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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Big’s Big Day

Today we said goodbye for what we hope will be the final time, to yellow labrador cross Big. His life up till now has not been a happy one, and we are glad that his luck has finally changed. This lovely young lad arrived at the SPA in 2016 after having been found tied up in a ditch. He was rehomed quite quickly, but his new family was unable to look after this dog the way he deserved. The promised walks just never materialised and the family was absent far too often to make them suitable as dog owners, something they certainly hid from us when they came to adopt. Loving animals is not enough; you need time and dedication to look after them well.

Big was brought back some two weeks ago thanks to a SPA supporter and we resolved to do better for him next time. He has only just turned two, and it was about time he found a permanent place to rest his paws.

On our last Sunday open day a family came looking for a new companion. They are friends of volunteer Isa, which of course was a good sign. Their eyes fell on Big, and about an hour later, after a walk and lots of chat, the deal was struck. Since then it has been all hands to the pump, making their garden secure for this lovely lad.

This will be the first time Big has had a garden, to our knowledge, and we are sure he will love his new found freedom. We look forward to news and photos.

So a wonderful adoption on a Monday. What else will the week bring, we wonder!

One thing that is definitely happening is a photo competition, which you may have seen on our Facebook page. The basic principle is this: You come to the SPA on Saturday and take a photo of a refuge dog. You then send the photo to us and everyone gets to vote to choose a winner. The prize is a brief brush with fame and some dog treats! Plus, everyone who comes along can join other dog lovers for a drink.

If that appeals to you, come along on Saturday 26th between 2 and 6 pm!

pale yellow lab








Join us next Saturday for our photo contest!

Brothers Stick Together

Today we said goodbye to two more of our puppies. We are 99% sure that Zeus and Noe are brothers. Admittedly they did not arrive on the same day, but close enough, and although they were not found in the same place, again, close enough. And they look so alike in terms of build that any other explanation seems unlikely. However these brothers had had different lives before arriving, for sure. Zeus was semi-wild, unused to being handled  and terrifed of humans. Noe less so, meaning he probably had an owner, albeit a bad one.

In any case, the two dogs arrived in early to mid-June, and the work began! Thanks to staff, volunteers and other dogs, the pups have made incredible progress, and the moment when they started approaching humans for cuddles and walks was a very rewarding one for us all. Perhaps this can be equated to a toddler taking his first steps!

Today both brothers are off…adopted by two brothers! Yes, although the pups will have separate homes, they will see lots of each other, so the fun can continue!

Little Bolt did not find his home today, but the photos and videos that were taken will surely help his chances. As for Ness, she has only a few more days to wait before leaving for her new home

There were a couple of other reservations too, and a dog was reclaimed. Plus I believe that six cats were adopted, so perhaps people really are back from their holidays and looking to brighten their lives with a four-legged friend!

Brothers Noe and Zeus – ADOPTED (almost) together
brown and black puppyblack and tan puppy

And Two More!

With three adoptions yesterday was already a great day. But at the time of the blog, we did not know that in fact a fourth dog left the SPA! The adoption took place after 18H00, so we have to thank the staff once again for their dedication.

Baila had been homed once before but there were issues with the family’s cat. Her new family have cats too; 6 of them. But as Baila is always well-behaved in the SPA cat house, and her new family are determined to make it work, we are cautiously optimistic. In any case, it has been almost a year since Baila was brought back, and before that she had been at the SPA for nine months. And Baila is not even two and a half years old.  So cats or no cats, she deserves a chance. Please keep your fingers crossed that things finally work out for this lovely girl.

And today we had another adoption, this time of a puppy. Two almost identical black puppies arrived earlier this month having been found in a local village.  As athletics fans know, usually Bolt is first, but this time it is Blake’s turn, although admittedly few people can tell these pups apart. Angelique tells me it is all in the placement of the ears. In any case, the other pup, nominally Bolt, is still waiting, but if I know the SPA staff well, he will not be  alone. He and the other pups have been playing all day in the park, so although Bolt will be missing his brother, he doubtless has new playmates. Not as good as a home of his own, of course…..

