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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Three out, three in! And maybe a fourth of a non-canine variety!

Had some nice, not to say surprising, events today. A lovely French family came along to volunteer dog walk; I had the feeling that they were on the look out for a dog, but wanted to start off slowly. In any case, I had just been to the infirmary to visit with Sylphide and Sveltesse (you know I have a soft spot for those two), and I suggested that they take Sylphide out for a walk. They came back having fallen in love. All our females have to be sterilised before leaving the refuge, and Sylphide is far too thin to undergo an operation, so the family have taken her home to fatten her up. Once she has been sterilised the adoption will be finalised! Fabulous news for her, although I feel sorry for Sveltesse, who is now all alone in the infirmary. Maybe her chance will come soon. Who knows?
In other news, our little wire haired teckel left, as did the lovely Greta (now called Lily Blue). Here is a picture of her looking a bit sleepy (post sterilisation), but wearing her brand new collar!
Three dogs were brought in, and I can’t help wondering if it is due to the bank holiday tomorrow. Free kenneling  perhaps? One girl, Megan, is in a particularly sorry state, and seems to have undergone a bit of home surgery; either that or someone has been practising how to use a staple gun. Grrrr. We are not looking for her owners as French law being what it is, rather than being prosecuted for cruelty, they will probably get the dog back! She is a lovely (though terrified) sharpei, so she will find a new owner and lots of love while she is waiting.
Oh, and just as we were closing the Police phoned to tell us that they were bringing us a goat. As I say, you just never know what each day will bring!

Lily Blue with her Netherlands Orange Collar
Megan, new arrival, complete with staples.


Death Sentence; What Death Sentence?

Well, after the sadness of yesterday’s post, here is something to cheer us all up.This story dates back over 2 years. At the time the SPA was a very different place. We had no internet sites, no Facebook and very few volunteers. Dogs were put down on a regular basis due to lack of space. It was extremely difficult to keep going as heartbreak was the norm. There were not many volunteers, as the refuge was not a place for the fainthearted. I often returned home in tears.
A few of us long-term volunteers can remember as far back as Alex. He was a magnificent English Setter who was found and brought into the SPA; identified but owners untraceable. It soon became clear that Alex had leishmaniasis. The (former) SPA vet says it was a matter of weeks before Alex would die as his liver was affected, and nothing could be done. “That may be the case”, said the wonderful Evelyn from Doglinks, “but Alex does not have to spend his final days in the SPA”. So rather than being taken on a one-way journey to the vet, Alex moved to a family home. That was 2 years and 3 months ago, and here he is, looking happy and healthy with one of his sisters, Tarka.
So as well as saying thank you again to Evelyn (who is a huge supporter of this and other refuges), I want to highlight to you two things. Or three, maybe.
First, don’t turn your back on a sick dog. In the right environment  and with lots of love, almost any dog can flourish.
Second, if you have dogs, read about leishmaniasis. It is spreading northwards through France and once your dog has it, he has it for life (although if caught early enough a dog can lead a normal life with treatment that is not budget-busting)
And (yes) thirdly, buy your dog(s) a Scalibor collar. This protects them from being bitten by the sandfly which is the sole vector for this uncurable disease. A vaccine is being developed, but it is only about 60% effective, whereas a scalibor is 100% (provided it is renewed regularly, about every 5 months). The refuge tries to put Scalibors on as many dogs as possible, most of them are donated by well-wishers under our sponsoring scheme. 
It has been a long time since we have had a case of leishmaniasis at the refuge, and we are determined to keep it that way! Make sure you protect your dogs, too, and stop this horrid disease from spreading!

Here is the beautiful and incredible lucky Alex, busy defying the odds! 

The Return of Swiffer

I am not famed for being nice to people who abandon their dogs. In fact sometimes when people come to the refuge to bring their dogs back, I have to leave the office for fear of speaking my mind. However a dog was brought back to the refuge yesterday, and, as the owners were English, I had to deal with them. 
This couple had phoned up to tell us they needed to bring their dog back a couple of weeks ago and we agreed upon a date (that way we can make sure we have a place free). In any case, yesterday was the day, and Swiffer was brought back. I was all prepared to be angry, but honestly I just couldn’t be. 
Swiffer was adopted from us 6 months ago, and I was aware that there had been some initial problems, but having heard nothing for five and a half months, I assumed all was well. Swiffer was adopted together with his kennel mate at the SPA. The two had got on fabulously whilst at the refuge, no fights, not even during feeding time. However once out of the refuge it was another thing entirely. Swiffer didn’t want to share his new mum and dad’s attention and started attacking poor Whisky. Unbeknownst to me, this has been going on ever since. I had no idea. I asked the couple why they had not asked for help, and they explained that they didn’t want to bother me, as they know I am busy, and they don’t speak any French so couldn’t go to dog training school.

We have 2 qualified dog trainers on our paid staff, and numerous volunteers who could have helped, but sadly it was too late.I just couldn’t be angry; the couple were so upset at leaving Swiffer, whom they felt they had let down. 

Swiffer is now nine years old and will not be easy to home. I have arranged for him to be castrated, so that even if he doesn’t find a home, he can share his box with a girl and that will stop him being lonely.
All this to say that please ask for help if you have a problem with a dog. There won’t be a question we haven’t heard before and it is much better to ask for help than feel out of your depth and alone, as this couple clearly did. 
Swiffer is a lovely dog who deserves a second chance. His former owners don’t have internet, but I would love to be able to tell them by telephone one day that Swiffer has a new home.ImageImage

I escape from the Refuge!

