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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

A very British afternoon

Today after a couple of days of so-so weather, the sun shone again, and the volunteers were out in force. It was also the first chance for Eric and Adriana, who are on work placement at the SPA for two weeks, to be put through their paces.

Each of them teamed up with a British volunteer and went off to walk dogs. All kinds of topics were discussed, from rugby to cupcakes! Everyone looked very happy strolling along, waving arms and legs as they tried to communicate. Eric and Adriana soon noticed the difference between accents, as we had both southerners and northerners there. I am just sad that Moira was not there, a Scottish accent would have put the icing on the cake!

And all things cake were very much on the agenda, as Anna, one of our walkers, came along with goodies, which helped to sustain us as we started to flag a bit mid-afternoon. Delicious!

There was an adoption too, again by a Brit! Lucky Gabriella was picked to help mend the heart of a lovely lady who had sadly lost her two dogs within the last couple of months. No dog can be truly replaced, but a new four legged friend can help to mend a broken heart.

Gabriella had been seen straying around the refuge for at least 6 weeks before she was finally brought in; presumably she was abandoned by someone who could not bring themselves to take those last few steps inside the gates and ensure their dog’s safety, but rather let her loose on the road. Well, Gabriella is safe now, and will have a fenced orchard to play in. Once she has settled in she may well be joined by a friend, and it may even be someone she already knows……We haven’t told Rodrigo yet, though!

A much better picture of Tanya who arrived yesterday. Five years old and calm.

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Look at these cakes. Yet another reason to volunteer!
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Gabriella- ADOPTED!

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A high note for Soprano!

A mixed day today; two dogs arrived, one was reclaimed thanks to his chip, the other, a female setter, was not identified so is still at the refuge. For some reason female dogs are very much a minority at the refuge, so it was easy to find her a male kennel mate; castrated of course!

On the good news front, my neighbourhood dog was reclaimed. Apparently he was taken on by the children after the death of their parents, and they never really wanted a dog. There is a lesson there for a lot of people, I am sure. I am hoping that the fact that they came to collect him shows that they are going to appreciate him more; in any case, he is identified now, although I still don’t know his name.

The day’s BIG news was the adoption of Soprano. You may remember that this little ratier cross was adopted recently then abandoned a week later as the husband had failed to tell his wife that he was adopting a dog.  She unsurprisingly, was not thrilled. Well, his new owner IS thrilled with him; he had been looking for a dog like Soprano for ages, but the dog had to be good with his 17 year old cat. There was much debate, and several visits to the cat house to watch Soprano’s reactions (answer: good with some cats, not good with others). But the daughter had fallen head over heels in love with Soprano and the adoption was finalised today.

I couldn’t be happier for him; he can finally settle down and stop bouncing round his cage. Appearances can be deceptive, he is quite calm outside!

There was also a reservation; a GOOD reservation. They are all good, of course, but in this case it is a dog who has been at the refuge for over a year! Watch this space!

New arrival – TANYA




















Soprano- ADOPTED


Tim and Ginger leave together.

The day started well, with the departure of Tim and Ginger. Tim is the last of Charly’s siblings, and, at 12 years, was going to be the hardest to home. However thanks to our good friends at Doglinks a wonderful family was found. In fact they had already adopted from us, a tiny scared boy called Gavroche whom they adore.

Tim left with relatively recent arrival Ginger. I was convinced that her owner would come and collect this tiny shih-tzu who is only a year old. We published her photo far and wide, but no one came to claim her (she was not identified, of course), and I am pleased for her, as she could not find a better family than with Denis and Nicky. Incidentally, they also have a boxer called Ginger, so OUR Ginger is now called Poppy.

They live about four hours away from Carcassonne, so a “covoiturage” was required. The first date possible for the family to take “delivery” was yesterday, so getting things organised for today was pretty impressive, I think. Many many thanks to Pauline and Wally, great supporters of the SPA (and adopters of border collie Maisie (ex Elfie)), and thanks also to Martine, who would have done the delivery had we not got our Roqueforts mixed up! Shame, I was looking forward to some cheese!

There was patchy rain this afternoon, but a couple of people showed up to walk dogs in any case. Belinda and Paul delivered two kennels which had kindly been donated by Heddy. She was selling them via the internet, but once she heard that the SPA was interested, she gave them to us for free, which was very kind.

