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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Adoption of Tequila

All adoptions are good. Make no mistake, we celebrate each and every one. But it is true that some will always be special, and today’s adoption of Tequila is one such adoption.

This young malinois arrived at the refuge as an unidentified stray towards the end of January. She had parvovirus, which in young or weak dogs can be fatal. In fact Tequila was in such poor condition that as well as having parvo, she needed an operation and was given her name due to her inability to walk in a straight line, as if she was drunk. For a while things looked very bleak for her.

Luckily in early February employee Marion stepped in and took Tequila home to foster . Saying goodbye to any animal you have fostered is hard (many people like myself, who are failed fosters, know this only too well). But saying goodbye to a dog you have nursed back to health is even harder. But after 4 weeks with Marion and her family, Tequila was fully recovered, and needed a home of her own.

The ScPA had to fend off a couple of people who wanted to use Tequila for breeding, and who were not interested once they knew she was sterilised (grr!). But then …JOY. As well as wonderful employees, the ScPA has amazing volunteers and just sometimes everything clicks into place. Catherine and her two girls, Amelia and Florie are often at the refuge walking dogs, and we all know that they love malinois. In fact they considered adopting Goldy last year, but the timing wasn’t right. This time, however the stars were aligned.

Today Tequila left with her new family. Marion is understandably a bit sad, but overjoyed that Tequila has such a wonderful home, and that she will stay a part of the ScPA “family!. Huge thanks to her and also to Catherine and her family. We will get plenty of news of Tequila, of course, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes back from time to time to get a cuddle from her foster mum!

malinois dog

Tequila – ADOPTED


Adoptions of Sally, Rockett and Jaffa

This has not been the best week at the ScPA. Apart from the death of poor Pato, who had spent three years waiting for a new home that never came, we had four dogs brought in for rehoming in just one day (yesterday). And that is not including the other dogs who were found as strays and brought into the Pound. So everyone was in need of some good news.

On Thursday a couple came along to adopt a second dog as a companion to their poodle/ lab cross, Zero. Caroline and Andrew were initially interested in one of the recently arrived staffies, and were willing to jump through all the administrative hoops that this would involve. However while doing a tour of the refuge,  their eye fell upon lab cross Sally. She is one of Mattie’s pups and is one of the 7 dogs left behind when their owner moved house last summer. So far Mattie is the only one to be rehomed (she was less traumatised than the others and is doing wonderfully with our friend Angie), but the puppies (who are now 18 months old) are making enormous progress at the refuge, thanks to the staff and volunteers.

Progress will be far quicker away from the ScPA, however, especially with another steady dog as guide. So it was fabulous that Caroline and Andrew have decided to offer a home to Sally. They know there is work to be done, but are well prepared and of course we will be there to offer help and advice should they need it.

A still nervous Sally – ADOPTED

Second to leave was Rockett. Now this dog has only recently arrived and it was immediately clear that he would have no trouble finding a home. But of course it had to be a good home, not just someone who was attracted by his stunning looks. Because this is one handsome boy. Not quite two years old, Rockett is fine with other dogs, children, cats, and is only at the refuge because his family moved to Canada and were “unable” to take him.

A family came along to meet him this week, and today, after a quick visit to the vet for a quick “snip”, it was lift off for Rockett. He has a great life ahead of  him, with a sporty family who will take him everywhere with them and who love him already.

big black labrador

Rockett – ADOPTED

There was another adoption today, also of a dog who was brought in for rehoming. They said that he was wonderful; affectionate and well behaved. But sometimes dogs of this shepherd mix have trouble getting noticed; there are usually quite a few of them at the refuge at any one time. Many of them are like Jaffa, calm, steady and real hidden gems, so it is worth finding out more, as did today’s visitor.

We hope that Jaffa’s new home is every bit as wonderful as he deserves. His former owners gave him up in preference for a pair of pedigree dogs, so we hope they are even more wonderful than Jaffa, or we don’t reckon much to their chances of staying put!



So not bad for a Saturday and a much needed morale boost after a “complicated” week. There may be more good news on the way tomorrow, you never know.

Life after the Refuge – Paddy (ex Panda)

Here is a lovely story for Life after the Refuge telling the story of Paddy. He is one of Griff’s brothers, and so perhaps this will give people some idea of what to expect if they were to offer Griff a home. Much of Griff’s evolution has taken place at the ScPA, but Hamish and Tom had it all to deal with at home in the case of Paddy. They have done wonders, as you can see.

