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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

One adoption, five arrivals and some good Samaritans.

Some dogs arrive at the SPA and you think to yourself “this could go either way”. Either he will stay for ever, looking as he does a bit like a hunt dog and being timid, or he will just catch someone’s eye and leave almost immediately. Such a dog was Nestor, who arrived with a horrific wound to his neck, having been tied up with a chain that had dug deep into his skin. When Sarah (she of Animal Trust transport fame) was here, the two of us sat in Nestor’s kennel with him, just ignoring him. He started to approach us and sniff and let himself be patted. Curiosity is good. We decided he would be fine!

Mixing him with Pulco, a very lively and outgoing dog has helped, and on Thursday last week, once he had his second vaccination, Nestor went for his first walk. Shortly thereafter he was reserved. Better still, his new “mum” is the real life human mum of Sherman’s owner! The two dogs got on fine and we know that if Nestor is loved even a fraction as much as is Sherman, he will be a very happy dog indeed!

That was the good news. The rest of the afternoon was not quite so pleasant. After the relative quiet of yesterday we had five new arrivals. Two are puppies who may or may not survive, and three are adult dogs, some of whom may have someone looking for them, if they are lucky.

However a young couple restored my faith in human nature today; they found a small fluffy dog in the middle of the road today, with a leg injury that had recently been operated on. They fell in love with this dog and wanted to keep him, but knew that someone might be looking for him. Despite the fact that he was not identified (grrr), they brought him to the SPA and Carole was able to reunite him with his owners. Had the young couple been less honest they could have just had the dog identified in their own name, and their owner would have been none the wiser; she would just have wondered where her dog was.

Identify your dogs. And better still, get them castrated or sterilised at the same time!

Nestor when he arrived four weeks ago

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And on his first walk. Different dog!













New arrival  found in Caunes Minervois









New arrival – Genesis













New arrival Jacqui. She is smaller than she looks on the photo!



Renee arrives in Scotland!

Although it has been several weeks since she left the SPA, today was the day when Renee (known as Ilda at the SPA) finally arrived in Scotland. Since leaving the SPA some six weeks ago she has been in foster with Elinor and her husband Dave (proud parents of Maddie, aka Malaga). Needless to say they have sorted out the reason for Renee’s abandonment, she is now perfectly house trained! Many thanks to Elinor and her husband for achieving in a couple of weeks what Renee’s owners didn’t manage to achieve in a year. Amazing what you can do with love and patience, isn’t it?

As someone who gets extremely attached to dogs, even ones who are at the SPA and not even in my home, I have to express huge admiration for anyone who can look after a dog for this long and not cry when they hand him or her over to her new owners. Or maybe tears are shed…..In any case, thanks to Elinor and Dave and all our other foster families. Personally I don’t know how you do it, but I am glad you do!

Meanwhile at the SPA it was a zero game. That is to say no dogs in and no dogs out. Or rather there were some arrivals, but they were identified so left straightaway. We have had worse Mondays, that is for sure!

A bit of advance warning for this coming Sunday. Not only is it the first Sunday of the month, but it is also the day chosen nationwide to honour St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. Of course the SPA will be open in the afternoon, but we will also be joined by our friends from another local association, Dog Park 11. They will come along to walk dogs and, as they have done previously, will be giving gifts to any dogs who are lucky enough to be adopted (or reserved) on the day. I am sure it will be fun, providing the weather decides to cooperate that is!  We will be there regardless, naturally, but we would like to pre-order some sunshine if possible!

Renee with her buddies 











And with Dave on one of the many excursions she has taken whilst in foster


Congratulations all round!

Sundays are quite strange days from a blogging point of view, as with the exception of the first Sunday of the month, the SPA is closed. So what we tend to do is to catch up on some of our old friends, or write about a topic of general interest to dog lovers.

Today we have something a bit special. Many of you know Isa and Canelle, either in person (as she comes to walk dogs as often as possible) or via the Internet. She is the athlete who takes part in canicross events with her ex – SPA dog Canelle.

Well, last weekend Isa and Canelle took part in the French national championships, and much to their (and our) delight, they finished on the podium! Isa and Canelle were placed third in the “seniors” category, which is an incredible achievement. All the more special as during the recent Tour of the Mountains, Canelle suffered from heat stroke and had to retire from the competition. She is clearly back on form!

