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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Quiet day at the SPA, but DRC busy online!

Today was a very quiet day at the SPA, with just one dog, a little bichon, arriving and being reclaimed. And a beauceron,  whose worried owners came to see us yesterday to look for their dog was found safe and sound. So that is two happy families (and dogs), today. Another happy dog is Toffee (ex-Farage), a photo of whom we received this morning. He has fitted in well with his pack and Shirley is delighted with her new pal.

Not much going on at the SPA, so I will take this opportunity to announce that today Dog Rescue Carcassonne launched its new “For Sales” page on Facebook. It is easy enough to find; just tap “Dog Rescue Carcassonne For Sales Page” in the search bar. As you can see, there are quite a few items on there already, and all money raised will be used to help the dogs at the SPA. There are great ideas for customised Christmas gifts, as well as all-year-round treasures, such as the amazing tiles painted by Jan from a photo you send her. I have three and I think Moira has lost count of how many she has ordered! They make great gifts.

Another big seller is sure to be the lovely Christmas glasses made by Anna. It makes me realise what an incredibly talented bunch of people we have…I hasten to add that I am responsible for none of the creativity at all; however I am a pretty reliable customer!

All items can be ordered by sending a private message to the page or to our email address (website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk). Please bear in mind that if items are custom made, you may have to wait for delivery, but usually not for long.

We will also have these and other items for sale at our upcoming Christmas market stall in Carcassonne, details to be announced. We are all very excited and hope that we make lots of money for the SPA!

Toffee- Ex Farage and now pin-up pooch!









Harris Tweed cushions – can be made to order








Customised hand painted canal tiles













Christmas glasses



Open Day Sunday and some good news from Belgium!

Today was another beautiful day in Carcassonne and the SPA was open! Plenty of volunteers came to walk the dogs and we even had cupcakes thanks to Lucie and her clan! We had lots of visitors, and many of them were interested in certain dogs, although no reservations we made. Hopefully some adoptions will follow, however!

Thanks also to everyone who brought along donations in the form of food and other treats.

With all the building work going on at the SPA, the parking area resembles a cross country course, and I salute everyone who managed to squeeze their cars in between bollards and other obstacles to find a place to park. I am happy that my car is so small!

In other news, we heard from Animal Trust this morning. It is one week ago exactly since the latest group of SPA Carcassonne arrived there, and already two of them have been adopted!

Sparo, who had been at the SPA since April 2013, now has a family with three children, a large enclosed garden and a “mum” who is at home all day. Meanwhile rottweiler Hurley (at the SPA for 14 months) has gone to a family with two children and three cats. At first he barked at the cats, because he thought that was his job, but now he just ignores them. Once again I am amazed at how quickly our “long-termers” are adopted when they can be seen by a different audience.

Many thanks again to Eline and Kevin at Animal Trust. We await news of “our” other dogs. Let’s hope their turn comes quickly too!

Sparo – ADOPTED from Animal Trust









Hurley – ADOPTED from Animal Trust


Let’s be careful out there!

I hope everyone has had a lovely relaxing day. It was very strange for me and my fellow volunteers to not be at the SPA this afternoon; this was the first Saturday for literally years that I have been in Carcassonne at a weekend without being at the refuge. I and many others are looking forward to making up for it tomorrow. We miss the dogs, the dogs miss us!

My walk this morning was punctuated even more that usual by the sound of gunfire, so I thought tonight’s blog would discuss briefly the joys of “la chasse” and how best to protect yourself and your animals during the season. Dates for “la chasse” vary from region to region, so it is worth checking locally to see when you are likely to risk coming under fire, but one thing is for certain, November 1st is a big day in the hunter’s calendar.

I am not going to go into the rights and wrongs of hunting, nor into the conditions in which some (not all) hunters keep their dogs. It is what it is, and until things change, the best we can do is to try to ensure that neither we nor our dogs are unfortunate casualties.

Before a walk I ensure that I am wearing bright coloured clothing, and that each of my dogs is wearing a bell around his neck. These “clochettes” can be bought in stores such as Decathlon, and can be attached to a collar using a cable tie. It is surprising how well the sound from these carries, especially from the oval “Swiss cow bell” type ones. Even if a hunter is unable to pinpoint exactly where my dogs are, he will at least know that dogs are in the area and that he should be extra careful as to where he is aiming. One of my dogs is about the size of a hare and has the same colouring, so he has an orange vest to keep him extra safe. In addition I have been known to sing and/or whistle as I walk through the forest. The singing has the added benefit of scaring off any other wildlife that may be at risk!

