She is quite smitten, it must be said, and we can all see why. Skip is a fabulous lad and already a much loved member of the family. Skip has been renamed Spike after the “good vampire” in Buffy, by the way.

black and white border collie pup

Skip (now renamed Spike) – ADOPTED

Two other dogs were reclaimed; nine year old Tequila, who arrived on Thursday and who had a tear-jerking reunion with her loving owner today, and Gawa, who was just as delighted to be back home.

elderly shepherd



big beaceron cross


Now let’s see what the rest of the week brings us. We all hope that Bowling turns up safe and well. If only he had waited long enough to realise what a wonderful home he had found, this dog would have never left!

Adoptions of Onyx and Bowling

Today, amidst the wind and rain and brief sunny spells, we had two adoptions.

First to leave was American Staffordshire terrier Onyx. She arrived in mid-December, but this was not her first time at the SPA. She had spent some time with us last summer, but just as she was about to leave with a wonderful new family, her owner showed up to reclaim her. This time there was little chance of that happening, as inbetween times, Onyx had been given away to someone else. This new home clearly didn’t want to keep her, so although it has taken another relatively brief spell at the SPA, what was needed from the outset, ie a new home for Onyx, is finally here.

Onyx is a fabulous dog but as she is falls into the category of “dangerous dogs” (haha), some paperwork is needed. However her new family got all this sorted out in double quick  time, and today they came along to take Onyx to her new life. We wish loads of love and happiness to Onyx and her family, who have promised us news and photos.

brindle coloured staff


Today’s second leaver is Bowling. This terrier cross arrived some two weeks ago in a very sorry state. Not only did he have piraplosmosis, but he had been hit by a car. Unsurprisingly he was more than a bit nervous of people. However as we well know, the SPA is excellent with timid dogs. Treating them with love, kindness and respect, even very shy animals gradually realise that the bad times are over, and that they can trust us humans. Work with Bowling had hardly begun, however, when he caught the eye of a couple who had recently lost a beloved dog.

They came to the SPA on Thursday with a short list of dogs whom they wanted to say hello to. Although they did go to meet the dog who was second on the list, once they had met Bowling their minds were pretty much made up. Although this little boy is very scared and shy, he is clearly adorable, showing no aggression at all to people or to the new “house cat”, Abricot.

Yes, Bowling has a long way to go. He will need lots of love and patience, but in a new home he will be far more relaxed than he would be at the SPA, and progress should be quick. He is a very lucky boy indeed.

small rough haired terrier

Bowling – ADOPTED

The SPA will be open tomorrow, as as well as being Easter Sunday, it is also the first Sunday of the month. And so far the weather looks like it will be a bit kinder than it was today. Having said that our wonderful (and ever-growing) team of volunteers was out in force today, so a bit of rain will not change our plans.

Happy Easter everyone.

Adoption of Gustav

Towards the end of February we happily reported the adoption of Otto. As we told you, he was one of two dogs who were left alone in an appartment when their owner moved house. Needless to say both dogs were a bit hungry when they arrived, but apart from that were in good health. Anyway, today, some four weeks later, it was the turn of his dad, Gustav.

This handsome lab cross caught the eye of a family from the Netherlands who were looking for a dog to share their life. They wanted a dog who gets on with other dogs, and ideally wanted a dog who needed them. Naturally Gustav’s story touched their hearts. They took him for a walk, then had a think, returning the following day to officially reserve this lovely dog.

A week’s holiday was planned, so Gustav did not leave immediately, but employees and volunteers have been walking him and telling him that he didn’t have long to wait! We hope to have lots of news and photos of the newly renamed “Roux” as his new life begins.

pale lab cross

Gustav – ADOPTED

There is at least one other dogs who has his bags packed, so let’s wait and see who will be leaving us tomorrow!