We are so proud of them, and are delighted that Isa continues to publicise the SPA Carcassonne. Here she is on the podium, proudly advertising her links with the refuge. Perhaps more people will stop considering refuge dogs to be “damaged goods”. Isa would not swap her beloved Canelle for the world’s finest pedigree.

In other news, today was the day of the Vide Grenier in Quillan and the DRC team raised a massive total of €520 euros! The team said that things seemed very quiet and they were surprised by the amount raised. All I can say is that if that is how much they raise on a quiet day, heaven knows what a busy day would be like. Thanks to Julie, and the newly christened “Team GB VG” for their time and devotion. Thanks also to all the other stallholders for their donations and to everyone who gave us their unwanted items to sell. As we say, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.

The entire sum will be used to help the dogs of the SPA Carcassonne, of course. That is what DRC is for!

And finally, for your Sunday night delight and delectation, we have more news from Belgium! Brandy has been adopted by a lovely family with 2 children! So five of “our” six dogs have found new homes within 3 weeks of arriving at Animal Trust. Only Canaille is left, and I am sure his turn will come. In fact I am sure that only his operation has delayed his adoption.

We are so happy for Brandy. Thank to so much to all at Animal Trust. The happy home of second chances!

Isa and Canelle- triumphant and proudly supporting the SPA Carcassonne












The Vide Grenier at Quillan with someone perusing pictures of the SPA dogs













Brandy – ADOPTED thanks to Animal Trust.


Two adoptions and one dog is reclaimed.

Good news to start the day: the safe arrival of Lola chez Tania. She has already fallen in love with her new girl, who had slept well and been for a little walk. Thanks so much to Lorenza for driving her and to everyone else involved in this rehoming.
The SPA is still reeling from the number of dogs who have arrived this week. It is one of the worst weeks we can remember, with a total of 15 new dogs. The only time this has happened before was when we have had a mass arrival of puppies, but this week all the arrivals have been adults. So we needed some good news.

What we had was the reservation of two dogs who had been with us for over 2 years, which has got to be good! One will be leaving soon, and the other in three weeks or so. Watch this space, as they say!

But not only that. Today we had two adoptions! First to leave was Peps, who has gone to live with a lovely family. He is very strong on the lead, but his new dad is able to control him, and Peps is incredibly gentle with the children, despite his size. A match made in heaven!

Then came a big moment for me, and for Moira too. Karadoc, the love of our (recent) lives left. This 15 week old puppy had been adopted once and brought back due to an allergy, and all Karadoc’s brothers and sisters had left. I spent some time on the phone this morning extolling his virtues to volunteer Benedicte, and sure enough it was her friend who came to adopt Karadoc this afternoon. Yes, I confess I cried as I held him in my arms for what I hope will not be the last time (his new mum has promised to bring him to visit).

Droopy found his owners, and we had no arrivals. So all in all not a bad day, especially as the sun shone and we had plenty of volunteers out walking the dogs.

Today was also MaxiZoo day, this time to collect for the dogs of the SPA. As ever thanks to the volunteers who gave up their time and to the lovely staff who hosted them. It was very successful and the SPA dogs will be spoilt as a result.

For anyone who lives in that neck of the woods, tomorrow there will be a Vide Grenier in the car park at Carrefour Quillan. All profits from this will go to DRC, and hence to the SPA for castrations and other expenses. Please pop in and snap up a bargain. We have plenty of high class goods on sale, as well as English books!

Peps with his new family – ADOPTED










Karadoc – ADOPTED

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And the collection at Maxi Zoo. Thanks everyone!



Three steps forward, six steps back

Like many of the people who are involved with the SPA, volunteer Susie loves what the French call “Molosses”. That is a term applied to dogs who have a certain mouth to head ratio and includes staffies, rottweilers and even French bulldogs. Initially she was scared of Hardy, who does look a bit fierce in his kennel. However we persuaded her to give him a chance as like so many of our dogs, he is a darling once he no longer feels the need to guard.

One walk is all it took. Hardy was reserved yesterday (this is the reservation I mentioned) and he left today. We will not lose Susie as a volunteer, as she and her mum will continue to dog walk for us. That way Sylvanie and Carole can hear news of their beloved dog. Yes, he stole a fair few hearts while he was at the SPA! The life of mistreatment by his former owner has not affected this beautiful dog’s trust in humans, and he was oh so easy to love!

