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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

A Stella(r) Adoption

Another day, another fabulous adoption! This time it was the turn of Stella. She arrived at the end of November, since which time she has stolen the heart of many staff and volunteers. Unlike many of our long-eared dogs, Stella is not at all nervous. She is affectionate and playful and always looking for cuddles. Recently however we have been very concerned about her, as she had started losing weight. Tests showed no illness at all, and Stella continues to eat well. It appears that she was just pining. For what, we are not sure, as of course we have no idea of her background; she was found as a stray.

Today she found her new home, and everyone is delighted for her. Her new family were unphased by her slight physique, promising to fatten her up. Her sponsor, Ingrid, is over the moon, although of course sad not to have been at the SPA today to say goodbye. I feel a sneaky post-adoption visit might be on the cards….any excuse for more cuddles!

brown and pale long-eared dog

Stella – ADOPTED

Tomorrow we have an event at the SPA. Coraline, already a SPA volunteer walker, recently won a beauty contest, and wants to use her fame to help us publicise the refuge! Usually when beauty queens say they love animals, everyone rolls their eyes at the cliché, but in Coraline’s case it is true! She already knows many of our dogs well and will be leading a 2 hour walk tomorrow starting at 14H00 (ish). There will be a small drinks reception afterwards with some colleagues from the press. Let’s hope the weather is good and that Coraline brings some welcome publicity to the SPA.

beauty queen

Volunteer Coraline is coming to walk some dogs tomorrow

Let’s hope it results in yet more wonderful adoptions, like that of Stella today!

Adoption of Kanye

Kanye was brought to the SPA before Christmas by his owner following a move to an appartment. Yes, it is easy to criticise, but it seems that before this change in circumstances Kanye was much loved. He arrived fully vaccinated, identified and castrated, and it is rare that we can say such a thing.  Already nine years old, this dog had been turned down by many other refuges who apparently did not want to take on a big old dog whose adoption prospects were not high.

And as soon as we met him, we realised what a wonderful dog he is. Although he doesn’t like sharing his kennel, the only flash point is food. Walking Kanye is child’s play. He is a real gentleman, trotting alongside his “temporary human” with his tail up and manners firmly intact.

One of our supporters has been looking for an elderly dog for some time. In fact she had agreed to take Roxanne (Nina in real life), who was reclaimed on New Year’s Day. Other oldies at the SPA are a bit strong on the lead…but not so Kanye! To our  delight, he left today. Excellent news!

We are always happy when elderly dogs leave the SPA. In fact, let’s face it, we are happy when dogs (and cats) of any age leave. Let’s hope for more good news as the week progresses.

big beauceron cross


Two Adoptions to Start 2018

Today was the first day of the new year as far as the SPA was concerned. The gates opened at 14H00 and despite the rain, the place was busy all afternoon. And we had two adoptions to start things off on the right foot!

First to leave was Ken. A family came along looking for a companion following the recent death of their dog. They were looking for a young dog, but not a pup, and one who would get on with their neighbours’ dogs with whom they spend lots of time. Ken caught their eye immediately. This young shepherd cross was found in a nearby village, and although his owner phoned to see if he was at the SPA, once he heard about the obligation to identify his dog, we heard no more.

Things have worked out just fine, for Ken, though, as five weeks after his arrival he has a new home.

shepherd cross


Today’s second adoption was of Blair. He and his brother Orwell arrived a week after Ken, at the age of about 8 months. These not-quite pups often have trouble finding new homes; they have lost most of their puppy cuteness, but often do not have the calmness of an older dog. And in fact Wendy and her family came specifically for a puppy, having specifically waited until Christmas was over.

No pups were available, however, but I doubt very much that this is a cause of regret. The family’s bond with Blair was instant! They took him out for a walk and marvelled at his interactions with cat Cahouette (they have several dog-savvy cats). Blair is a very lucky lad; he has found a great family, and we will post news and photo of him, naturally.

black lab cross

Blair (now Blais) – ADOPTED

We should also say thanks to Estelle who came in on yesterday’s bank holiday to enable 14 year old Roxanne to leave with her owner. This elderly dog was identified by tattoo, but time and ear infections had erased this entirely, unbeknownst to her owner. Still, all’s well that ends well, and they are now happily reunited.

old staff cross

14 year old Roxanne – RECLAIMED

So despite the weather it was a good day, and we look forward to a year with plenty of adoptions. Some sunshine would be welcome too, but dogs and cats finding good homes is all that matters!