This is what they say:

We had been keeping an eye on the Dog Rescue Carcassonne website for a couple of years and had seen many dogs that pulled at our heart strings but the timing never seemed to be right. We were either moving house to France or living back home in Edinburgh during the winter months.  A few weeks before we returned to France in 2018 we had been in touch with Darcey by e-mail about 2 dogs who took our interested. The first was a rotweiller and the second a mixed breed dog called Panda.  So it was with much excitement that we finally made our way on the 15th March 2018 to Carcassonne to visit these dogs.

Panda (as he then was) at the SCPA

Panda was the first dog we met. He was one of three dogs brought to the SPA at the age of two having spent their lives hitherto in a garage as their owner did not want them when they were born. So with this in mind it was no surprise when Panda greeted us by cowering on the ground, rolling over and peeing. He had endeared himself to us at once.

We took Panda for a walk along with his kennel carer Ingrid, who luckily spoke enough English to tell us a bit more about him.  By the time we got back to the kennels there was no doubt that he was the dog for us and within 20 minutes the adoption paperwork was completed, good news photographs taken for the website, goodbyes said and Panda was in our car heading for a new life in our home near Uzes over 2 hours away. Soon after we got home Panda became Paddy. Not because we did not like his name, indeed given his facial markings it was perfect, but we just could not remember it when we needed to get his attention.

For the first 4 months we wondered what we had let ourselves into as it was clear that we were sharing our home with a very cautious Paddy rather than having a new member of the family. During this time we were treated to the full range of Paddy’s quirks most of which were accompanied by stress peeing and cowering. He would not eat if we were in the room, would only let us put his lead on if we were sitting down, visitors frightened him, we were not allowed to touch him unless we were sitting down, if out for a walk he would weave back and fore behind us rather that in front or beside and if we encountered even a small group of people he would tremble and stress pee or even poo, he would not let us near him when he was in the garden preferring to hide in the bushes, once out of the house it could take hours to coax him back in, he did not know how to play, was not motivated by food, had zero recall when off the lead. The list could go on but throughout all of this there was still that spark in him that we saw initially and a look on his face which said he wanted to interact but did not know how.

The newly renamed Paddy on the day of his adoption

We had a friend’s dog called George stay with us for a couple weeks. George had none of Paddy’s problems. Paddy learnt a lot from watching the carefree George running around and tucking into his grub regardless and after a few days Paddy was happy to run in and out of the house and became much more confident.

We set a fairly strict routine for him to get accustomed to things. As time went on we introduced new experiences. Some he coped with some he didn’t.  When we found something that worked we would repeat it time after time to build his trust and confidence that nice things happen and gradually his trust in us increased and the stress peeing decreased. He adores being in the car and this became a safety zone for him. If he became too stressed in the garden he would jump into the car to calm down with a short drive round the village. Most of the time we left him to his own devices to just get used to his new life. As time went on in the evenings we would roll him onto his back and wedge him between us to pet him. This scared him to start with but after a few times he would come to us and roll over hoping to be pulled around and tickled.

At first, when people came to the house he would cower in a corner of the garden. The people who came most often such as our builders tended to have dogs so knew how to deal with Paddy and by the time we left for Scotland Paddy would happily go by himself to see what they were doing and monitor their work.

Paddy at Christmas

When we returned to Edinburgh we were expecting Paddy to be frightened by the sights and sounds of a city. Yes there were things that did, and to some extent still do, scare him such as joggers, children on bikes or scooters, high visibility jackets, prams and pushchairs, or people walking behind him especially men. He has however embraced living in the city. Traffic does not frighten him in the least (which is a mixed blessing) and he adores going on buses and will try to get on one at every opportunity. From the start he happily socialised in busy bars and restaurants and wander round looking at and sniffing people. His favourite places to walk are the beach and the park which is great as we live next to Holyrood Park where Paddy has 260 hectares to play in every day.

So almost a year on what do we have? Paddy is totally unrecognisable from the timid dog we took home. His confidence has grown immeasurably and he has not stress peed or pooed for months. What is more exciting for us is that his recall is now very good which has given him the chance to run off lead amongst the bushes and undergrowth on his daily walks or on the beach while we relax knowing he will come back when we call or whistle (well at least 90% of the time!). This also applies in pubs and bars when he feels it is his turn to take a shot behind the bar or in the kitchen. His pulling on the lead has lessened over time especially when we put him into a harness after he slipped his collar in the centre of Edinburgh.  He is learning to play although doggy toys are still a mystery to him. He is getting better at letting visitors to his home get close and even pet him. He loves being petted by us and will constantly be lying at our feet, rolling over wanting to be stroked and given the chance will make it last for ages.  He has learnt several commands which we can build on as he has now decided to be treat orientated. He wanders round with his tail wagging high in the air and happily makes eye contact. If there is the slightest hint of him going for a walk he is jumping around wagging his tail and desperately trying to get his head into his harness. However his biggest thrill is still going out in the car. One shake of the car keys and he is running round in circles waiting to be let out of the house and when let loose, runs as fast as he can to get to the car.