A couple of new dogs arrived, sadly. One of them I see every day, he is always wandering alone in my village, and I knew that one day he would end up at the SPA. I don’t know his real name, we have called him Voyou. I really hope that his owners come to collect him.

The second is a big old black dog. As if we don’t have enough of those already. This poor boy has a bad ear infection, but we will soon have him healed, and I am sure that better things await!

So two out and two in. The number of dogs is the same, the total weight of the inmates has changed, that is all!

Tim and Poppy (ex Ginger) set off from the SPA
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New kennels- Thank you Heddy

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New arrival “Voyou”

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New arrival Pele

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Some Roquefort cheese!

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Adoption of one of our four border collies!

I do not usually go to the SPA on Mondays unless it is by special request. Today turned out to be pretty special!

A border collie-loving couple who live in Toulouse had come across the English language site (www.dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk, for those of you reading this on Facebook), where they saw photos of Ycare. They phoned on Saturday to ask if he was still there, and could they come and meet him. The husband managed to get some time off work today, so we met at the refuge. I had already warned them that Ycare was taking antibiotics and at the end of this course of treatment an operation might be necessary. As such he would not be available for adoption immediately.

However once they had met this beautiful boy, they knew that leaving him at the refuge for at least 4 more weeks, possibly longer, was just not possible. So we went off to the vet to discuss Ycare’s health; he was micro-chipped there and then, and off he went.

Ycare is going to be renamed Moss and is will have a fabulous life in his new home, a huge farmhouse with a hectare of enclosed garden. I am sure that any wildlife in the garden will soon be rounded up and organised, probably in order of height. Moss has a very developed herding instinct, shall we say!

In other refuge news, Falco found his owner. Again.  Let’s hope that this is the last time we see him at the SPA. I doubt it, sadly. Dog owning is a family affair, and if the whole family is not committed to  the dog, there can be trouble. And usually it is the dog that suffers.

A new dog arrived, a young black female who has been named Calamity Jane. Apparently this is because she narrowly avoided being hit by a car. Perhaps she should be called Lucky Jane. In any case she has been described as being “adorable” so perhaps her arriving with us is no calamity!

We are putting out an appeal for unwanted jars with their lids, please. No, we are not going to start making jam; something far more exciting. I will just say one word: CAKE! Just saying the word puts a smile on my face, and it will be for a fundraising event, so two reasons to smile.

Also a brief word of sympathy for our stalwart supporter, Di, who lost her beloved Westie, Jenny, this morning. Many of you will have seen Di and Jenny at the refuge, often walking with Tayson. We are all sorry for your loss, Di. One more over the rainbow bridge.

Ycare – ADOPTED (and renamed Moss)

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New arrival – Calamity Jane












And lovely Jenny, wearing one of the coats that Di knits for the SPA dogs. RIP, little one.


D Day for Dingo

Sometimes people come to the refuge and fall in love with a dog immediately. Others take many months to choose the right canine companion. There is no right or wrong, and it is important that everyone agrees, especially when a family is involved.

Today after literally months of looking and walking various dogs, for one family a decision was finally made. Dad wanted a Rottweiler (and still does). Mum wanted something smaller, and the kids just wanted a dog they could love. A couple of weeks ago they walked little Dingo, a few days later mum came back to reserve him, and today he left for his new life.

Dingo was abandoned at the Residences of Montredon, where he was at the mercy of the neighbours of the people who had left him behind. He spent several weeks essentially fending for himself. Some people were nice to him, others not so nice. So Dingo arrived in a terrible state and very nervous of people. Oh, and he looked like Bob Marley’s oldest and smelliest wig.

Look at him today , though, leaving with his new family. He seemed to really take to the little girl and her brother, in fact it was he who adopted them, in many ways. So despite coming with a view to homing a young, big dog, the family left with a very small five year old dog.

Oh,  and Dingo has been renamed. Due to his impression of a proud pony he will be called Frank Trotter.

That was the only adoption of the day, but the weather was much kinder than it could have been, and lots of dogs were walked by our fabulous team of volunteers. Thank you all. I hope the weather is better tomorrow morning, when Team Quillan will be a the Vide Grenier  in the Carrefour car park. Wrap up warm, guys and good luck!

Dingo when he arrived at the refuge at the beginning of January.






And leaving with his new humans today

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Trumpets sound and Snoopy is reclaimed!

Well, for those of you who read yesterday’s blog, the dog we thought was Snoopy WAS in fact Snoopy and has now been reclaimed. Fabulous news for this 12 year old dog!

