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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Seven more arrivals, and how YOU can help!

Usually at this time of year things start looking up at the SPA. Holiday season has finished, kids are back at school, and usually the adoptions re-start after a typically busy summer. This year there appears to be no let up and the dogs just keep on arriving. We have no idea why. But we wish it wasn’t the case.

Today seven more dogs arrived, and there were no adoptions. Two of the arrivals are puppies who were found in Trebes yesterday. They are unlikely to be reclaimed and are doubtless the result of an unwanted litter. Then there is Caramel, an eight year old levrier cross, Jimmy a four and a half year old lab cross (who is identified) and Black, a young griffon cross.

I have no idea about the two other  new arrivals, as I was not at the SPA, however tomorrow we will try and get photos so that we can try and track down their owners, or failing that (most likely), start looking for new homes for them.

I know many of you would love to help out, but, like me, you are unable to adopt. That could be because (like me) you already have what many people would consider to be too many dogs (only four in my case!), or perhaps because you way of life is not suitable. But there are many other ways you can help. For one, you can spread the word amongst your friends. Tell people about the SPA Carcassonne and the efforts we make to look after our dogs.

We are proud of our policy of no euthanasia due to lack of space. However in order to achieve this, we have to have adoptions. Otherwise it does not work. The refuge walls are not made of elastic.

You can speak to people about the benefits of castration and sterilisation. Nothing fills up the SPA quicker than litters of unwanted puppies. And what do puppies become? Yes, adult dogs! Usually untrained and often left alone to fend for themselves, like the two from Trebes today.

You can make sure your own animals are identified.  At least that way should they ever arrive at the SPA or another refuge, you can be contacted and your dog will not be at risk of being adopted by someone else (which can happen at the SPA Carcassonne) or euthanised (which can happen in many other refuges, due to lack of space).

You can also “sponsor a dog”. This can mean anything from creating posters to “advertise” the dog and help attract people to him, hopefully resulting in his catching someone’s eye. Or you can buy “your” dog useful gifts, such as tick and flea treatments, or a nice collar. Some people even pay for “their” dog to be castrated, which can make him more sociable and usually easier to home, or at least able to mix with another dog while he is waiting at the SPA.

And if you are driving anywhere, why not let us know? We have several dogs about to make long journeys and we can often make use of lifts, if you don’t mind a hairy passenger in your car! People going back to the UK from the Carcassonne area are particularly useful, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if this is you. And don’t worry, we won’t fill your car with a huge beast if space is restricted, we have dogs of all shapes and sizes looking for homes!

Please help out any way you can!

New arrivals, stray pups, Panache and Diabolo.













New arrival – eight year old Caramel












New arrival – Jimmy













New arrival – Black












Look at this fabulous montage done by Gordon’s sponsor!


Three new arrivals and pictures of a happy Sam!

Today it was time to take photos of the new arrivals in an attempt to let as many people as possible know that they are with us in case their owners are looking for them.

So first we have Balou. Now we know that his owners are not looking for him as he was found in one of the external boxes, together with his vaccination book. That is a clear indication that this dog is no longer wanted and clear indication that his owners have trouble accepting their responsibilities. The least they could do is walk him through the gate and tell us a bit about their pet’s character to help us find him the best possible new home. Oh, and before you ask, no, of course his vaccinations are not up to date!

Next we have Berry, a female pinscher who may well have a home. She is small and lively and pretty cute, all in all. Even if no one is looking for her, I am sure she will find a home soon.

Hot on her heels was Tan, a carbon copy of Berry but in a lovely brown colour. He too should find a home with no trouble once his ten days “pound time” is up.

So not the best news we could have, as there were no adoptions today. However there is always something to cheer us up, especially as by nature we have to be optimists (otherwise we would go mad!). So today we have some photos of a very special recent adoption.

Look at Sam! He was adopted a couple of weeks ago by Fred and Margaret, great DRC supporters. Sam (formerly known as Jam, due to a typing error) has just blossomed. He loves his girlfriend Flossie and is getting along really well, despite being completely blind. As with the recent news from Belgium, adoptions like this help to remind us why we do what we do.