One of my dogs is an ex-chasse dog and is terrified of gunfire (hence being dumped at the SPA, I am sure), and she can usually smell the hunters even before I have heard anything. She hangs near my legs (she used to bolt for home, so we are making progress), which acts as my early warning system.
If I can see from the collected vehicles that a big organised hunt is underway, then I simply choose a different route.

Much as it would be nice to think that the presence of a lone walker with dogs would be enough to stop a hunt from going ahead, this is simply not realistic, and ultimately our safety and that of our dogs has to be the priority.

There have been 179 hunting accidents in France over the past year, 21 of them fatal, according to the ONCFS (The National Office for Hunting and Wildlife). As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there!”

Please don’t forget that the SPA is open for its regular “first Sunday of the month” afternoon tomorrow, and we hope to see lots of people there.

A bell can save your dog’s life









Fluorescent jackets can be useful too! Especially if your dog looks like a hare!













Wise words from Sergeant Phil Esterhaus

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Two Hallowe’en arrivals.

In yesterday’s blog I forgot to mention the adoption of another dog who also left on Wednesday. So if a time machine were invented, the blog would have been entitled “Three adoptions and no arrivals”. However  better late than never.

You may find it strange that I was not aware of this, but to be honest with over 100 dogs at the refuge and with several at the vet each afternoon and others out on walks, it is easy not to know that a dog is “missing”. Or not missing so much as HAPPY, which is much better!

We all wish a happy new life to Black. Hooray! This little lad had arrived just over a month ago at the age of some seven months, and clearly fell into the “not quite pup” category. Luckily he did not have too long to wait before finding his new home.

We had two new arrivals today, which was not so good. I hope it is not people going away for the weekend and using us as a free kenneling service. This has happened before, sadly. The German Shepherd is in fact chipped, but (guess what?) the details are not up to date at the central registry in Paris.  In any case, at least he and the setter who also arrived, are safe and will be fed. Hopefully their owners will come back soon.

Please note that the SPA is shut tomorrow as it is All Saints Day. However, the following day is the first Sunday of the month, so we will be open. YAY!! Please bear in mind that no adoptions will take place on Sunday, as the SPA will be manned by volunteers only. However you are welcome to come along and meet the dogs and cats and reservations can be made. And of course walks will be taking place. The weather forecast is good, so why not make the most of the summer sunshine and come along!

Happy Hallowe’en for tonight, everyone; happy All Saints day for tomorrow and hope to see lots of you on Sunday!












New arrival












And another









Happy Hallowe’en










And happy All Saints Day

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Two adoptions and no arrivals, but RIP Thérèse.

We have received the first photograph of Farage in England, meeting his new mum. Another successful handover, and as Moira said, we have transport going to the UK in early December, so don’t let geography come between you and the dog of your dreams!

Yesterday saw the adoption of Enigma, the second of the beagle pups. This leaves just Tara in terms of very young pups, although inevitably we have several dogs who have outgrown the initial “cute puppy” stage and have sadly been abandoned at the SPA, or more frequently dumped in the middle of nowhere and brought in. I hate to see young dogs growing up behind bars. I hate to see ANY dog behind bars, but it is heart-breaking to know that dogs are missing out on valuable socialisation time, usually due to irresponsible breeding.

The other adoption was that of Prosper, who had been adopted once already and brought back due to his inability to share the affection of his owners with the other family dog. Although he shares quite happily at the SPA, strangely enough. This time he had been waiting since mid-April, and as he will have his seventh birthday next month, this is quite a long wait. However I am sure he thinks it was worth it, as he has a lovely new family with three children and NO DOGS. We are confident that this time it is for ever!

Today at the SPA there were no adoptions, but equally there were no arrivals. However there were lots of walks. So it was a good day. For those of you not in the Carcassonne area, we are still in T-shirts down here and the temperature is still in the mid-20s. We know it can’t last forever, but we and the dogs are making the most of it while we can!