Adoption of Tornade

Today little jagd terrier Tornade left for a new home. She hasn’t been with us for long, but of course it was not her first time at the SPA. She was adopted when she was just a puppy, then brought back when the family moved house and she was just two. The next time she spent just a couple of days at the SPA before being adopted again, but that did not work out either. However this failed adoption taught us a lot more about Tornade, which we hope has helped to make a better match this time.

Just because a dog is small and fluffy, it does not mean that it will behave like a small fluffy dog! Put  Tornade near a cat, and you will see a totally different side to her personality. And although she gets on fine with male dogs (and has been sharing her kennel fine at the SPA, she can be a bit jealous of other females. And anyone who has walked her at the SPA knows that she pulls like a train. Of course being small that is not much problem for most people, but if you are wanting to walk with a slack lead, there is work to be done!

But of course she has many many positive qualities, one of which is that she is adorable! Plus we do know that she loves children, and we do know that she needs a well enclosed garden. And her new family have young children and an enclosed garden, so that is a very good start.

Tonight Tormade will be no doubt having fun with the kids and running round in their garden as her new life begins. Be happy Tornade, and we look forward to news and photos.

jagd terrier

Tornade – ADOPTED

Two adoptions but 14 arrivals!

It is hard to feel particularly positive on a day which has brought 14 new dogs to the SPA (yes, you read that right!), but amongst it all we do have some good news in the form of two adoptions.

First to leave was little Brandi, who has been renamed Andy and left with a woman who had been looking for exactly this kind of dog for some time. Yes, sometimes it is well worth a bit of patience. Young, pretty pint-sized dogs do arrive. Needless to say Brandi left as soon as was possible after the end of her pound time. She was not identified, but must surely have had a loving home, so it remains a mystery as to why her owner did not come and collect her. Still, she now has a NEW loving home and we wish her lots of happiness.

yorkshire terrier

Brandi (renamed Andy) – ADOPTED

Today’s other lucky leaver was malinois puppy Lola. She too arrived ten days ago, and several families expressed an interest in adopting her. As ever the SPA has to select the family which seems best suited to the pup’s needs, and although some people will be disappointed, we hope you will give us the chance to find you your perfect match.

malinois pup


Voilà voilà. The week has to get better, so as we so often have to do on days like this, let’s look onwards and upwards.

A day of high emotion!

It was a great and very emotional end to the SPA week.

First off, today in the wee small hours Moira was at the SPA to send Jolie on her way to a new life in the UK. Jolie arrived at the SPA in November last year along with her pal Junior, who has long since been adopted. Jolie would have been too, had she not had a serious injury to her leg, which needed to be re-operated on. This required a long period of enforced reduced mobility, and if she is to make a full recovery probably a period of physiotherapy.

So when Jackie visited the SPA earlier this year and fell for Jolie, it was important that she was prepared for what lay ahead. The email we received was 100% reassuring. Everything, but everything  was planned for. Jolie is going to have physiotherapy and in due course will attend a hydrotherapy centre and eventually, when she is back to full strength, will accompany her new mum, who is a landscape gardener, to work.

Jolie is an incredibly lucky dog. Although she is only using three legs properly right now, pretty soon we will be able to say that she has truly fallen on all four paws.

pyrenean shepherd

Jolie- ADOPTED and on her way to the UK

Then this afternoon we had two dog adoptions. First up was Moon, one of  five dogs who arrived at the end of February and who was already a favourite with many staff and volunteers. A lovely young shepherd cross, Moon was exactly what today’s visitors were looking for. Their young German Shepherd wanted a friend to play with, and after a few minutes of sniffing and cautious intereaction, the two dogs began chasing each other round the park and all in all just showing just how compatible they were. So Moon left for her new home. Wonderful news for a really wonderful dog.

brindle shepherd


A third very lucky dog left today, but unlike Jolie, being on three paws will be a permanent state of affairs.

