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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Three pups leave and more birthdays are celebrated!

Well, I am delighted to say that Peter Pan was adopted today. I felt really sorry for him yesterday when Wendy left and he was moved to live in the cat house to give him some company. Excellent news for this handsome boy

And that is not all! Puppy Catherine left, she of the Vampire Diaries litter. Just two of this litter left now, plus their mum, who has not been reclaimed by her owner. This is a huge relief for me, as I love this dog and I would hate her to return to a life of neglect, punctuated by producing unwanted puppies every so often.

The third departure was that of Master, yet another puppy, but one who arrived alone. So three pups are in the warm tonight, which is wonderful news for us. Two of the Vampire Diaries puppies are waiting patiently, and we have dogs of all ages, from 3 months to 11 years for those of you who prefer your canines to be more mature!

Further to yesterday’s blog, a couple of other people have sent us pictures of their dogs celebrating birthdays. These photos have already appeared on Facebook, so apologies to you if you have seen them. However not everyone has Facebook, and I know of one volunteer, Benedicte, who will be happy to see this picture of Biggles (now Pigale), who used to belong to an acquaintance of hers but who was unable to spend as much time with this young active dog as he needed. He is doing just fine now, and his owner is delighted with the health benefits to herself as well!

And last but not least is Bill, who has just celebrated his first birthday and as you can see, is being spoiled rotten. The Brits are not the only ones who are potty about their dogs to the extent of baking them birthday cakes!

Peter Pan – ADOPTED











Catherine- ADOPTED






















Biggles (Pigale) celebrates birthday number 4 in a loving home












And Bill is one!


Adoptions and news of old (and not so old) friends.

Today two puppies left the refuge, adorable Wendy from the Neverland litter, and the first of the Vampire Diaries pups, Demon. Fabulous news for both of them, but I wonder why no one wants Peter Pan, who is just stunning. Just as well that we don’t all have the same taste in dogs, though!

A beautiful border collie arrived this morning, found unidentified in Carcassonne. He is sure to find a home soon, unless his owner comes first (and is willing to have him identified, of course)

Today I want to show you a picture of Gwen, who celebrated her 4th birthday on Tuesday. She was at another refuge and was on the list for the one way trip to the vets when the SPA Carcassonne intervened and saved her and four other dogs who were programmed for euthanasia. Gwen was terrified of her own shadow and was taken home to the calm of volunteer Val’s house. Several weeks later she caught the eye of a Fauve de Bretagne-loving couple in the UK, where she is flourishing. So happy birthday Gwen and thanks to Anita and Phil for seeing the potential of this dog and loving her as much as you obviously do.

Other wonderful photos arrived of Ugo and Uta in their new home. They too are adored and it is incredible that a mere 3 weeks ago these two elderly dogs were at the SPA with very little prospect of ever being adopted. What is even more heart warming is that Diana suffered a severe allergic to the dogs when they first arrived, and was put on huge doses of anti-histamines. It turns out that the allergy was probably caused by the shampoo that was used to wash Ugo and Uta before they left the SPA. But Diana stated categorically that even had the allergy not gone away, she would have never brought the dogs back, even had it meant having an injection every day.

When you consider some of the pathetic reasons people give for returning dogs to the refuge, you have to wonder how members of the human race can vary so much!

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Ycare arrives









Happy Birthday Gwen











And Freedom for Ugo and Uta!


C them go!

Last night just as I left the refuge for the evening, an elderly labrador was brought in. I quickly took some photos, sad that another old dog had arrived. The photos went onto our Facebook page and the dog’s owner posted immediately to say that she would be in to collect him today. How I wish it was like that every time! Rox was tattooed, but during his 14 (yes, 14) years, the tattoo had faded. Carole must be very disappointed not have a day of scouring the “possibles” on the central database, using question marks for the illegible digits. Sometimes Facebook is wonderful!

And that was not the only good bit of news today: Three dogs were adopted, all of whom had names that begin with the letter C! (for those of you who were wondering what the title was about!)

Just over a week ago, when she was abandoned due to the illness of her owner, we had real worries for Canelle. This dog had spent eight years in a loving home and was very upset at finding herself at the refuge. We were worried that her age would put people off, but not a bit of it. Just 5 days later Canelle had caught someone’s eye and yesterday she was sterilised prior to leaving for her new home. In fact (and we haven’t told her this, as we don’t want her to get big-headed), quite a few people expressed interest in her. I hope some of the other potential adopters will consider our other elderly dogs; Canelle is not the only one in need of a home!