Just what the doctor ordered, especially when numbers of both cats and dogs at the SPA seem to be going ever upwards.

Balou – nearly 5 years old and abandoned












New arrival – Berry

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New arrival Tan

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But to raise morale, pictures of a very happy Sam









And here with Margaret and Flossie



More great news from Belgium, plus some special visitors!

There was an adoption yesterday, that of puppy Sakura. Great news, although it was overshadowed by yet more good news from Animal Trust.

Carlo has been adopted! He had been at the SPA for over 2 and a half years, without anyone showing the slightest interest in him (apart from the employees and volunteers, of course). Then less than two weeks after arriving at Animal Trust, he has been adopted. This is the benefit of working with associations in other countries, where breeds that are commonplace in France make a bit of a splash. Thank you so much Animal Trust. Apparently Carlo will be living with a recently retired couple and will have loads of walks, as they are very active and have plenty of time to devote to this lovely boy.

Something else has been happening this weekend which has brought a smile to lots of faces. Phil and Anita came to visit the region, bringing their four hounds with them. Three of them came from the SPA, and it was fabulous to see them. The last time they came was 2 years ago, to show the progress made by Gwen, they ended up finding a stray dog whom they had no option but to bring to the SPA. But big softies that they are, they subsequently adopted her, and later adopted Luxor (now Luther, aka Doofus).

So with Harvey, the only “English” dog of the bunch (although he too, is a French breed), it was a mass arrival of French hounds. Volunteer Val was able to see her beloved Gwen (whom she fostered for several months before Gwen was rehomed), and they all spent an evening at my place, which meant eight dogs! It was great, with lots of racing around and playing from the youngsters, and lots of chilling and lounging around by the older dogs (Yessa is now eleven years old).

They are all travelling in their camper van, and Phil and Anita say they get some strange looks when they emerge with their dogs in tow. But like all good dog lovers, they just don’t care!

So not a bad weekend, with the wonderful news from Belgium, and visits from old friends, both human and canine.

What we need now is lots more adoptions from the SPA!  Let’s hope next week is a good one!

Sakura – ADOPTED













Carlo – homed thanks to Animal Trust. His long wait is finally over!








Reunion time- Val sees Gwen again. Front to back Harvey, Yessa, Gwen and Luther (ex Luxor)

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Phil and Anita. Happy hound owners and great SPA supporters

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And look at how happy Gwen is!





Adoption of Calie in Belgium!!!

The first news of today actually arrived shortly after I blogged yesterday, so although it is now 24 hours old, it is still newsworthy. Again we have Animal Trust to thank and incredibly this time it was Calie who was adopted.

As many of you know, in France Rottweilers are “categorised” dogs, which means they need special permits and lots of paperwork. This is costly, and inevitably (and understandably) puts many people off. No such laws exist in Belgium, however, so when Animal Trust offered to take Calie we were delighted. She had been with us since December 2012, losing her best buddy, Amos to old age during her time at the SPA and learning to live with various other dogs but only if they were Rottweilers. In Belgium she would be able to go for walks; in France due to insurance issues she was only allowed to play in the parks and then only when the refuge was shut.

Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that she would be adopted so soon! Calie is now 7 and a half years old and has gone to live with a young man who wanted a gentle, calm older dog. And that is exactly what he has got!

More news from Animal Trust, but not so good this time. Canaille has been rather overdoing things in the play parks, and has ruptured his cruciate ligament. He needs an operation and Animal Trust are asking for donations. Their bank details are IBAN BE17 7330 5656 9521 (BIC KREDBEBB) and if you are able to help, please state “support Canaille” on any communication so they know what the money is for.  Dog Rescue Carcassonne will be making a donation, of course!

As I left the refuge this evening, just before closing time, there were several people still looking at dogs, so maybe I will have some catch up news tomorrow. But as of now, we have had one reservation and one dog abandoned.