Finally and a propos of yesterday’s blog, I would just like to talk briefly about Thérèse, a dog who was adopted from the SPA two and half years ago. She was one of the “plump brigade” and although we did our best to help her lose weight, with over a hundred dogs to walk, it was not easy. Very sadly she died a month ago of renal failure (she was no spring chicken when she was adopted, and the extra weight will not have helped with her health problems). Her owners came to visit us on Tuesday to tell us the sad news and we all had a little cry together. Thérèse was one of my favourite dogs, and I am so pleased to hear how much her family adored her right until her last day. It was humbling to hear that despite all they had done for Thérèse, they still felt that she had given them far more than they had given her. If only all our dogs could be this lucky. And yes, before you ask, once she was out of the SPA and having regular walks, the weight dropped off her no problems.

Maybe we should have an “adopt a fatty” campaign?!

Enigma – ADOPTED











Tara – Why am I left behind? 









Prosper- ADOPTED











And beautiful Thérèse. Loved till her last breath.


A week is a long time to be away…

As you know, Moira’s day got off to a very early start, as she drove Farage to meet with his personal “chauffeur” for the rest of his journey to the UK. She is probably asleep by now, but luckily I am just back from a business trip and am able to take over the blog. It was strange being away and reading the news via the blog every evening, so I was pleased to get back to the refuge this afternoon and catch up with my own eyes.

One of the last blogs I wrote before I left was on the jubilant day when both Lucky and Chips were adopted. Well, sadly both dogs are now back at the SPA. Lucky you will be aware of, as Moira mentioned it in her blog; his period of family life was very short and was due to the fact that he is a “runner”. This is a very common reason, perhaps THE most common reason why dogs are abandoned. Without even looking at the photos, I can think of at least 20 dogs who are at the SPA for that reason. One of these is the longest-term resident, Chico, who will have been at the SPA for three years next month.

A future blog will discuss how to deal with dogs that run away; it is far from being an unsurmountable problem in the majority of cases. It does require some work, however, and if you are not prepared to put in any effort than there are some breeds whom it is best to avoid. In fact if you are not willing to put in any effort, then maybe you shouldn’t adopt a dog at all!

Chips’s return is due to his hyper-attachment, which means that he is simply unable to be left alone. His adopter is devastated, but the destruction wrought on his home while he is away is just not tolerable. Every failed adoption, however sad for the dog (and in this case the owner, although I usually have far more sympathy for the dog!) teaches us something. We now know that Chips needs someone who is at home for all, or at least most of the day, or someone who has another dog. Let’s hope that this was not Chips’s one and only chance to be adopted.

Of course the biggest change I noticed was the absence of the two longest term residents, as both Zina and Todd have left in the week that I have been away. Never give up hope, doggies, we will find a home for each and every one of you!

There was one adoption that took place yesterday, but was missed out in all the excitement of Farage’s departure. But it is a great adoption and we are delighted…..Bandit, a lovely Rottweiler who had been at the refuge since December 2013 was adopted! That is three categorised dogs who have left the SPA in the past week! Of course the other Rottie, Hurley, went to Animal Trust, but Bandit’s new owners, who incidentally are also the adopters of Bones and are great friends of volunteer Veronique got the paperwork to own a “dangerous dog” done in record time.

There was a new arrival today, a fabulous and young golden retriever. He will find a home very quickly, I am sure, as he is fine with other dogs and cats and is very well trained.

A week seems like a long time to be away, and a lot has happened; but most of it is good. Maybe I should go away more often!

Farage all snuggled down on his journey











Bandit – ADOPTED










New arrival, information to come.

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Sunday snippets

Tonight’s blog is a bit of a mixed bag; the refuge is shut, as you know, so an update from there will wait till tomorrow. But as usual there is plenty of other stuff going on.

Firstly, the scores on the doors: the fundraising event in Puivert will result in the DRC coffers swelling by some 500 euros, which is great news. We have dogs moving to Animal Trust in Belgium soon, and this money will pay transport costs and rabies vaccinations. Great work , one and all!

Okay, second piece of news. Teddy, a former SPA dog has been lost for some two weeks. He has been spotted in the environs of Limoux, but his new owners live in Villefloure, so he could be just about anywhere. A dog of his size can cover a lot of ground. Teddy is a lovely affectionate boy; do not be afraid to approach him if you see him, he may lick you a bit, but no more than that. His owner is very concerned, as are we.