Another wonderful piece of news today was the adoption of Chino. He has not been with us for long, but he arrived with a malformation of the eyelid and I am sure this is why he was dumped at our door. Initially nervous, a move to the cat house was all it took to show this little guy’s true colours. And a minor operation later meant he was ready for his new home!

And there is more: Our chubby little puppy, Cubby was adopted too, leaving Peter Pan and Wendy together in Neverland for the time being! Not for long, I am sure! Pups as cute at these two should soon be adopted.  And photos of our four new pups have just been uploaded to Facebook, too! The Vampire Diaries Litter!

A good day at the refuge!








Canelle – ADOPTED




















Joey Star leaves and Moira and I have a laugh!

Thanks to Carole the photos of Joey Star had already been published on Facebook before my blog had even been written. By the time the blog was on Facebook, Joey’s owner had already seen the photos and had contacted us! Joey’s real name is Tyrex and today he left the SPA with a brand new micro-chip and a very happy owner!

So that was great news to start the afternoon!

Otherwise there was some activity, but none of it good. The owner of the two setters, Hunter and Barbour, arrived to collect his dogs, whom he had lost over two weeks ago. He refused to have them identified, however and was quite vocal about this fact. It was pointed out to him that it was not us that were taking his money, and that it was a legal requirement that the dogs are identified, but he was adamant. And aggressive. Luckily the Police Municipal happened to be at the refuge, so monsieur left without his dogs.

So for the sake of 120 euros he prefers to give up two fabulous animals. What love he must have for his dogs! The strangest thing about this is that Hunter’s name really IS Hunter! What are the odds?

There was one other part of the afternoon which was funny but only to people like Moira and me, and everyone else who has a warped sense of humour. The two of us were walking dogs and were joined by a husky, who is often seen wandering near the refuge. I took a photo of it in case it was lost, and it followed us for most of the walk. The same thing happened on the next walk, the husky followed us. This time I heard someone beeping their car horn (but not getting out) to attract the dog’s attention, so I walked back down the hill to get the husky to go towards its owner (as I believe is correct dog etiquette).

It was then that I got a torrent of abuse, and accusations that I was stealing the dog! I explained that I was walking SPA dogs, but no, apparently I was doing so deliberately in order to steal the husky. Yeah, like we don’t have enough dogs already! I tried (again) to explain that I was not stealing the dog, that I had no lead other than the one I was using to walk the SPA dog. At this point the charming lady told me to do something that I won’t spell out here but which is in fact is physically impossible.

I had to laugh. She would be better off enclosing her garden and /or keeping her dogs under control than wasting her energy shouting rude words in public.

Made Moira and me smile, though!

Just another day in the madness of the dog rescue world!

Hunter- not worth the cost of a chip











Barbour- Likewise.

A (Joey) Star arrives!

Another week has started and with a bit of luck some of the people who visited us yesterday for the Open Day will return to adopt. We did have lots of visitors, and several people are going to think about their choice before committing. I for one salute you. Far better that than to pick a dog and bring it back immediately because it was not what you (or your partner) wanted. I freely admit that it took me three months of regular visits to the SPA before I found and adopted Lily, my aged ex-hunt beagle. It was before I was a volunteer, and although I liked several of the dogs, I wanted one that I knew was right for me and my other dog. Now I know the dogs much better there are many more I would adopt, but as a casual visitor you have very little information to go on and it is best to think first than regret afterwards.

A bit like the old proverb “marry in haste, repent at leisure”. A good adoption should be like a good marriage. You make sure it is right and it is for the long term before you rush into it.

A few more words about the open day yesterday. Several dogs got over-excited and a couple of fights broke out. This seems to happen at every open day (although it generally doesn’t result in bloodshed). We have been trying to work out what went wrong and what we can do to stop it happening again.

One option is to no longer open on the first Sunday of the month. But what is the good of that? Some people can only make it “en famille” on a Sunday, and of course the dogs get company on an afternoon when they are normally left alone.

One reason that the dogs get agitated is that people throw dog treats into the cages, rather than handing them to the dogs individually. Of course fights can break out when two dogs both rush for the same treat; even my own dogs will do that on occasion. Another thing that can be upsetting to a dog is when its kennel mate gets a walk and it is left behind. We do not allow people to walk one dog of a partnership. If there are two dogs in a kennel, then two dogs must be walked at the same time. And if one of them is not up to date with its vaccinations, then neither dog goes out. There is just no point in risking the health of the unvaccinated dog. Of course if an adoption is in the offing, that is a different thing entirely. We like adoptions!