Three more adoptions to end the year.

The refuge was busy again today, and we had three adoptions!

First to leave was Alya. This fabulous collie arrived at the SPA gates in great condition, not at all thin, or scared, and apparently well used to being manipulated. We were informed privately that she had been tied up alone in a field, but as she was not identified we were unable to trace her owners. And they were clearly not looking for their dog, as nearly two months after her arrival she was still at the refuge.

Ayla has been very popular with staff and walkers alike. Although she preferred to live alone, she would walk alongside any other dogs, and as she doesn’t pull at all on the lead, she has had more walks than most. Her new family are going to spoil her rotten, and she deserves every bit of love that is coming her way.



Next we said goodbye to little Truffaut. This little jagd terrier arrived earlier this month, also identified. He is a shy little boy who is gradually increasing in confidence. Today a family came along with their elderly dog to see how the two would get on. Although Truffaut was still looking nervous when he left, we have since had a phone call to say that he was already much happier and was playing with his new pal. Fabulous news for this dog who, like Alya, is officially having his eighth birthday on New Year’s Day!

jagd terier cross

Truffaut – ADOPTED

The last adoption of the year was that of border collie cross Mila. She arrived for rehoming by her owner, who felt unable to keep this big and active dog in an appartment. Mila is far bigger than a normal border collie, and is also a bit shy at first. She too quickly gains in confidence, though. She was briefly in foster, which helped us learn more about her, and this definitely helped us advise her new owner as to some of her character traits. None of them were a surprise to this woman who is already well-versed in the ways of the border collie. We wish Mila all the best in her new life.

border collie


Three other dogs, all of whom arrived yesterday or today, were reclaimed, and we had several reservations. And although the day wasn’t perfect and we had some bad news too (the return of a dog who we thought was happily homed), all in all it was a very positive end to the year.

Once again, thanks to everyone who has supported us this year, either financially, or by sharing the albums and helping to find home for the animals at the SPA, or by coming along to walk them and spend time at the SPA.

A new year is just around the corner. Onwards and upwards!

Five dog Friday!

Well, we promised two adoptions but in fact it was a five dog Friday. Been quite a while since we had one of them, hasn’t it!

First to leave was Cody. This fabulous labrador griffon cross arrived exactly ten days ago, found at the SPA gates one morning. We think his owner phoned up, as the description of the dog matched. But that was the last we heard from him; perhaps the prospect of paying for a microchip was enough to dissuade him from coming to collect his dog. Cody is a great dog, really affectionate and sociable. We were hopeful that he would not have long to wait, and sure enough, he has gone straight from the pound to his new home! Lucky Cody.

pale lab cross


Next we said goodbye to Tim. He was returned to the SPA a couple of weeks ago following an unsuccesful adoption. He was very nervous and has been spending a lot of time in the office with the staff and volunteers, where he has met lots of visitors. He is still a bit jumpy, but is far better than when he arrived.

Of course all that time in the office has meant that lots of people have seen him, and earlier this week he caught the eye of some visitors looking for a small dog. They went away to have a think, then phoned up to confirm that they would be back for lucky Tim.

small dog wearing coat


We also said goodbye to Eden, a very pretty border collie puppy who has been at the SPA for a couple of weeks, but who did not make her “Facebook debut” until yesterday. This is because she arrived with the dreaded parvovirus, and has been living in isolation. Happily she is now fully recovered, and today she found her home!

border collie pup

Puppy Eden – ADOPTED

Another dog who arrived not in the best of health was Captain Trip. Yes, our gorgeous three-legged spaniel, star of the Xmas open weekend at Jardiland, has found a home. We are delighted for him, he never let his injury get in the way of being a spaniel! He hardly seems to realise that he is missing a limb, and his motto seems to be that life is for living to the full! Lovely for him that he left so soon after his beloved pal, Galopin, who was homed yesterday.