Touffu arrived in mid-January and although his owner came to see if he was with us, she never returned to reclaim him. Nor did she know how he lost his front left leg! Hmm. He is a great little lad, about the size of a yorkie and very very feisty. He insists on launching himself at full speed at any dog he passes…all except for Alfie (ex SPA dog, Marbrouk) who was adopted over 2 years ago by Chris and Monica.

Chris has been coming along to dog walk for several weeks now, and Touffu and Alfie have become firm friends. But what would Monica think when she came over to visit? Up until today she had only seen Touffu in photos, but we have to remember that is how Alfie stole her heart, too.

The four of them went for a walk, on which Touffu was suitably fesity (no being on his best behaviour for this lad!) and a chat. Yes, there is work to be done, but as we hoped, it was go go go for Touffu too, and he has started a new life full of love and cuddles, which will suit him just fine.

scruffy dog with couple

Touffu – ADOPTED

We can’t leave you without news of the day’s other big adoption. Cacahouette has finally found a home! Yes, we know this is DOG Rescue Carcassonne, but sometimes we bend the rules. Especially when it is for a dog who has accidentally ended up in a cat’s body!

Anyone visiting the SPA in recent months will have met Cacahouette, who likes dogs, but not cats, and so has been camping in reception. And today’s his turn finally came. A couple came looking for a cat who could live with their dog. As usual staff presented Cacahouette, but as usual the family went to the cat house to see who else was available for adoption. But they returned saying that Cacahouette was the one for them! High emotion indeed! And I was not the only one to shed a tear of joy; tinged with a little bit of regret that I couldn’t adopt him myself. He is quite a character!

For completeness’s sake I should mention that cat Fakir was adopted too, but one cat picture on the blog is enough. So here is Cacahouette with his new mistress. We will miss you!

balck and white cat with owner

Cacahouette – ADOPTED

So that was the end of an emotional day at the end of what has proved to be an emotional week.

Adoption of Orwell.

As you know, we love it when volunteers adopt dogs whom they have come to love during their walks.

Today’s leaver, Orwell, has left with volunteer Sandra. She has been walking him ever since he arrived at the end of November. Like most of us, we find it hard to understand why no one else wants to adopt our favourite dogs. In fact under many of Orwell’s pictures on Facebook, Sandra has commented on what a great dog he is, encouraging people to take a second look at this young mini-braque cross. Then these comments stop.  Sandra told us yesterday that this was the moment when she started worrying that someone else might in fact adopt him!

Today Sandra took Orwell, now renamed Ollie, to share her home and that of her other dog, Maggie, and their cat. Sandra and her husband used to have three dogs, and we know they are excellent dog owners. Ollie is in for a fabulous life with them. Many thanks to Sandra, and we are delighted to say that she will still be coming to the SPA to walk the dogs. Better not fall in love with any more, eh, Sandra!

small balck and white speckly dog

Orwell (now Ollie) – ADOPTED

We will  have at least one good news item tomorrow, too, so see you then!

Muffin the crooner?

We were delighted by today’s adoption, that of Muffin. This lovely lad was adopted as a tiny puppy and the SPA received photo after photo of him with his new family. Clearly life was good.  Then all of a sudden life wasn’t so good….Muffin’s family divorced and the dog, now a year old, was brought back to the SPA.

Muffin is quite strong on the lead, but has good basic training and was very popular on walks, especially once he had calmed down a bit. And when Colette and Alan came to the SPA looking for a new dog, it was lucky Muffin who caught their eye. They did not reserve him immediately, preferring to think things through, but it was pretty clear that they were smitten. So today the newly renamed Dean Martin left for his new life.

He like a huge floppy puppy still and very adorable. Dog school beckons and perhaps another canine pal in the future, too.

We look forward to news and photos. And if he learns to sing like his namesake, we want to hear him too!

big cross breed

Muffin – ADOPTED (and now renamed Dean Martin)

The REAL Dean Martin. There is a striking resemblance.

