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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Jade is adopted and two dogs are reclaimed

Today was Association Day in Carcassonne (and across the whole of France, as it happens), where sport clubs and other interest groups have a chance to show themselves off to the public and hopefully gather new members or supporters.

A team from the SPA was present, as has been the case for the past several years, and they were accompanied by Prosper and Til, in the morning and Carpet, Ewa  and Anis in the afternoon, five of the many lovely dogs who are looking for homes. Some dogs get over-excited in public, so it was important to have good doggie ambassadors to meet and greet the public. All the dogs did us proud, as did the volunteers who manned (or more realistically “womanned” the stand) all day. Many thanks to them all, humans and canines alike.

The refuge was pretty bust too. One of yesterday’s arrivals, Hawaii, was reclaimed, and a “lost and timid border collie cross” who had been signalled to us on the SPA Facebook page (many thanks!) turned out to be none other than Sacripan, who had been adopted from us earlier this year and whose owners had reported him missing. That was another happy reunion.

There was one adoption, but it was no surprise! As soon as puppies Jade and Julia arrived, and were taken into foster by Marie-Pierre, we had a feeling that the chocolate coloured one would become a permanent fixture. And thus it proved to be, with the paperwork being completed today.

Julia, Jade’s sister was reserved today too, but will stay with Marie- Pierre and her family until her new family, who live in Toulouse, are ready for her in a couple of weeks. That is two pups who will never know the inside of a kennel.

Apart from that we had two really wonderful reservations. But you will have to be patient to find out who has been lucky!

Don’t forget that we are open from 2-6pm tomorrow. Feel free to come and say hello to the dogs and cats and maybe find a new friend!

The SPA team at Association day, with Til and Prosper










Til shows off pictures of the dogs who are looking for homes










Ewa in thoughtful “dog ambassador” mood
























Sacripan – RECLAIMED thanks to the eagle eyes of Dominique
































One adoption but five arrivals.

There are some days when I am glad that I wasn’t at the SPA.

No fewer than five dogs arrived today, and the days of jubilant cries of “Five Dog Friday” seem long gone. It was five dog Friday, but in the wrong direction.

All five of the dogs are identified, one was abandoned, but as for the rest, either the phone numbers on the identification cards are out of date, or the numbers are not responding at all. We don’t know if the owners even want their dogs.

On the good news front, Aiko was adopted by the family that found him and brought him to the SPA. They had informed us that he was fine with dogs, children and rabbits, so clearly they had some of each! They did the responsible thing and brought the dog to us in case his owners were looking for him. Bearing in mind he was not identified, many people would just keep the dog and not even give the owners a chance, so thanks to them for being so responsible and thanks even more for giving Aiko a new home!

A grim day, though, and needless to say the refuge is full to bursting. This should not be the case now that the holiday season is over.

We are clinging onto the fact that this weekend is our open day (on Sunday) and that on Saturday the SPA will be present for the Association Day (on the square Andre Chenier, near to the main railway station). With a bit of luck we will have some adoptions. Otherwise we are in serious trouble. Of course we have several dogs reserved, but it is what to do in the meantime that is the problem.

A short blog from me tonight. I am not in the happiest frame of mind.

Anis- Back from a brief adoption. Nine years old. Okay with dogs and cats at the SPA, but not necessarily at home!













Hawaii – Chipped but no one is answering












Falko – same story













Tisky – same again












Today’s sole bright moment  Aiko – ADOPTED

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Banjo leaves and Lola arrives

There was only one adoption at the SPA today, so why did it feel like we were all run off our feet? Lots of visitors, that is why, and lots of people coming to walk just to give the dogs some fun, or in a couple of cases, with a view to a possible adoption!

So, first the adoption. Today we said goodbye to little Banjo, who had been spied on the site. Who could resist his appealing little face? Certainly not his new owner, who came along with his own dog to see how the two of them got along. At the refuge we had not been able to find a pal for Banjo, but he had not long ago arrived, and it can take them a while to settle down. Besides which, dogs behave differently outside the refuge than they do when they forced to share a very small space with another dog. Things seemed to go fine and as Banjo was already castrated and chipped, off he went.  We hope that the good relations between him and his new pal continue!

Sadly we did have one arrival, that of a young female Doberman, whose owner has sadly passed away, and who has been in a commercial kennel for several weeks. Dobermans do not do well in refuges, and we are already working hard with an association to get lovely Lola a new home as soon as possible. In the meantime she is sharing her kennel with Dusty and being admired by everyone. She is beautiful!