3- legged spaniel

Captain Trip – ADOPTED

Finally we said goodbye to Bella. She arrived along with her two brothers, Grif and Panda, in mid October. All three were brought in by their owner having been kept in a garage with hardly any human contact for two years. This is sad in itself, but sadder still is the fact that a neighbour tried over and over again to persuade him to bring the puppies to the SPA for rehoming He refused, instead waiting until the dogs were two years old before giving them an opportunity to find some happiness. Grif and Panda are progressing too, but how much quicker Bella’s progress will be outside the refuge!

black and white dog


So it was a fabulous day. Will these be the last adoptions of the year, or will there be any more leavers in 2017? If we don’t blog tomorrow, you will know the answer. And just in case, have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and let’s make next year a positive one for the dogs and cats at the SPA and for animals the world over.

Adoption of Galopin and Gabber

We had two adoptions today, so despite the cold temperatures and rain, we are feeling quite upbeat.

First to leave was Galopin. This lovely fauve de Bretagne arrived with a leg injury, and so until recently he was living inside in the infirmary. That didn’t stop him enjoying his walks, though, and many people have taken him out. He even had an excursion to Jardiland during the Christmas open weekend, where he proved to be very popular as well as calm and affectionate.

A family came to meet him today and to introduce him to their other dog. Of course, Galopin was happy to meet a new pal, and even happier when he realised that he had a new home! So tonight he is back in the warm. Many thanks to his new family.

griffon fauve de Bretagne

Galopin – ADOPTED

Next to leave was Gabber. This young black labrador cross arrived just a couple of days after Gallopin, in mid November. She needs a bit of education, and a lot more exercise than we have been able to give her at the refuge, but her new family were looking for a young dog with whom to share long walks. Lucky Gabber caught their eye, and a couple of days after the adoption of her kennel mate, Hope, Gabber, renamed Calice, has a new home too.

Gabber (now renamed Calice) – ADOPTED

Two dogs are reserved and should be leaving the SPA tomorrow, which still leaves Saturday when we will hopefully have the last adoption of the year! Who will it be?

A Home for Hope

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day and that you are looking forward to more celebrations next weekend. In the meantime, it is business as usual at the SPA, of course.

We didn’t get a chance to walk the magnificent beagle after all. His owners were looking for him, and thanks to SPA volunteers Sebastien and Patricia he was able to leave straight away, so he was at home with his family for Christmas! Had he needed to see a vet in order to be identifed, he would have had to spend two more nights at the SPA. He was a lucky dog.



Another lucky dog is Hope. She was brought back to the the SPA just over two weeks ago when the woman who adopted her earlier this year started working full time. Apparently Hope did not like being alone during the day. She was very sad to come back to the SPA, and we were very sad to see her back, naturally. So she put on her saddest face for this picture, in an attempt to attract a kind-hearted person. And it worked! The photo caught the eye of a woman who was looking for a dog to share what sounds like the perfect life. Hope now has an owner who is at home all the time, plus she has a feline friend, visiting children and the promise of many lovely long walks. Many thanks to her new owner and we wish lots of love and happiness to Hope.

Shepherd cross with grey muzzle


There were several other visitors to the SPA today, people who are looking for a canine companion but who decided to wait until all the excitement of Christmas Day was over. So there might well be some other adoptions in the offing! Watch this space, as they say.

Last leaver before Christmas

Well, we didn’t have any more adoptions today, in fact we had a couple of new arrivals, which wasn’t really what we wanted. However it was a fun day, with lots of people coming to walk dogs. And let’s face it, dogs don’t know it is Christmas.

One of today’s arrivals, a fabulous beagle called Rodes, is identified but we have not been able to contact his owners. The SPA doesn’t reopen until Tuesday at 14H00, but we hope that his owners will be reassured to know he is safe and well and waiting for them to come and collect him. And if they don’t, I will be one of many people waiting, lead in hand, to take him out. What a handsome lad!