So yesterday was a mixed open day and has certainly given us lots to reflect on. Live and learn.

Not much to report today, apart from the arrival of Joey Star. I actually saw this little dog yesterday during the open day. A couple had just hit him with their car in Montlegun and brought him to us. They then kindly took him to the vet (which is where any injured animal should go, but they weren’t sure what to do), where it turned out that he was fine, but unidentified. So today he is with us. If you recognise him please tell his owners there are no bills to pay. This little boy who is 5 to 6 months old would just like to be back in his home!

Joey Star- safe after his near miss

Inspiration was lacking until….

Well, today it rained pretty much non-stop, so sadly there was no dog walking. Not that the volunteers would have minded getting wet, but of course we wear coats and can get warm quickly afterwards, unlike the dogs who go back into their cold kennels.

I was wondering what I would write about tonight. Okay, there was an adoption, that of Gamma, one of the tiny puppies who we knew would leave quickly. We were right, they became available for adoption on Monday, and within 5 days all of three of them have either left or been reserved.

So not much of a blog, I was thinking. But then….at 17H45 inspiration arrived. Not in a good way, but it certainly gave me something to write about.

You remember little Soprano, who was adopted on Monday? Well he was brought back today. Guess what he had done?
a)Mauled the children?
b)Destroyed the house?
c) Bitten the postman?
d) All of the above?
e)None of the above?

Yes, strangely enough the answer is e. The dog was perfect. The reason given was “I wanted to please my wife, but she doesn’t want a dog”. Rude comments about pleasing one’s wife aside, what sort of person adopts a dog without discussing it with their partner? We expressed our outrage, naturally, but the bloke could see nothing wrong with his actions. He even said “but the dog has spent a lovely week with us”. Not appreciating at all that a dog is a living being and that he will have no idea at all what he has done wrong.

We were all standing there, and I for one was praying that this moron was going to ask for his money back. Sadly (or wisely from his point of view) he didn’t.

The selfishness of people never ceases to amaze me. The man said that bringing the dog back was heartbreaking, but it was either that or “make my wife unhappy for the next ten years”. No, I think you will be able to do that without the help of a dog, somehow!

Don’t forget that we are open tomorrow and the weather forecast is much better than it was for today. Come and see us, we have dogs of all shapes, ages and sizes, including a very confused little Soprano!










Soprano – ABANDONED. Just because.


Two dogs leave!

Today the beautiful husky called Anvik (whose real name was in fact Heaven) was reclaimed. Much argy-bargy on Facebook with the dog’s owner accusing us of having deliberately taken her dog, blah blah blah. Actually it was the Police Municipal who brought the dog to us, we do not actively go out to catch dogs in order to irritate people! Moreover, if the dog had been identified, we would have contacted his owner immediately. We have a lot less sympathy for people whose dogs are not identified, as you may have gathered.

Needless to say, the dog is now micro-chipped. But please don’t get on your high horse with us because you have not followed THE LAW regarding identification of animals. Honestly, if I had a euro for every time I used those words I would be a rich woman. It is not rocket science. Identify your dog, keep your details up to date in Paris and then if he or she arrives at the SPA, we will phone you.

I am glad Heaven is home, and I hope I never see him wandering loose around the outside of the refuge again. It is difficult for us to differentiate between dogs who have homes but whose owners leave them to wander all day, and dogs who have been deliberately dumped at the refuge gates. We are pretty good, but being psychic is not one of our skills.

In other refuge news, Beta, one of our tiny shih-tzu cross puppies left. That only leaves one, as another is reserved. And there was another reservation too, but for more news on that, you will have to be patient! But only until Tuesday, I am not really nasty, honest!

Come and see us on Sunday, we will be open and happy to introduce you to the dogs and cats, all of whom would love a new home.

Anvik, aka Heaven. – leaves identified.











Bye-Bye Bench!

Well, something incredible happened today. We have known about it since Monday and the excitement has been palpable, but patience is a virtue.

Today our lovely boy Bench found his home. Not a new home, he found his REAL home. The story is complicated but basically involves a divorce and a husband supposedly rehoming the dog to someone in Corsica, but in fact leaving him to stray, which resulted in his being brought to the refuge. Bench arrived in July 2013, and several people have been interested in him. He was even featured in the British magazine Dogs Today, thanks to Moira, who quite often sends details of our dogs to this well- respected journal. In fact he nearly found a home due to this publicity, and it was only a matter of timing that stopped him hitching a ride to the UK with Rebecca and James in mid-January.