Good news for another oldie too. Who remembers Scampi who was really called Trompette and was brought to the refuge on Sunday? His owner is in hospital and he initially said that his neighbours would look after his dog, but then he phoned back to say that the dog is old and we should just put him down. Well today Trompette was adopted, so yah boo sucks to you, Sir! Thanks to his new family for giving him a second chance!

However there was a horrid start to the afternoon. I was not there, thankfully, but I am upset nonetheless, as are the employees. Someone decided that the SPA is the right place to leave their dead dog. So they dumped his body in one of the external boxes, complete with his vaccination book. Carole phoned up to find out what was going on, and apparently the dog was hit by a car and died. How many times do I have to say, we are not a dustbin. And that applies to dogs who are alive or dead. Take some responsibility, people!

On the subject of taking responsibility; I am getting more and more irritated by people who fail to identify their dogs and then expect us to move heaven and earth to help them find them. It is okay if the dogs arrive at the SPA and then leave us micro-chipped, but what about the dogs who return back home either on their own or thanks to a third party. Are they ever micro-chipped after they have been found? Probably not. Personally I have taken the decision to only help find dogs who are chipped or tattooed. If a dog arrives (identified or unidentified) at the SPA, as usual we will pull out all the stops to track down its owner, but for those of you who profess to adore your dog but haven’t bothered to get him or her identified, I am no longer going to spend my time on you. IT IS YOUR OWN FAULT. If your dog is identified and he or she goes missing, I will share your photo far and wide.

This is my personal decision and as yet will not apply to the SPA Facebook page, but it is under debate. So be warned, our sympathy is starting to wane.

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Trompette (aka Scampi)- ADOPTED


Laika leaves or Freedom for Fetide!

I have no doubt many of you remember Laika, the beautiful setter who arrived with such stinky breath that she was baptised with the name Fetide, which we decided might not help her chance of adoption so was changed. Her name was changed to Stella when she was adopted for 48 hours, but she reverted to one of the two names when she returned to the refuge.

Others of you may be sharp-eyed enough to recognise the gentleman in the photo with Laika. Who remembers when Blanca, the deaf dog was abandoned, coincidentally also 48 hours after being adopted? This gentleman happened to be at the refuge at the time, and was kind enough to hold Blanca so I could take photos of her. And here he is again, having come back to the refuge for a second look at Laika, and this time he adopted her!

She is going to be one happy dog, and photos have been promised!

Two dogs arrived today, one of whom we think may be called Snoopy and we think we may have tracked down his owner, although the dog is not identified (Grrrr) so we won’t be sure until they come to see him.

The second of the day’s arrivals will be known to the older (in terms of time, not age) volunteers, as he was adopted two years ago. His owner came all the way from Montpelier to collect him. Sadly she was not prepared to come all the way back from Montpelier when she abandoned him. So two of the SPA directors drove to collect him today, and Shadow is back with us. It looks like the long walks that this woman promised would take the weight off him never happened. The contract that she signed clearly stated that the dog should be brought back to the SPA Carcassonne. Do you not think that we have enough to do already, without going to collect dogs from two hours away.  Thank you to the SPA Montpelier for contacting us and for driving Shadow to the payage, which made navigation much easier.

However other refuges should take note that we DO collect our dogs, unlike many others  who refuse to do so. We have several dogs who “belong” to other refuges, and not only do these SPAs refuse to collect them, they even refuse to take them back even when we offer to deliver them to their door.

We are supposed to be on the same team, but sometimes I have my doubts.

Laika / Fetide – ADOPTED
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New arrival – possibly Snoopy










Shadow- Abandoned miles away- Thanks, you inconsiderate *******s



Weed waves goodbye, but otherwise, nothing but bad news.

Well there was nearly some good news today. We found out that the owner of the dog whom we had named Scampi is really called Trompette. His owner is in hospital but phoned us to say that his neighbours would come to collect the dog and look after him until he is back at home. Great. This was then followed up by a call telling us that he doesn’t want his dog after all and that we can put him to sleep if we want.  Not so great!

So Trompette is looking for a new home. At ten ears old maybe that won’t be easy, but for a small dog, ten is nothing, and we certainly have no plans to take him on a one way trip to the vet! The owner maybe, but not the dog!