Blake, whose photo is below, is also the poster child for the upcoming photograph competition taking place to celebrate the International Day of the Dog on 26th August.

Two more dogs are due to leave tomorrow, ending what has been the best week for some time.

pale beige lab cross









black pup

Three More Adoptions.

Three more adoptions today, so it looks like we really are are on a roll. Let’s hope it continues!

Yesterday a family came to the SPA to meet our big gentle giant, Haslan. He had been brought to the refuge in June needing an operation on his eye. This is why the early photos of him did not show him at his best, but now he really is a fabulous dog. What’s more he is wonderful on the lead and great with other dogs; what’s not to like! Promising to have a think and let us know, the family returned the very same day, and Haslan only had one night to wait before leaving his kennel!

We also said goodbye to Girly. Now this is a dog we could have rehomed a million times over. Slight exaggeration maybe, but she has certainly been one of our most popular dogs. Only a year old, beautiful and affectionate, as well as being well mannered on the lead, Girly simply must have had a loving home before coming to the SPA. Why oh why was she not identified? And why was no one looking for her? Or not looking for her in the right place, at least. In any case, that is all academic now, as Girly has a new home, and we are sure she will be very happy.

Third to leave was Goldy, and for this we have to thank one of our volunteers. Alison comes along from time to time with her little girl to walk dogs and give them treats. She adopted Moby from us not so long ago, and today she brought her brother along to meet Goldy. And of course he was smitten.

This lovely one year old shepherd cross arrived last month when her owner was unable to keep her for health reasons. But Goldy has a perfect CV, and we are delighted that she has found a home so soon. And best of all, we will get plenty of news.

We need more days like these!

Haslan – ADOPTED

big cane corse








pretty spaniel cross








Dog with woman and child

Three Adoptions – Let’s GO GO GO!!

As you know the SPA was open yesterday, and although there were no adoptions, there were plenty of dog walks and quite a few people visiting on the hunt for a new four-legged friend.

Two of them, Olivia and husband Andrew had been looking for a small sociable dog for some time, and although they had a period of overnight reflection, both freely admit that they had decided yesterday that Lasko was the one for them. This little jack russell cross was brought to the SPA earlier this year when his owners moved house. They tried to home him themselves, but it had not worked out and Lasko found himself tied up all day long. This was the last thing most dogs want, but particularly such a young and active lad.

Lasko’s luck has definitely changed for the better and we wish him loads of fun in his new life in the New Forest!

Today also saw the adoption of Linkin. This is just wonderful news, as this dog arrived in a pretty bad state less than a month ago, and the fact that he was looking well enough to attract a new family is testament yet again to the wonderful work done by the SPA. Linkin went straight to the vet on arrival, his fur was literally crawling with fleas, and he was covered in bald patches  and scars, which turned out to be flea- related, as opposed to the leishmaniasis which was initially suspected. Wherever he had come from, he was not well looked after.

He is looking great now, but is having an operation on his hip later this week. His new family are going to let him convalesce at home with them. Lucky dog!

And we had a third adoption too, that of Puma. This lovely border collie had been with us since the end of July, when she and her pal Rocky were brought in looking very sorry for themselves and unidentified. Three weeks later and Puma is off for a new life, and we hope Rocky will have the same luck soon. Puma was adopted without the help of the wonderful photos taken by Alizee yesterday, but perhaps they will help Rocky find happiness.

So three adoptions and more due tomorrow!

Lasko – ADOPTED and on his way home









Linkin – ADOPTED

golden coloured spaniel











border collie


Adoptions of Jekyll and Lilo

We had two adoptions today, one of a recent arrival and one of a long-termer!