Like many of our dogs Bench (or Balou, to use his real name) has a sponsor at the SPA. Last weekend his sponsor, Chantal, did a wonderful montage for Bench. It was this that was spotted by Balou’s owner, who doesn’t even live in this department! She phoned the SPA on Monday and arranged to collect him. So anyone who wonders why people bother making montages and sharing pictures of dogs on Facebook, there is your answer!

Thanks so much Chantal!

Sadly not all the news was good, as three new dogs arrived. Lovely Calysta was found at Saissac and brought into the refuge by a couple we know and with whom Calysta had spent the night. She is okay with dogs and cats, so with any luck this young beauceron cross will find a home soon.

The other two arrivals are two setters, presumably brothers, who were found in Roullens. One of them made us think so much of dearly departed Alex (of blessed Doglinks), but we resisted the temptation to use the same name. Instead they are called Hunter and Barbour; good outdoor names for two countryside loving dogs!

Don’t forget it is the open day this Sunday, so why not come and see us!

Bench- Reclaimed after seven months!
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New arrival Calysta








New arrivals Hunter and Barbour


Batman Returns (home)

A relatively quiet day at the refuge today, with the only event of note being the departure of yesterday’s arrival, Batman. That is not his real name of course, but when his owner collected him there was such excitement that no one thought to ask what it was. Great news for this little dog but, without wishing to point fingers, if even people in local government do not follow laws on dog identification, it is clear what an uphill struggle we have. Sigh.

In the absence of other news, I thought I would mention the fact that we have plenty of puppies right now, so if you or anyone you know has been waiting for a pup, now is the time to visit us. We have 3 litters at the refuge which making up a total of 10 pups. Three are bichon crosses (one of whom is reserved), and are going to stay tiny. Three are shepherd crosses who will be medium to large and 4 are a mix of shepherd and spaniel (the puppies of Patrol, the lovely German shepherd cross who was brought in last week).

We also have one a female malinois cross, Leia, who is in a foster family so is well on the way to being house-trained.

All are adorable, of course, and assuming our recent blogs on toilet training and education have not put you off, maybe one of them will steal your heart! And don’t forget, with at least two excellent dog training schools close to Carcassonne and free advice on offer, as well as other training schools and even private lessons available a bit further afield, there is plenty of help around should you need it.

I also wanted to draw your attention to the lovely blog written by the mum of recently adopted Flo (ex Froggy). Just read this, and if that doesn’t make you smile, you are in serious trouble!


“Holy quick escapes”











Beta, one of the small pups











One of the Peter Pan litter. Going to be big dogs!












Patrol’s pups







And lovely Leia







Ta-ra to Tootsie!

My refuge day started early today, as I arrived in the morning to meet Tootsie’s new dad. Barry’s wife Ann has already adopted several elderly dogs from the SPA, all of whom live out their lives in luxury in the Landes.

Today Tootsie was renamed Kimmie and went to live with Ann’s menagerie. If you look at the arrival photos of Tootsie and those taken once she had recovered from her neglect, you will see what an amazing job the SPA does. Tootsie even went through a period of being epileptic due to weight loss and stress. She is now free of this illness (which can indeed be temporary). But Ann had decided to adopt her before this good news was known; she is one of those all-too rare people who are not put off by illness in animals.

Tootise is coming up to nine years old, so she is very lucky to have found a home. Older dogs are harder to home, in general, so the adoption of Tootise is definitely a good news story.  And her new mum sent us a chocolate cake, too, which made it even better news (and yes, I did share it!)

This afternoon another dog left us, little Zaz. She didn’t make it onto the site, as she was reserved so quickly. Fabulous for her!

The rest of the day was not so good. A shih-tzu arrived, found in the nearby village of Montlegun. He is seven years old and well-groomed, but is not identified. Sigh.

In addition two more young dogs arrived; the first a young shepherd cross who was found in Villegaihenc and the second a young cross breed who arrived with two young children and a bizarre story of having been given the dog by their father, who had supposedly found it. But that their mother does not want them to keep it. Hmm. No comment. Except that this is a lovely dog and I am glad he is at the refuge!

So two out and three in. Not the best of days, but the best that Tootsie has known in a long time, that’s for sure!

Tootsie when she arrived in June
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And leaving today
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New arrival – Master













New arrival Batman













New arrival Mojo