Lost dog news number two: Moira found a little teckel in Bram today. He is wearing a plastic chasse type collar and may just be lost. He will be taken to the vet in Bram tomorrow to see if anyone recognises him (and who knows, he may even be micro-chipped). For now he is safe chez Moira, and is getting on fine with her two dogs. We have named him Bramble because he was found in Bram and has wiry fur!

Okay, now to the nice bit. Who remembers Derek, who was the subject of a home-to-home adoption last week. Well he has settled in really well and his new family say they cannot believe how quickly he has become part of their life. It feels like he has been with them forever! Great news!

And finally here is a picture of three ex SPA dogs, playing together. Edith is the happy owner of Othello and Desdemona (aka Tello and Desi), and this week she is also looking after Bertie, the Podenco. They are all looking very stressed in this photo, as you can see! We like pictures like these. The more happy dogs there are, the happier we are!

Have you seen this bear? Teddy is lost!










Bramble- at Moira’s tonight, but we need to find his owner!












Derek happy and loved in his new home












And Tello, Desi and Bertie all asleep chez Edith



A “Lucky” day for Chips!

Today has been a busy one. This morning was the DRC/Twilight fundraiser at Puivert, which was very enjoyable and we were blessed with fabulous sunshine, meaning that we were able to spill out onto the market square. The final totals are not in, but it seems as if quite a lot of money was raised. Many thanks to all of you who came along and particularly to the organisers. It takes a lot of work to set up an event like this, so huge thanks all round. The hit of the day was the new Dog Rescue Carcassonne bags, proudly modelled below by Moira. The plan is to sell these either empty, as today, or filled up with books! Watch this space, or get in touch if you would like to own one! All proceeds go to DRC, and hence to the dogs at the SPA.

The afternoon at the refuge was very good for three dogs who found homes. The times they have been waiting varied from over 2 years to less than 2 months. I bet you are dying to know….so if the blog title hasn’t given the game away, here goes!

Chips arrived in August 2012, and for him it has been a question of “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”. I forget how many dogs he has shared his kennel with, each one being adopted and leaving him behind. However about a month ago a young man came to the refuge with a plan to adopt a puppy when he moved from his apartment to a house. The volunteers worked their magic and the benefits of a mature adult were explained. Sure enough, it was love at first sight when he saw Chips, and since that day, Chips has been out on many an excursion so the bonding could begin. The two of them have been to the Lac de la Cavayere for a swim, and for many long walks.

Today was the big day, and Chips left the SPA at last. On the very same day that his new owner moved house. A busy day for them too, then!

Anther lucky boy was Lucky himself. He has been at the refuge for one year minus ten days! He caught the eye of a woman today and he too left for a new home. Lucky is now 2 and a half years old, and has done a lot of growing up at the SPA. He is now much calmer on the lead and we have the employees and volunteers to thank for that, clearly. Regular exercise helps dogs to learn better manners, as well as helping us to get to know them better so we can match them up with new prospective families.

The third dog to leave was Pulco, a beautiful mannered young setter cross. Of the three he was the luckiest, as he had only been at the SPA since the end of August. Although to be honest I think Chips is probably feeling like he is the luckiest dog in the world tonight!

It is never all good news, though, and we have two new arrivals, in addition to the little girl who arrived yesterday. But perhaps that can wait till tomorrow. For tonight, let’s thank the Fundraising team and raise a glass, real or metaphorical, to the happiness of Chips, Lucky and Pulco!

“Bag lady” Moira!

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Lucky – ADOPTED (after almost one year exactly)

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And Chips – ADOPTED after 26 months. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!

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Bobby goes home and Get Well Soon Tyson!

A rather strange story has come to a happy conclusion today after nearly two months. On a Saturday in late August, just before the SPA closed for the evening, a dog was brought in having supposedly been found in Carcassonne. A series of exchanges via Facebook subsequently showed that the people who brought the dog to the refuge had been “looking after it” for a friend. We had wondered, as they seemed very at ease with what was clearly an extremely nervous dog, but with nothing else to go on, we had to take their word for it.