Aimée’s fabulous donation, adoption of Agatha and a miracle for Pit.

Today we had two adoptions, which was a great end to the week.

First to leave was Agatha, who went for a walk with a young couple who want to share their life with a dog. After long discussion with the staff and a trip to the cat-house Agatha who has a lovely new home. We are really happy for this affectionate and attentive young dog who has been with us since the end of January. Particularly pleased that she didn’t have too long to wait, as although small females are quick to leave, some of the larger girls find it harder to find homes.

shepherd cross

Agatha – ADOPTED

The next adoption is something of a miracle. The current DRC urgent appeal is for Pit, an elderly beauceron who was brought back to the SPA in mid-February following the death of his owner.  Susan, a recent convert to the beauceron breed (she adopted Louison, since renamed Trotwood last year), saw this appeal and got in touch.

As soon as she had read Pit’s story she knew that she wanted to help him. and after visiting him at the SPA today she was even more certain of her decision. So despite his advancing years, (he will be 14 in September), and his questionable attitiude to cats, lucky Pit has a new home. Massive thanks to Susan for offering him a place to spend his retirement. We will  have news in due course, for sure. Be a good boy Pit, very very few dogs are given such a chance this late in life.



We also want to say a huge thank you to Jemma, or rather to her amazing daughter, Aimée. A couple of years ago the family adopted a lab puppy, Sage (renamed Cookie), and the SPA is a cause close to their hearts. So when Aimées ninth birthday was approaching, instead of asking for presents, she asked all her friends to donate towards the SPA. And this group of youngsters did us proud, by setting up an online page for donations as well as collecting toys and food for the dogs and cats at the refuge.

This is an incredibly generous thing to do, and it is wonderful that the baton is being passed to the younger generation. Today Jemma and Aimée, together with brother Patrick, came to the SPA to deliver all the goodies, and it was quite an impressive sight.

Aimée and her schoolfriends with their pile of donations

Many thanks to this wonderful group of young people and especially to Aimée. Clearly there is hope for the future if Aimée and her friends are anything to go by.

What an amazing end to a week of ups and downs.

Adoption of puppy Neymar.

We mentioned that some reservations had taken place yesterday, and one of the lucky dogs left today. And very happily, it was of puppy Neymar.

Since the departure of the Simpsons litter he has been the only pup available for adoption, but there had been no interest in him at all. We have no idea why, but if it is due to his name, then that is my fault. He arrived at the same time that the PSG striker was ruled out of the game for several weeks following a leg injury, and as Neymar had an operation on his leg, it seemed appropriate. However a name can easily be changed, and the woman who adopted this little lad today will surely do so. Many of our dogs change their names after adoption, so please don’t let our sometimes warped sense of  humour put you off a lovely dog.

malinois pup

Neymar – ADOPTED (and renamed)

To answer a question that was put to us yesterday, yes, the SPA does allow reservations. Many people come to the refuge wishing to adopt a dog, but are not ready to take one immediately. Sometimes this is a question of buying the requisite accessories; food, a bed, a collar and lead etc. Sometimes people have a trip or house move planned. That is fine, providing the delay is no more than a couple of weeks.

If a dog needs a passport before travel then we can stretch this to three weeks, and if DRC is organising TRACES transport then sometimes even longer. However this is never at the request of the adopter, rather is due to the availability of space on a transporter’s vehicle.

Ultimately we have to do what is in the dog’s best interest. And this usually means leaving the SPA as soon as possible for a good and permanent home.

If you know you cannot take a dog for several months, it is perhaps best to wait until nearer the time to visit. Of course it is a good idea to come along and see the kinds of dogs we have. But if you are likely to fall in love with a dog and be disappointed to lose out on him, then maybe putting your visit off till nearer the time is the sensible course of action.

And please bear in mind that there are always wonderful dogs at the SPA, so we hope that whenever you visit, you will find the dog of your dreams.