First to leave was Lilo, a small but lively spaniel cross. She only arrived at the SPA a month or so ago, and has been a real hit with everyone, canine and human alike. It is great that she hasn’t had long to wait before finding a new home.

Jekyll had much longer to wait. Eighteen months, in fact. And this was not his first time at the SPA, either.  He was returned to the SPA in February of last year for escaping from his owner’s garden. Other than that he was perfect, great on the lead, affectionate, good with other dogs and so, so handsome. Hard to understand why it took him so long to find his new home.

But his luck changed when a family spotted him. Their plan was to wait till after their holiday before collecting him, but a change of plans (and impatience to collect their new pal) means that Jekyll left earlier than expected. This is excellent news for him, and we wish him loads of love and fun in his new home.

Little Popeye who arrived on Saturday was reunited with his owners, which was good news for him. However as the SPA had spoken to them on Saturday, one has to wonder what took them so long. I am sure that most of us would rush to be reunited with our dogs, especially knowing they were alone and scared in a concrete kennel.

Finally, despite the fact that tomorrow is a national holiday in France, a group of volunteers has decided to open the refuge anyway. The animals will appreciate the company, and even if there are no adoptions, at least there will be some walking done. Why not come to see us if you have no other plans. Or even if you do, as Jekyll’s new owners have shown, plans can be changed!

The donations keep arriving for Cliona, thanks to everyone. She was looking much better this morning; back on her feet and happier all round. Things are looking up!

Black and white spaniel










Jekyll – ADOPTED

black and brown dog looking quizzical

Moovy and Flip are adopted.

Today we said goodbye to two more dogs!

First to leave was little Moovy. This pup arrived exactly ten days ago, and we were sure that she would be a big hit. Yesterday a family came to meet her and had only one more day to wait before this little German shepherd cross pup was legally allowed to leave. And bang on the dot of 2pm they were at the SPA ready to take their new  little girl to a new life. And we already know the family; they adopted a puppy from us four years ago, meaning Moovy will have a playmate, as well.

Second to leave was little Flip. He is now part of what we should perhaps call the Swedish connection. He is the third dog to leave to Swedish families this year. Billy left a month or so ago (and is now happily living in Sigtuna) and  of course in April Bird (now Ajax) left with a Swedish woman, although she lives here in France. Ajax’s  mum and Flip’s new mum are friends, and thus the connection was made.

Flip arrived at the beginning of May in a terrified state, but he has made huge progress thanks to the staff, the volunteers and also to his kennel-mate, Dylan. In the calm of a tiny Swedish village his progress will be even quicker, and we look forward to news and pictures of him with his new canine and human friends. Many thanks to Carla for making the long drive to collect her boy. It is a long way, but if the dog is right, the distance doesn’t matter!

Finally there has been much discussion about Cliona, who arrived at the SPA yesterday. If you see a dog in this condition, please don’t just turn your back. This dog clearly needed help. There is no excuse for leaving an animal to wander in this state for weeks, not in a modern European society. Thanks to the people who made sure she arrived at the SPA; without you she would doubtless have died. Cliona has a severe infection of the uterus and will have a major operation to remove her tumours (which are a result of her not having been sterilised, incidentally), but we hope she will make it through and eventually find a new home.

GSD pup













brindle coloured dog










Cliona – victim of ambivalence

labrador with enormous tumours









Adoptions of Austin and Whisky

Well towards the end of what has been a pretty grim week (yes, another), we have two adoptions to tell you about.

Fabulous Austin arrived on July 1st thanks to a family who had found him straying. They had small children and so we could see straight away that Austin was good with kids, which often helps with a rehoming. The vet estimated that he was about 18 months old, and, as with so many of our dogs, it is a mystery where he has been up to now. Austin immediately set about winning hearts, and being so easy on the lead was often out on walks.

Earlier in the week a family came to meet him and see how he got on with a dog who visits them from time to time. We love it when people think ahead like this. As Austin had been living alone at the SPA, we weren’t sure how he would react. So a SPA employee accompanied them on a walk where the two dogs could intereact.

