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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

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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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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