We had one dog, the lovely Douce, who was reclaimed thanks to her microchip, and an identified dog is ALWAYS good news, as far as we are concerned.  And who knows, maybe there will be some more good news to come.

Calie – ADOPTED thanks to  Animal Trust









Canaille needs our help









Layka – 10 years old and with one eye, abandoned today

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Douce- reclaimed thanks to her microchip!

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Four dog Friday!

There was a time when we could expect great things from the start of the weekend, with blogs entitled “Five dog Friday” and so on. Nowadays just having one adoption seems miraculous. So I personally would have been reasonably happy with today’s first miracle; the adoption of Cola! This is a fabulous dog, who much to my surprise had been at the refuge for nearly four months before being adopted. On photos she looked like a big girl, and it was only when you saw her in real life or in a photo next to an object whose size was familiar, like a car tyre, that you realised how small she was.

As many of you know, there is currently building work taking place on the refuge. One of the jobs being carried out is the partition of the lower kennels with proper walls so that the dogs in neighbouring boxes do not see each other. During this time, there is a fair amount of “dog juggling” going on, as clearly the workers need the boxes to be empty when they are laying concrete. Some dogs are in the parks and others are in kennels elsewhere on the refuge, wherever there is space, in fact.

It was while Cola was in the upper kennels that someone finally noticed her. In general the lower boxes are used for bigger dogs, and many people do not go down there. The fact that Cola was sharing with Tanguy meant that she was in a “big dog’s” kennel, rather than with the medium dogs. So although she has had more space while she has been with us, she has perhaps stayed longer than necessary.

However, none of that matters now, Cola has a new home!

But the BIG adoption of the day was that of Tina. She used to belong to a homeless person, who collected her each time she arrived at the refuge. Apart from the most recent time, which was in August 2012.  Yes, over two years ago! Tina was timid and had never seen a lead before. It took a lot of patience and love from both employees and volunteers alike but Tina became gradually less nervous of people and finally she captured the hearts of two of our volunteers, and today she was adopted.

It is always wonderful when volunteers adopt; we know it is not a passing whim, as they know the dog in question well, and have taken the time to reflect before making their choice. I am sure Tina will be very happy, but I hope that we don’t lose two such fabulous volunteers! Please keep coming; we need you; the dogs need you!

Not only that, but Gloria’s owners had second thoughts and came back to get her. Plus we had the adoption of a puppy as well, so it was Four dog Friday, which isn’t too bad!










Tina – ADOPTED (after 2 years)













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Ichimi – ADOPTED



Two new arrivals. But both are beauties!

At about lunchtime the first good news of the day came through via Animal Trust. The second dog to be adopted from the lucky six taken to Belgium is…Little Minx! Her new family has two other dogs and Minx is going to take part in Canicross (which for those of you who don’t know, is a form of cross country running where you are attached to your dog with a bungee) I am sure Minx will adore it; Despite her age (6 years old) this little girl has boundless energy and her new home sounds ideal for her! Thanks again to Eline and all at Animal Trust!

And that was about it in terms of good news, to be honest. I arrived at the refuge just as the dog who had been stolen two days ago was being reunited with its owner; all I saw was a happy wriggling ball of what looked like Jack Russell; no time for any photos. But the dog had most definitely been stolen; how does a dog make a 3 hour car journey on foot in less than a day? In any case, his owners left us a lovely donation, so many thanks to them.

Apart from that we had two new volunteers, both French, who were surprised to be flung into the midst of an Anglophone day! They helped to get lots of dogs walked and a warm welcome to the team to them.

We had two new canine arrivals, too, sadly. However I suspect that neither of them will be with us for long. First is Gloria, a six year old yellow lab. Last time we had a mature female lab a couple drove for miles to collect her, telling us that dogs  like this are hard to fine in refuges. Let’s hope Gloria is as lucky.

Then we have Sanders, who is very thin but will be magnificent when he has filled out. He has a very gentle nature and likes chicken (given to him courtesy of Moira). We think he is a bouvier de flanders cross, but he hasn’t seen the vet yet, so not sure.

So not much in the way of good news. But better to have dogs arrive who are easily adoptable…..in theory at least.