dog relaxing on owner's lap

A much more relaxing looking Paddy

If Paddy could talk he would probably say his perfect day would be a long drive in the car to the beach in the morning followed by a bus ride to a pub in the afternoon. And to round off the day his evening meal followed by excessive amounts of cuddles and tummy rubbing.

one of paddy's brothers

Griff is Paddy’s brother, he is still looking for a home


Balou becomes a king of the road!.

There was only one adoption today, but it was of a dog who as been at the refuge for almost eight months without anyone showing any interest in adopting him, so that makes it a great day!

Balou was brought to the refuge in July last year having been signalled to one of the cruelty inspectors. In fact he had not been treated cruelly so much as neglected. And as he was always escaping from his owner’s garden, (boredom can do that!), he was tied up. As you can imagine, for a young dog, this was not much fun. So coming to a kennel at the ScPA was a step up, as at least there he got regular walks.

Balou is a very sporty little chap, and he loves being outdoors. Bearing that in mind, it looks like today all his dreams  have come true. A young man came to the ScPA looking for a dog to be his companion as he travels the country on his bicycle. He wanted a dog of the right size and temperament and he and Balou hit it off immediately. The decider was when Balou’s lead broke on the walk, but he decided to stay with his new “master”! What a good boy. The young man came straight back to the ScPA and made it official…..he Balou are now kings of the road together!

Balou has to learn some new skills, he will have to learn to trot alongside a bicycle without pulling too much, for instance but he is bright and intelligent and a life spent out of doors should suit him perfectly. We hope to have news and photos from Balou on his big adventure!



Adoption of three dogs and a rodent!

When some dogs arrive, it is obvious that they will be popular. Such a dog was Toundra, a fabulous young husky who arrived a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say there were plenty of people interested in her, and needless to say, it was very hard to select the family that would be lucky enough to take her home. We know that some people will be disappointed, but we hope that they will find another needy dog to take home. And as for Toundra, we hope that she will be as happy as she deserves to be. Heaven only knows where she came from and why she wasn’t reclaimed, but of course the same can be said of almost all the dogs at just about any refuge.

husky cross

Toundra – ADOPTED

Next to leave was little spaniel Tara. Very scared when she arrived, this young girl is still a bit nervous, but this has not stopped her making plenty of friends while she has been at the ScPA. And what a cutie she is. She would be a great candidate for a dog DNA test, but it looks pretty clear that there is both spaniel and teckel in the mix. We wish beautiful Tara and long and happy life and look forward to news and photos.

mini brittany spaniel


Today’s third leaver was Faya. Yes, you are right, she was adopted before but was brought back very soon afterwards as being “too clingy”. Now, that is just not fair. For a start all dogs need time to settle in, but how can you expect a dog to not be anxious when she has already been abandoned and knows how horrible it is! We hope that Faya’s new family will be a bit more understanding of her needs, and that her erstwhile adopters have a good long think before offering a home to a dog in the future. Or any animal for that matter.

boxer cross


So those were the day’s canine departures, but we also said goodbye to Bille, a gerbil, who arrived last week. Yes, as we have said, the “A” in Animal is taken quite literally by some, and in a way we are lucky that it was not another goat this time! Bille has gone off to live with Muriel and her family, which of course now includes Connord, not to mention three other gerbils.



So that is four leavers today, which is not a bad start to the week.

Connord finds a foster home at long last

If you ask any of the staff and regular volunteers at the ScPA which dog has been there the longest, everyone would reply without hesitation “Connord”. In fact few people can remember a time before this black and white American Staffordshire terrier was in residence.

It is always difficult finding homes for so called “dangerous dogs”, even when, as in Connord’s case, they are Category 2 (defence) rather than one (attack). Of course the descriptors in parentheses are nonsense, as are describing any dog as “dangerous” due to its breed, but the law is the law.

Owning such a dog means amongst other things, having a permit, and it is understandable that getting one specially for a dog of Connord’s age seems a waste; why not get a younger dog? Plus you have to factor in the grief that you know is not far round the corner, and losing a dog is horrendous, as we all know. So to take Connord home  you need someone very special indeed.