At the SPA for Xmas- Rodes

Another of today’s arrivals, a fabulous pyrenean shepherd, arrived unidentified having been found in the countryside about 12 km from the SPA. And the good news is that this evening she is safe and well and back at home. Her owners showed up just before the SPA shut, and Estelle sped off to the vet with Dolly who is now identified and back at home. Thanks Estelle and to Patricia and Seb who also waited till Dolly had left.

Pyrenean shepherd

Dolly- reclaimed

Don’y worry, the dogs who are at the SPA will be fed and looked after by our wonderful staff, but there will be no walking until Tuesday.

See you then, hopefully with news of the first post- Christmas adoptions!

Three dogs leave for new homes!

This week has been another quiet one, and although we were hoping for more adoptions before Christmas, we were starting to wonder if our hopes were to be dashed. However today we had three adoptions, only one of which was planned.

The second of the dogs who had been reserved at the weekend left today. Little Pilou, at the SPA since has found a new home. When this little boy arrived five weeks ago he was very scared, but the staff and volunteers soon had him feeling much happier. He loved sharing his box with another dog, and proved to be great with cats, too. His confidence on the lead grew every time he went out for a walk. And being small and easy to handle, he went on lots of walks.

At the open weekend a family came to introduce him to their mature mastiff cross, and little Pilou looked delighted at the prospect of sharing his new home with a big new friend. The adoption was organised for today as the family are now off work for two weeks, which should give Pilou, now renamed Bobby, time to settle in.

Small brown dog

Pilou (now Bobby) – ADOPTED

Wec also said goodbye to Pollux,  the tiny wire haired dachshund who arrived with Wednesday’s adoption Puce.  He is a great little chap, good on the lead but equally happy to be carried. Not surprisingly he hasn’t had too long to wait for a new home, and we are sure he will be very happy. Like Pilou he will be sharing his new home with other dogs!

wire haried teckel

Pollux – ADOPTED

All adoptions are good, but today’s final adoption might be this year’s Christmas miracle.

Lili has been at the SPA since July 2017, when she was found at the gates with a note from her owner. The note said that Lili had been adopted as a puppy, but she was no longer wanted. This may seem strange to us, but for some dogs that is how life is. They have no say in their future, they are just cast aside at their owner’s whim.

Lili is a big black dog who was born in 2009. Those of you who follow the blog will know that that combination; big, old and black, usually means a long wait before adoption. When Lili woke up in her kennel this morning, she surely had no idea that she would end the day in a home all safe and warm, together with two other dogs. She never gave up hope, and watching her lie on her back having her tummy rubbed as her new mum signed the adoption papers was lovely to see.

Big black shepherd


The SPA is open tomorrow for one last day before Christmas, so maybe there will be more news, but the week has taken a turn for the better thanks to today’s news.

Adoption of Tiny Puce

Tiny girl Puce  arrived two weeks ago along with two other small dogs. All three were found at the gate, and none was identified. Where did they come from and how did they arrive at the SPA gate?

The best guess is that they have been living in a confined space and outdoors, as they had very long nails, in Puce’s case so long that they were curled under, almost peircing the skin of her paws. Needless to say we are pleased that the owner of these dogs did not come to collect them. Sometimes it is hard seeing dogs leave, knowing that we could find them a home where they are really cared for. However Puce’s pound time ended at the weekend as as of today she has a lovely new home.

She was one of two dogs who were reserved this weekend; her family came along with their other dog, also adopted from the SPA some eight years ago, to make sure they got on okay. Today Puce went to the vet to be sterilised and tomorrow she will wake up somewhere warm and dry and safe, perhaps for the first time in her life.

Tiny pale dog


One of her co-arrivees is still waiting at the SPA, he is a fabulous wire-haired teckel called Pollux. He, like Puce, searches for affection all the time. Sadly their friend Florence managed to escape whilst on her way to the vets, and has not been seen since, although of course we have not given up hope that she will be found safe and well.

wire haired teckel

Pollux would like a home too

So that is the week’s first adoption. We know it will not be the last, as another dog will be leaving on Friday. But we would really like a few more adoptions before Christmas.