Little Minx – homed via Animal Trust









Sanders- New arrival

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Gloria – New arrival

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A bit better, but we are still very full…..

Today was not as bad as yesterday…..the little pinscher found her home (but not before Moira had time for a cuddle, little Nina was just adorable), and another little dog was reclaimed too. Things at the refuge remain critical, however, with very little space remaining, and yet more people contacting us about dogs they no longer want. It must be understood that days like yesterday, with its 7 arrivals, 3 of which were critical mistreatment cases, must always take priority over dogs who already have homes but whose owners do not want them.

We need to keep at least a couple of boxes free, otherwise what do we do when the police or mayors arrive with dogs? We cannot put animals into the parks, with storms raging all around as they are right now.

The three boxers who arrived yesterday will be homed via a specialist association; I won’t post photos as no one needs to see things like that; adult boxers who weigh 12 kg are not a pretty sight. All three will be fine, though, and in a week or so will be strong enough to be vaccinated. Yet another three dogs who are better off at the SPA…..

On the subject of which, Gus is looking much better. Today he was given a long lasting anti flea collar; due to being underweight on arrival, Gus has still not had his second vaccination, so walks are still not allowed. But cuddles are! Here he is, complete with his collar. Thanks again to Jane and friends for sponsoring this lovely boy.

We had a reservation today, just a small dogs, but she is very unhappy at the SPA, so it is great that she will be off soon. I wonder if you can guess who it is?


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Guess – RECLAIMED (she is not blurry in real life)













And Gus with his new anti- flea collar. Feel the love!

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Another terrible start to the week

Today was typical of many Mondays. Mass arrival of canines are all too common after a weekend, and although we are usually optimistic that at least some of them will be reclaimed, this is often not the case.

We will try and get photographs of the new arrivals tomorrow, things were way too busy for the employees to be able to do so today.  I know that three female boxers arrived in a mistreatment case, and that a tiny pincher arrived too, but I don’t know about the others as yet.

Finding kennels for the seven  new dogs was not easy in a refuge that is already overcrowded. Luckily one of the dogs was reclaimed, but that still left us with the problem of six new dogs. Each dog requires paperwork to be filled out, and as usual, Carole was the last to leave, 45 minutes after her scheduled time.

More bad news: Rocco was returned a mere four days after being adopted. You may recall that he was the big Pyrenean Mountain cross who went to live with two other dogs. It was emphasised to the family that wanted him that this was a big dog who was essentially a working breed, and that the right place for him was a farm, with plenty of land and outdoor activity. They were determined to make things work, though, and as it is SPA policy to give every dog its chance, Rocco went off to his new home.

The restraints on such a big, lively dog were too much, however, and he bit the family’s child. Of course once this has happened confidence is understandably lost, and the family brought Rocco straight back. We will be looking for a home with no young children and lots of outdoor space for this big lad next time. He deserves another chance.

There was one bit of good news, however. Big Tifly was reclaimed by his owner. I am very pleased, as this dog arrived wearing a muzzle and appeared very aggressive. Once he settled down after a couple of days, we realised that he was more scared than anything, and today he went back to his home.

Overall a very grim day, however.

Rocco – Better luck next time, lad









Six adoptions in two days!

Yesterday’s blog was quite rightly devoted to the shocking and distressing events at the Manchester and Cheshire dogs’ home, but tonight it is business as usual, keeping you up to date with activities at the SPA Carcassonne.

First off, wonderful news. Less than 48 hours after arriving at Animal Trust in Belgium, Libellule was adopted! She has gone to live with a Weimeraner on a huge farm and her new mum is at home all day. Perfect!

Also yesterday we had two adoptions from the SPA. First to leave was Cooky, which made us all very happy, as he was one of our “not quite pups” and he was black. Apart from those incredible ears (sticking up like a fox, unlike Libellule, whose hung down), he had no real distinguishing features. So it was wonderful that someone saw his potential and all the love he has to give.