So a busy and hot day, with the prospect of maybe some more adoptions on the horizon. Seeds have been sown!







Lola – new arrival following the death of her owner

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Adoption of Solea and Gentlelead put through its paces.

Yesterday, as promised, DRC received a package of leads from Dave at Gentlelead (www.gentlelead.co.uk), and prior to testing them out at the SPA, I tried the webbing halter out on my dogs. I started off with Nero, who is not a pully dog at all, but is very easy to manipulate and I thought it would be good to see how easy it is to fit the leads before trying them out on other less “docile” dogs.

Nero didn’t bat an eyelid, so Bella was up next. It took just a tiny amount of adjustment, as the muzzle “halti” bit is effectively part of a continuous lead that has various rings and stoppers on it. She looked very happy too, so next it was Scout, far smaller and feistier. He too was fine and didn’t seem to mind at all, Moreover changing the size took no more than a couple of seconds; move the stopper and voila!

Jules, my neighbour’s tiny dog was with us too, so he had a go. Again no problems. So it was time to test it out on a walk, where my only real problem dog is Bella, who can smell a cat at 100 metres and pulls in that direction just in case a moggy should be stupid enough to be waiting. They never are, but Bella lives in hope. Likewise she detests cyclists and joggers; so is the perfect dog for a “field test”

We saw two bikes and a cat, and I can honestly say that the difference in Bella was incredible. She sat down as the bikes went past and just walked on when she saw the cat. She appeared to be perfectly comfortable and even pleased that she was finally doing what I have been trying to get her to do for literally years. I gave her loads of praise and she seemed relaxed and happy. And I came home relaxed and happy, too. The muzzle area is not so much a restraint that Bella was unable to hoover up a couple of figs, either!

A great system; can’t wait to try it out on the SPA dogs tomorrow. And I will most definitely be placing an order for one of these for my own use.

The other leads were a mixture of webbing and adjustable leads which are perfect for non-pully dogs, and designed to be used in a variety of situations, depending on how much freedom you want to give your dog when you are out and about. What a great freebie, many thanks to the folks at Gentlelead and to Elinor for suggesting DRC as the recipient overseas rescue organisation.

At the SPA we had the adoption of lovely Solea, who had been at the refuge for ten weeks or so. Funny how these things work out; no one had so much looked at this girl until we were asked to test her with cats (thumbs up!), at which point she was reserved. Then the couple who came along yesterday liked her. However that all worked out well for Occitane (now renamed Dede) as otherwise she may not have been adopted! Sometimes fate intervenes in the best possible way. Two happy dogs!












Bella (ex SPA) – a model dog citizen at last?

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It fits small dogs too – Jules (also ex SPA) as model.

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“César” is reclaimed and Ella is adopted, but Gold arrives

The week got off to a typical miserable start, with two dogs found over the weekend being brought in. Firstly we have César, a young handsome German Shepherd who was found in Cuxac Cabardèslast night. Unidentified, of course.

The next arrival was Gold, a small ratier cross found in Carcassonne. Again he was not identified. What is the point of a law that everyone ignores? It is just so frustrating. The law is there for a reason; it is to help reunite owners with their dogs and cats. And if you do not want the SPA to be able to contact you should your animal arrive with us, then maybe you should not have an animal in the first place.

But then things got better! César was reclaimed by his owners (who phoned the SPA to see if he had been brought in, so clearly they DID want him) and he is now identified. And then we had an adoption: Lovely Ella left, fresh from being sterilised. This lovely girl was found by an English family who were here on holiday, and funnily enough DRC received an email from them today to say that if she is unable to find a home, they would like to make arrangements to adopt her and have her transported to the UK. We wrote to tell them that she had already stolen someone else’s heart too. I am sure they will be feeling a mixture of both relief and disappointment!

I understand when a family feels a “responsibility” towards a dog whom they have brought to a refuge. This is how Yessa found her home with the UK-based Bates family, after all! In Ella’s case, though, someone more local fell under her charm! Lucky Ella, to have two families wanting her!

We have other Brittany spaniels at the refuge, of course, both male and female. They are a lovely breed, as many of you know!

César – in and out (and now identified!)











Tiny new arrival – GOLD













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A special delivery from Belgium

I said yesterday that in addition to the marvellous collection of cat-related goodies at Maxi Zoo, the SPA had had a very special delivery.

Yesterday long-term and long-distance SPA Carcassonne supporter Sarah arrived from Belgium, bringing a whole van load of treats for the refuge. She drove all night, stopping for a sleep in a service station on the auto-route. Her van was so full that she slept on top of all the bags of dog food that she was bringing to us! She said it was quite comfortable, especially once she had got used to the smell!