More good news: Lola has just started her journey to her new home, thanks to a lovely woman who is taking her to Annency where she will meet her new mum. When  Lola was brought to the SPA following the hospitalisation of her owner, we immediately contacted our friend Nicki, who is a Doberman lover, and who works hard to make sure that these sensitive dogs do not spend longer than necessary in refuges. She put us in touch with Tania, who has been looking for a Doberman for a long time, and a match was made! Yes, sometimes it is that easy. Apart from the small problem of distance, of course!

We appealed for help on the internet and a response came almost immediately. Oh, the power of social media!  Many thanks to Lorenza, who is driving as I write this. We await news of Lola’s arrival at her new home and wish her a long and happy life.

There was a third adoption today, that of setter/ spaniel Cleo, who has gone to live with the SPA treasurer, who loves dogs of this breed.

But for those three adoptions, we had six dogs brought in. Two of them were abandoned by their owners, who left the gods behind when they moved house. The children didn’t want them, so once again the SPA is used as a dustbin.

The other four were found unidentified and as strays. So a day of very mixed news. More bad than good.

On a more positive note,  the kind folks at Maxi Zoo are hosting a team from the SPA tomorrow as they collect donations for the SPA dogs. A similar day for the cats at the end of August was very successful, and we are hoping the same will be true for the dogs tomorrow. The stand will be manned from 10am- 7pm so it will be great to see you!













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Tomorrow you can show your support for the dogs of the SPA at Maxi Zoo


Three adoptions!

Today was a great day for a special girl and for a lovely family who is awaiting her arrival in the UK. This summer a family came to the SPA to visit with perhaps a view to adopting a dog. Dad and the three daughters had been working on mum for ages, and she finally relented, providing the dog was small enough.

They immediately fell in love with Fifi, and then went through several agonising days worrying if Fifi’s owners would come to find her. The ten days passed, during which the family visited almost every day, sometimes stopping just briefly on their way back from the beach, sometimes grandma was with them too. This is very much a family affair! Their holiday ended, but a week later mum and dad were back for a further week with friends and again, high on their agenda was to visit Fifi.

Today was the glorious day! Thanks to an appeal for help with transportation, a friend of volunteer Julie’s offered to take Fifi back to the UK, where her new family is waiting excitedly. The Scott family have been in regular contact and by all accounts the three daughters are practically holding a street party to welcome her! No doubt news and photo will follow. Yes, this tiny girl risks being spoilt, but Dad assures us that she will be going to dog training and that Fifi will be no lap dog! Hmmm.

Nice to have some good news for a change, isn’t it?

And that is not all, not by any means.

I could be wrong, but I think this is the only time that the SPA Facebook “Dog of the Week” has been adopted during the week when he was featured. Yes, beautiful Iron left today, to live on a huge estate. This boy had a terrible start in life. He was one of only two puppies who survived being thrown into the rubbish dump at Trebes. He was subsequently adopted when he was tiny but then brought back to the SPA having been given away to someone who did not want him either. It was all the harder to see him at the refuge, knowing that his brother, Kobi, is living a life of luxury with volunteer Rosa.

But now that is all over, and Iron has finally found love.

But there is more!  On August 11th a very poorly little dog arrived at the refuge. Reggie was in a terrible state, with what was clearly a serious neurological problem. Our main priority was to find out if he was suffering and if anything could be done to help him. The answer to both questions was no. Happy though he is, Reggie is wobbly when he walks and his condition is irreversible. But that does not mean he is not worthy of being rehomed and loved.

Enter SPA supporter Marieange, who spends her time caring for animals in distress or who are deemed unadoptable. She wrote to us some time ago to say that she had room for a small dog, regardless of age or handicap.  After Reggie’s magnificent “makeover” on Tuesday, this little boy was ready to leave, and off he went today. I cannot put into words how grateful we are to Marieange, nor how much contempt we feel for Reggie’s former owners, who left this tiny dog to fend for himself when what he needed was help.

Two of yesterday’s entries (the two that we did not have photos of) were reclaimed, so although the numbers are a bit up, they are not as bad as they were. And we had an excellent reservation….and it won’t be long before you know who it is!

Fifi starts her journey with Bruce!

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Reggie when he arrived in mid August

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And leaving today after a lovely makeover (thanks to Sabrina and Stephane)

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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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