The second adoption was that of Betty, who had been returned to the refuge when the family who adopted her finally gave up on her incredible bouts of jealousy towards the family’s other dog. This time she has a home of her own, which is what she always wanted. Most failed adoptions teach us something; if we are lucky (as in this case) we learn about the dog. If we are unlucky (all too often, sadly), we learn about the people. It is very easy to criticise when a dog is returned to the SPA but sometimes you wonder how people coped for as long as they did.

Today four more dogs left for their new homes. First to leave, in an adoption that has made everyone happy, was Treck. He arrived at the end of last year, together with his friend Star. Star was adopted ages ago and poor Treck was left waiting. His situation was complicated by the fact that he has severe arthritis, despite being so young (18 months). This did not phase the family who took him today; the husband said that Treck would just go with him to the vines in the morning and the rest of the time he would be on the sofa!

Then another great adoption took place, that of Cybele, the beautiful shepherd cross who had been with us for just a month. She was on the SPA Twitter feed a couple of days ago and maybe that brought her luck! She is going to be one happy girl, she has a great new family who had tears of joy when they saw her in the flesh (or should I say fur)?

Then to top the day off, Jiffy and Izabo left with a family who have just moved to the area and realised that life is not complete without a dog or two! Izabo has been at the refuge for a couple of months, having been found complete with harness in Limoux. And Jiffy was one of our “not quite pups” and a bit like Cooky, risked being overlooked, as he too is black. Luckily this family love black dogs! Jiffy and Izabo have been sharing a kennel for a couple of weeks, and so the pack structure has been sorted out; as usual, the female is the boss (no comment!)

We did have one dog abandoned, and I did see the Police Municipal dog van approaching the refuge as  I left, so perhaps we had some more late arrivals. I will bring you up to date tomorrow.

Thanks as ever to all the volunteers who walked dogs and cuddled cats. It makes the refuge a much happier place!

A happy Libellule with her new friend, Bobbie







































Cybele – ADOPTED

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Four Adoptions!

Today was a good day  and as you know, it has been a while since we had one of those.

Four dogs were adopted! And we had no arrivals, apart from one dog who made a brief appearance before his owner came to collect him. Moreover  Wammers’ owners were traced, they do in fact live nearby, and he was collected too.

Okay, onto adoptions:

First to leave was Pelé. All adoptions are good for different reasons, but some are better than others. Pelé arrived with us at the end of March in a very sorry state, with skin peeling off his back (hence his name; no one can accuse us of not having a sense of humour). He is ten years old, and is black. Or at least he is black where the fur has grown back , and he is brown elsewhere. Finding a home for a dog like this is never easy, so when a couple arrive with the words “We want to give a home to a dog that no one else will take”, it is music to our ears. Pelé was an instant hit, and after being castrated today, he went off to a new and much happier life.

Next was Rocco, a big Pyrenean mountain dog cross, who we were unable to mix with other dogs at the refuge, but who seemed to get along fine with the couple’s other two males. He too went to be castrated and off he went to his new home today.

Then we had lanky lad Bruno, who stole the heart of a couple at Sunday’s open day. Yet another one who said goodbye to his family jewels before leaving us. Bruno is going to be a globe-trotting dog, as his new owners are camping-car fanatics, so we are looking forward to hearing his adventures! He was collected by the owner’s mother, who is already gaga about him!

Then last but not least we said goodbye to Tico. Some dogs arrive at the refuge and we all (French and Brit alike), look at them and just know that the dog is going to be adopted by Brits. In general this applies to scruffy dogs, especially when they have long ears. So when Carole told me that Tico was reserved, I was not at all surprised when she added that he was leaving with a British couple! In fact they are Scottish, and so Tico is now called Haggis! What a great name for a dog. They collected him today, also following his castration, and he has gone off to live in the Ariege. He is a lovely boy and news is promised.

So four males were adopted, and all four were castrated at the adopter’s request. I wonder if the message is getting through, or whether it was just coincidence! In any case, it has been the best day we have had for a while in terms of adoptions, so I hope things are looking up.


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And Haggis (ex Tico) – ADOPTED

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