She arrived at the SPA yesterday afternoon, where she stopped to unload the van before going to her parent’s home for some well –deserved sleep.

All of the donations were courtesy of the Association Animal Trust (http://www.animaltrust.be), with which the SPA has a long and close relationship. Many thanks to Eline and Kevin for their generosity once again. All the leads and collars will be of use, too; they are one of the items that we can never get enough of at the SPA.

Some of you may recognise the name Animal Trust in connection with previous adoptions, and you would be right. Some ten dogs have been rehomed thanks to them, and I am happy to tell you that yet again, Sarah will not go back to Belgium with an empty van.

At least three lucky dogs will make the journey back to Belgium, where we hope that they will soon find new homes. Sometimes a dog just need to reach a new “audience”, and Eline has a good idea as to which of our dogs will appeal to Belgian eyes!

Watch this space!!

Sarah ready to unload












And sorting out leads today

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Cat collection and two adoptions, but Dragonfly returns :(

Today was the collection on behalf of the SPA cats courtesy of Maxi Zoo and there was a relay of volunteers manning the fort and in some cases returning to the refuge for dog walking “duties”. Things seemed to flow nicely, with a laptop presentation of the cats and kittens, and plenty of donations. Thanks to everyone for their support. Below you can see a picture of the lovely staff at Maxi Zoo, along with some of the goodies collected toady. Let’s see if things go as well on September 27th, when it is Dog Day!

Coincidentally (or not), both the cats featured on this blog a couple of days ago, Betty and Mimi, have since been adopted, and we hope that today’s publicity will bring more adopters to the SPA.

As promised, here is picture of the dog who was brought in yesterday. He has been named Pulco and is a young male setter cross. He was found in Trebes, which is not far from Carcassonne, so with any luck his owner will come and look for him. If not, that will mean yet another youngster looking for a home. Sigh.

One youngster did find a home today; little Aelis, who is one of the Camelot litter. It was her brother, Karadoc, who was brought back on Thursday, so still two left, just a different two this time!

And another very lucky boy was Jam, aka Sam. He changed his name due to a typo, but will revert to his real name in his new family. In fact he was lucky twice today; two different people wished to adopt him. First on the scene were Fred and Margaret, who have decided to get back in the saddle after the death of their foster dog Alfie a few months ago. It took a while for their hearts to heal, and although they will never forget Alfie, their dog Flossie needs a friend, and Sam ticked all the right boxes, despite being blind!

Unfortunately it was not all good news. Libellule, our lovely Bleu de Gascogne was brought back. Boredom leads to all sorts of trouble, and in this case it was her destructive tendencies that got the better of her. Of course there are strategies for dealing with this, but in Libellule’s case the owners did not contact us for help, they just contacted us when they were so fed up with their dog that bringing her back was the only option they would consider. If your dog has any behavioral problems, please get in touch before things escalate to this extent!

The SPA had a special delivery today, but I will tell you more about that tomorrow; we have had quite enough excitement for today!

Many thanks to the staff of Maxi Zoo on behalf of the cats of the SPA!
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New arrival – Pulco





















Sam – eight years old and blind, but ADOPTED!

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Skipton skips off and a collection at Maxi Zoo

Those of you who do not have Facebook but who follow this blog, may not be aware that the lovely people at Maxi Zoo in Carcassonne are hosting a collection on behalf of the cats of the SPA. A further day is planned for the dogs later in the year, and of course anything that benefits the SPA helps both dogs and cats…The more money we save thanks to donations means the more cash we have to spend elsewhere. So if you can pop along to see us tomorrow, whether you are a dog or cat lover, your support would be very welcome.

Maxi Zoo can be found at 170B, rue Alessandro Volta, ZAE La Ferraudière, which is close to the airport area (Decathlon, Tridome etc). We will be present from 10H00-19H00. Come and say hello. And if you prefer to donate something for the dogs instead of the cats, we will not turn it down, although as I say, a dog day is planned for a bit later on.

At the SPA, little Skipton, the Yorkie, was adopted, having arrived on August 10th. That means he was with us for 19 days. This is quite long enough for his former owner to have come to reclaim him, even in summer. Despite some of the comments on Facebook, we cannot possibly keep dogs indefinitely just in case his owners decide to come looking three weeks later. The same ten day rule applies to small dogs as to big ones. It is not necessarily the case that a Yorkshire terrier is more likely than a big dog to have a good owner. Skipton had the offer of a new, loving home, so we let him leave and we wish him well.