A new dog arrived today, one whom we have seen before at least three times. This time he may be with us for keeps; Falco was found tied up to a lamp post. He had been so distressed that he had wrapped himself round and round the post and was strangling himself. And guess what? He was wearing a prong collar. The rubber stops were still on the spikes, meaning the skin had not been pierced, but Falco is lucky he didn’t choke to death. Or perhaps that was the plan? In any case, he is with us for now, and we will wait to see what his owners say when we manage to track them down.

How many of these prong collars are out there, I wonder?

This is a site dedicated to dogs, but sometimes a cat gets a mention. This time it is for a bad reason. What sort of sick person throws a young cat from the walls of La Cite? The cat has a couple of broken bones and some internal bleeding but should pull through. I don’t have any photos, as the police took the cat straight to the vets (unfortunately they didn’t catch the sadistic morons who were responsible). But it is a castrated grey cat with a black collar, so if you know of a cat of this type who is missing, please get in touch.

Don’t despair, there is one piece of good news: Weed was reclaimed! This lovely husky cross with different coloured eyes was brought in on Saturday; his owners are on holiday and he had been left with neighbours and it was they who came to collect Weed today.

Just another day in the life of the SPA!

Trompette- No longer wanted
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Falco arrives AGAIN

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Falco’s collar (Grrrr)

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Three dogs find their owners.

No fewer than three recent arrivals found their homes today; two were dogs who are already well known to us as “runners”. Jaguar (aka Geo) belongs to a Russian lady, and when Melissa phoned her on Friday to tell her that her dog was with us, the owner was in Moscow! However she asked her brother- in-law to come and get the dog, so as of today he is back where he belongs.

Second was Hercule, who is a SPA regular. He was found wandering on the Pont Vieux by Lucie, one of our supporters. She brought him to the SPA this afternoon and then delivered him back home. It took a bit of time, as the owners were  out looking for him, so Hercule spent some of the afternoon playing with Lucie’s ex – SPA dog, Harley.

Oh, the joys of identified dogs!

The third dog to leave was Joanna, who arrived on Saturday. Her real name was in fact Tika, but we didn’t know that, because she was not identified. (No comment). One of our most loyal supporters, “vide-grenierist” extraordinaire, Fred, lives in Quillan, and it was he who emailed us to tell us that one of his French neighbours had lost his dog. We asked for more information, and as soon as the photos arrived, we knew that Joanna had found her owner. Excellent news! She is now identified, of course!

So thanks Fred! I don’t think the owner had thought of contacting the SPA!

So a day of reunions. We did have a new arrival, and I will try and take pictures of him tomorrow and see if we can find his owners, or maybe a new home.

Jaguar- owner in Russia arranges for dog to be collected!








Hercule- delivered home by a SPA supporter

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Tika (Joanna)- RECLAIMED (and now identified)


News in pictures and pictures in the news!

The refuge was shut today, but we still made the news, albeit briefly. The report on Charly was transmitted as promised, but the 2 hours the film crew spent at the refuge was condensed into about 2 seconds and despite our pleas, no mention was made of the need (and legal obligation) to identify one’s animals. Instead it turned into a human (or rather canine) interest story, but of course that is better than nothing at all. And from our point of view it was wonderful to see actual video footage of Charly with his family, rather than the photos we have had up till now.

Here is the link, and you can see Charly at about the 12 minute point. You have to put up with a lot of advertisements first though! Just talk amongst yourselves while you are waiting!


And that is not the only news we have of recent adoptions. Take a look at this photo of Onyx (now renamed Tuche). He has become a prize winner, but for equestrian events. That leaves me a bit puzzled, as although he was almost as big as a Shetland pony, he is still a dog. Doesn’t he look great, though?

And here is a photo of little Neige, adopted just this week. She was one of Charly’s sisters, remember, and now she has had a bath she is looking even more beautiful than before!

Finally, look at Clara, lying in the sun with her new pal, Jackson. With two terriers there was bound to be a couple of minor squabbles at first, but it certainly looks like peace has broken out now!

As I have said many times, we never get bored of hearing stories of our former “inmates”, nor of seeing photos. If you would like to see your dog in our Facebook album “Life after the Refuge”, just send us a picture and let us know if it is for public release or just for us. And if you would like to do a guest blog about your experiences of adopting from the SPA Carcassonne, you would be most welcome to do so. Moira and I are always happy to hand over the reins on a Sunday, so this could become a regular feature!

Contact us via website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk

Tuche (ex Onyx) – A prizewinner












Lady (ex Neige – still as white as snow) 

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Clara with Jackson – lazy sunny afternoon