Enter Muriel, staff employee and dog-lover extraordinaire. This is not the first time she has taken elderly ScPA dogs home, and although she is devastated each time she says goodbye, this distress is tempered by knowing that the dog has had a lovely time for however long he is in her care.

So tonight we say a huge thank you to Muriel, is now Connord’s official foster family. We do not know how long he will be with her. But Connord, who  is now over 11 years old and who has spent half his life at the refuge, finally has a home. Isn’t that a nice thought with which to end the weekend?

black and white amstaff


Adoption of Gaufrette

Well, just one adoption to tell you about today, but that is better than none at all. It means another lucky dog is in a new home and that is something that makes us all happy.

Today’s lucky dog is Gaufrette. She arrived three weeks ago as yet another unidentified stray, one who was in that “not quite pup” stage. According to the vet’s estimate, she turned 6 months yesterday, and so it is great that just after this landmark (even if it is a theoretical one), she is with her new family.

brown dog with black muzzle

Gaufrette – ADOPTED

We have had lots of success in rehoming our youngsters recently, but we still wish that all our not-quite pups could find homes as quickly as did Gaufrette.

We are hoping for more good news tomorrow, when the ScPA will be open as usual.

Lucky Seven!

We said in yesterday’s blog that more dogs would be leaving this week and today we had seven departures! Only one of them was an adoption, but we hope that the other leavers will soon have homes of their own, too.

Many of you know that on some occasions the ScPA has taken in dogs from other associations, particularly when the other associations are overpopulated or in financial difficulties. Well this solidarity is a two-way street. Of course the ScPA is not in trouble, nor do we have too many animals (although some of us would argue that even one dog without a home is too many). However we do have some dogs who are just invisible as far as adopters are concerned,

The SPA of Montpelier has recently been on a huge adoption drive, and as they have space and a different clientele to that in Carcassonne, they offered to take some of the ScPA’s long-term residents, to see if they would have more luck finding families from a different refuge.

So this morning the chosen six dogs – Chippeur, Tikia, Roucky, Captain, Baxter and Nesquick-  set off for a new refuge!  The ScPA will of course keep in touch and follow their progress. We wish them all the best of luck and many thanks to the SPA Montpelier for their kind offer of help.

Chippeur, Tikia, Roucky, Captain, Baxter and Nesquick have left to hopefully find new homes thanks to the SPA Montpelier.

Back on the ground, this afternoon saw the adoption of Nobel, a small black dog who has only been at the ScPA for a short time, having been found unidentified in a nearby village. It didn’t take him long to find a new home; his size was one factor, as were his handsome looks and his gentle personality, of course.

small black whispy haired dog


There was good news too for a tiny old dog who arrived yesterday; in fact he is very much loved and his owner was delighted to reclaim him today. Little Kiki is somewhere around the 14 year-old mark, so he is not the only one delighted that he is not looking for a new home after all.

tiny pale brown old dog


So today was a good day in many ways, and we hope for more of the same.


Adoption of Marvel and news of Leo

After a couple of quiet days, today we had an adoption. Young spaniel cross Marvel left for his new home. He was the first dog to arrive this year, at which time the vet estimated him to be just one year old. Although he was initially very shy and nervous he soon perked up, and has proved to be a wonderful dog. His new family came today full of smiles to take him to his new life, and we hope they will spend many many happy years together.

brown and white spaniel cross with black muzzle

Marvel – ADOPTED

It might have been a quiet week so far, but there is due to be a flurry of activity as the week comes to a close!

Also, we are still buoyed up by the wonderful news we received yesterday from Germany to tell us that Leo has found a home of his own. Here he is in the snow! If you have already seen the video of him on Facebook, this is a different one, so it is worth a watch!


Heat Lamps in Action!

I mentioned that I was at the refuge early yesterday morning to see Grace on her way to the UK. Well when I arrived I was greeted by a wonderful sight.

In this picture you can see the dawn breaking, and the heat lamps in the bottom kennels are radiating their warmth onto the dogs. Yes, the days are sunny and bright, but the nights are still extremely cold. The lamps switch on and off automatically with the temperature, so it is a very efficient way to give comfort to the dogs.

Not much of a blog, but I really wanted to share this with you all.  This is your donations in action!

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make this possible. The dogs really appreciate it, that is for sure, as do all the staff and volunteers at the ScPA!

heated kennels SCPA Carcassonne

Heated kennels at work!