There was one new arrival, but I have no more information than that, so all I can say is that pictures will follow.

We hope to see you either at the SPA or at Maxi Zoo tomorrow; or maybe even at both!

Meet us and see pictures of the SPA cats tomorrow at Maxi  Zoo from 10H00-19H00











Skipton – ADOPTED and now at his home!



Two puppies in, one big dog out, thanks to Ambassador Rex!

As with yesterday’s mass arrival of felines, today’s first arrival happened before the refuge was even open. A puppy this time, a pale coloured female shepherd cross who has been named Mirza. We are always in two minds when female pups arrive at the SPA. On the one hand it is tragic for them, but on the other hand at least if they leave under a contract of adoption from the SPA, at least we know they will be sterilised. Only in this way can this ridiculous and eternal cycle of unwanted dog (and cats) be broken.

Mirza has gone off to be fostered with employee Fabrice (thank you!) but I have a feeling she will find a home pretty quickly. Of course we have other pups who are still waiting for homes too, all of them desperate to have a normal, family life.

On the subject of pups, today saw the return of Karadoc, who had been adopted on Saturday. Apparently the son is allergic to dogs. To cynics, this allergy thing seems to be the equivalent of a no fault divorce. It is not our fault, but of course it cannot be the puppies fault, because everyone knows what puppies are like before they adopt them; no one just falls in love with their cuteness….

Karadoc went straight back in with his two sisters, Aelis and Demetra, and probably said “hey, this being homed lark is not all it is cracked up to be!”

Next came the best adoption of the day. Okay, there was only one adoption, but even had there been several, this would probably have won. Remember Rex, the German Shepherd who was adopted recently? Well his new onwers have friends, also Belgians, who were staying on the same campsite in Carcassonne. They were told how great the SPA is by Rex’s delighted owners, and along they came today to see our dogs.

They left with a very happy Blanco, a dog who was abandoned in January at the age of 6 because his owner “had no time for him”. Blanco was supposedly no good with other dogs, except that at the SPA he became mentor to several of the more timid arrivals, and turned out to be a lovely, well-balanced male.

His big chance came today, and he seized it with both hands, charming his new master, who claimed that “dogs never like him”. Well Blanco did, and is now on his way to Belgium! Wonder how he and Rex will get on!

So two puppies in, but one big boy out. Not bad for a Thursday, and that is without mentioning all dogs who had walks today thanks to the usual crew of volunteers!

Mirza – new arrival










Karadoc – What am I doing back here?

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Blanco- Belgium beckons!

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Another dog who is better off with us….plus too many cats!

We had a sad and shocking arrival at the refuge today; Nestor, an Ariegeois cross who was found with a collar so tight that it had become embedded in his neck, leaving a festering wound. Now why on earth did his owner do this to him? These dogs are invariably gentle, and Nestor has such sad eyes. Hardly surprising bearing in mind what he has been through. We would love to find out who owned this dog and find out what on earth possessed them to treat a dog in this way, but of course they are unlikely to come forward to face our wrath. So Nestor will be needing a new home.

All you lovers of scent hounds stand by. This boy could cut quite a dash in the UK, methinks!

The second arrival of the day is another boy, this time a shepherd cross, who, we are assured, is good with other dogs, children and rabbits! He has been named Aȉko and he looks beautiful.

Two other dogs arrived but were reclaimed, thanks to being identified.

I know that this is Dog Rescue Carcassonne, but just sometimes there is enough reason to veer into the world of our feline friends. Now is such a time. A further six cats arrived at the SPA today. And we are not talking kittens here, although we have over 50 of them as well. Today’s arrival were all adults, found at the refuge gates this morning. We don’t know if they were once cute kittens who have now been replaced by a younger (and free) kitten, let’s face it they are being given away on websites all over the place. This of course is illegal, unless the animals are identified. The situation at the SPA is desperate and we see no way out unless people sterilise their animals. And the benefits of even that will not help this year’s “crop”.

Any cat lovers out there, please think of the SPA cats and kittens and bear in mind that for 120 euros you can have a cat who has been sterilised, micro-chipped, as well as tested for leucosis and FIV. And a kitten is just 70 euros! Far less than paying for all of that if you get it done at your own vet.

So come on, all you cat lovers! Now is the time to adopt a moggy!

I am Nestor and I am glad to be at the SPA so they can heal my poorly neck and love me











Look what my owner did to me 🙁













Aiko – new arrival













I am Betty and I am one of the many kittens at the SPA











And I am Mimi; I am ten years old and I would like a home too!