This is just one of many ways we can help you choose the right dog. We are very disappointed at the number of dogs who have been returned to the SPA recently often because their new owners have refused to listen to advice when at the SPA. Please do not just blindly follow your heart when adopting a dog. Listen to people who know the dog or the breed, and please allow some time for any animal, dog, cat or anything else, to adapt to you and your home.

As for Austin, if he is anywhere near as loved and happy as was the family’s last dog (also from the SPA), he is a very lucky boy indeed! Many thanks to his new family.

Today also saw a change in fortune for Whisky! He is another dog who was adopted from us when he was young and brought back in April, at the age of seven, when his owners wanted to move on with their lives. He has been very unhappy at the SPA, unsurprisingly. It has been horrible to hear him barking forlornly in his kennel. We gave him as much love as we could while he was with us, but of course it could not replace a real home. Now he has a new family and we are all delighted for him.

Tomorrow there should be at least one adoption to tell you about, so perhaps the week is not such a disaster after all.

shepherd cross










Small black lab

Fido’s Day!

Today Fido left the SPA for the second time. The first time was some seven years ago, when he was  a puppy. But he was brought back early last month by his owner who claimed to no longer have the financial means to look after his dog. Naturally we offered to help out with food etc, but our offer was refused. Strange, really, as Fido is not unwell and so there was no ongoing vet treatment. All in all, as reasons for abandoning a dog go, it was pretty poor.

Fido is a lovely dog, too. Completely socialised, great with other dogs and always happy to have a cuddle, he has been busy helping shy boy Darby out with his confidence. We will have to find a new kennel mate for Darby now, as lovely Fido has a wonderful new home.

Another dog left too. A dog whom we named Chicken Run was reclaimed after almost two weeks. He is identified now, of course, but thanks to Facebook his owners have known since day one that he was at the SPA. This is far too long to leave a dog behind bars. It is not fair on the refuge, which is getting full, and it is far from fair on the dog. We would have been perfectly entitled to let this boy be adopted, as the pound time ends after ten days. Yes, we know that people lead busy lives, but something could have been arranged between the owners and the wonderful staff and volunteers to get this dog back home with his owners had they wished. Especially as Chicken Run has been extremely unhappy with us, refusing to eat and lying around miserably. We are glad he has finally left.

So two dogs out on a Monday….


Shepherd cross









Chicken Run – RECLAIMED


Sunday Adoption of Amy

Today was our regular first Sunday of the month open day at the SPA, and the temperatures were a lot cooler following last night’s very welcome rains. Yes, it has been a bit uncomfortable recently, with  lots of hot sweaty beasts wandering round with their tongues hanging out; and I am not talking about the dogs!

Thanks very much to all of you who have donated swimming  and paddling pools, the dogs LOVE them and they make a huge difference to their quality of life.

So, what did today bring? Well, apart from a lot of lovely walks, today meant a new home for Amy. This gentle and elegant dog was brought in towards the end of June following the death of her owner. Amy had been loved and well looked after her whole life, and her owner would never have intended for her to arrive at the SPA. No, he was not one of those people who dump their dogs at the gates with a pathetic excuse. However Amy is a fairly big dog, and was 9 years old when she arrived. Would she find love again?

She was made the DRC urgent appeal, and caught the eye of Marie and Andrew who live several hours from Carcassonne, but who were prepared to travel for the right dog. And after many exchanges by phone and email, they decided that yes, Amy was the one. Today they made the journey to meet their new girl, and Amy’s new life began.

The other prospective adoption did not take place due to the age-old problem…cats! The dog in question is fine with cats, but the family’s resident moggy was not at all impressed. So in the interests of peace and quiet, Max will stay at the SPA for the time being.

On the subject of cats, August 8th is International Cat Day, and if you would like to read more about that, why not visit the SPA Carcassonne Chats page on Facebook?

chocolate lab cross