When Bobby’s owner contacted us, we were happy for him to collect his dog, but it was not until today that he did so. By this time Bobby had been vaccinated and identified, neither of which was the case before. So perhaps all of this is good news for Bobby, providing his owner chooses more reliable “friends” with whom to leave his dog the next time he goes away, that is!

That was not the strangest thing to happen today, however. We have been asked to try to find the owner of an exotic reptile, which is being looked after at the vets, having been found in Carcassonne. I don’t know where it was found, or even what it is. I don’t even know if such beasts are legal in France and whether or not we will be asked to home him if his owners aren’t found. But in any case, perhaps one of you can shed some light on things. Personally I hope it is a girl so we can call her Lizzie…..

There was a new arrival at the SPA, I will try to get photos of her tomorrow. And on the subject of photos, look at this lovely montage done by Panach’s sponsor. What a great way to help find a home for your favourite dog! Panach is a real beauty, very calm and gentle for such a young dog, particularly one who was thrown out as part of an unwanted litter. He will be a great family dog, I am sure.

Volunteers (and employees) of long-standing will remember Tyson, the very first dog who went to Animal Trust. He had a nasty accident today when he was nearly killed by a car. He has a perforated lung, a whole in his stomach and two broken legs. However his devoted owner got him to the vet in record time, and he is expected to make a complete recovery. They put it down to his good overall health and fitness, but also his strong French blood! Adopt a dog from the SPA Carcassonne. Best dogs in the world!

Finally, please do not forget the fundraising event at Puivert tomorrow. The team has been busy setting things up all day today, and a good time will be had by all, I am sure. And hopefully lots of money will be raised too.

Bobby – RECLAIMED after two months








Anyone recognise this beast?








A lovely montage for a lovely dog. Panach wants a home!









Get Well Soon Tyson



Two dogs leave and Arrival of Peking Duck!

I hope yesterday’s visitor does not mind me quoting what she said on the DRC website last night:

“What a big decision we have to make! I could quite easily have come home with a whole pack of dogs. I think my four year old may be making the decision for us though! If anyone is thinking of getting a dog please consider this place they have over 100 hundred dogs at the moment, all desperate for a home. Moira was a great help and was happy to spend most of her afternoon introducing us to dogs, answering our questions and making sure you go home with the right dog”.

Anyway the decision has been made, and whereas we don’t usually tell you who has been reserved, we are breaking our rule on this occasion, as so many people are interested in her. Fanny is the lucky girl and will be leaving next week. She was at the SPA for 10 days before anyone paid her the slightest bit of attention, and in fact was only “noticed” when we posted photographs of her in the arms of an employee on the way to the vet to be vaccinated. As soon as these were published on Facebook we had numerous enquiries about her, and several people wished to reserve her “sight unseen” or come to visit her.

All this to say that there are some wonderful dogs at the SPA, it is worth popping in if you are nearby and keeping an eye on our Facebook page. But please do not discount a dog because he or she is not small white and fluffy, as in the case of Fanny. The other dog yesterday’s family was considering was Flint, a lively spaniel who is wonderful with children, and who has been waiting for a new home for over 6 months.

If you want to adopt a dog ask to meet them, they may just surprise you once they are no longer behind bars!

We did have an adoption yesterday, a female spaniel who snuck in under the radar and was adopted without even appearing on Facebook! Thus proving my point!

Today we had an adoption, that of Quincy, who has been waiting for quite long time, despite being small. He leaves behind his beloved lifetime companion Quirk, which is sad, but we will soon find him a new buddy to play with.

On the subject of Buddies, Buddy the boxer was reclaimed today. This was a complicated case, as the dog was 4 years old, and was microchipped, but his chip had never been registered in Paris, due to an oversight by the vet. So apart from publicising his photo on the internet, there was not much we could do. However the publicity paid off, and this lovely dog left today.

We have two new dogs on the premises; one a Pekinese cross, whom we have named Duck (sorry!), and a beautiful shepherd cross was abandoned at the age of one year. She is called Sora and is great with other dogs and children, but not cats. She had just started sharing nicely with Buddy when he was reclaimed, but in any case I have a feeling she will not be with us for long.

Numbers even, but by recent standards it was a good day!


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New arrival- DUCK

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New arrival – Sora

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