The weather wasn’t great today, which meant the refuge wasn’t as busy as it can be. Believe it or not the puppy who was abandoned yesterday was re-adopted today (don’t worry; not by the same people), so he is now officially very confused. This time we are pretty confident, but we have been wrong before.
I made the most of the lack of visitors to actually take a couple of dogs out for walks. Usually I just see them on the refuge or in the parks. I accompanied another volunteer as we walked Solo and Greta (soon to be Lily) and then I had a lovely walk with Sylphide, who is really starting to steal my heart. Her “sister”, Sveltesse, another favourite of mine, was in the infirmary recovering from her op, and I couldn’t bear Sylphide being alone  in her box. So I put her in the infirmary and she will stay there until she has put on a bit of weight. It will be good for her to see more people, too, and as you can see from the photos, both dogs are less nervous than they were the day of their arrival. 
One poor dog arrived, and I will write more about him tomorrow. We will have our work cut out to home him, as he is nine years old, but we have been lucky before!



Same number of pups, just different ones!

I have spent most of the day planning for and panicking about this evening’s annual general assembly. Happily it is now over and I am about to reward myself with a small glass of something nice. It is not the public speaking that bothers me, not even the public speaking in French, it is more the fact that not everyone agrees with everything, and sometimes democracy can be a pain. However the good guys won this evening, and we even have a couple new members of the inner counsel to reinforce the new politics of refuge; no to euthanasia and yes to sterilisation!
A couple of the employees were at the meeting, so I caught up with refuge news. Unlike last Friday when 9 dogs were brought in, today we had just one arrival; a puppy that was adopted 2 weeks ago. Guess what? This 10 week old puppy is not house-trained. How dare he! Sigh.
To counter that, one of his brothers was adopted, so there are still 2 puppies in the cat house. I wonder what they make of it all? Presumably, like me, they find humans a bit strange!
Still, onward and upward!
Magnolia out
Nenaphur back in


Incredible News!

Some days I wonder what should be the subject of my blog. Would you rather read about a lovely new arrival, or see a picture of a happy dog leaving, or in his new home? Well today there is no contest. 
First thing this afternoon we received a phone call. Someone had lost their dog six months ago, and had just seen a dog that looks similar on our site. They said they could not make it in until tomorrow, but in fact they were so excited at the prospect of finding their dog, that they arrived almost straight away.
And the lucky dog was…..GAMIN! 
He had been brought into us in October having been badly injured by a wild boar, and so when the family came to look for him (cos they DID), he was in the infirmary. They had just about given up hope of finding him, as six months is a long time, and he was not micro chipped (he is now, of course.)
Actually they were lucky he was still there, as the wonderful people at Levriers and Company had their eye on him at one stage. As it is, Gamin (real name Vulcan) is back with his family (including two children; we always knew he was good with kids!). Big smiles all round! Just goes to show, you never know what is going to happen next at the SPA. 


Photos from Animal Trust.

It was a relatively quiet day at the refuge by all accounts. I wasn’t there, as I have been busy preparing the update for my website (http://www.dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk) so my lovely elves can upload all the new dogs. Also I am getting ready for the upcoming General Assembly of the refuge, which is this Friday.
I have taken some time off to keep an eye on how our dogs are getting on at Animal Trust, and I thought you might like to see a couple of photos from their website. It is particularly gratifying to see Venusio mixing so happily with other dogs; he was always a bit difficult with other males at the SPA. Just goes to show the benefits of castration and a new environment. 

Here are Venusio and Pepere playing happily together with of the refuge girls

And here is Carbon, overlooked for so long at the SPA as being just another black dog. At Animal Trust he has a chance to shine. Literally and figuratively!


Two beautiful new girls who need us!

Not such a great day today, with two new dogs arriving. However once you see how thin these two beautiful girls are, perhaps you agree with me, that their arrival is in fact good news. Now they are at the SPA, Sylphide and Sveltesse will be given regular high quality food, veterinary treatment and lots of love. I spent some time in their kennel with them this afternoon, and I was rewarded with several little delicate licks, as they learned that no harm would befall them, and that they are safe and loved. 
As I have seen the numerous hunt dogs that are rejected at the end of each season, I have found myself drawn ever more towards this type of dog. They make wonderful family pets and they have a special something that just touches my heart. However long these two spend at the refuge, I am sure it is the best life they will have ever known. So welcome to both of them! 

And the Good News just keeps on Coming!

Not only have we had wonderful news, photos and even video of the 5 dogs, who are now safely and happily installed in Animal Trust, we have also had a couple of adoptions today.
Little Sadie, another invisible dog, left for her new home. She had no education at all, as several volunteers know all too well. But that didn’t stop her from catching someone’s eye and she is going to be a very happy dog, as we know some very good friends of Sadie’s new owners. They came along to collect her today and left with a new dog of their own; Bianca! This was just the icing on the cake  for me. 
The only entry today was an eight month old chihuahua, who weighs 2 kg and is presumably just lost (tho strangely he is not identified). So today was officially a GOOD DAY! 

Long may it last. 

Here are photos of Sadie and Bianca, and I hope you can follow the link to three of our dogs playing at Animal Trust.



And a video to warm the cockles of your heart!

Happy Doggies!

I am happy to report that all the dogs have arrived safely at their new home in Belgium. They were met by Animal Trust’s volunteers, who sound as committed as the Carcassonne crew. They ADORED the new arrivals; everyone was stunned to see Pepere, they have never seen any dog quite like him before! Venusio and Jojo stole hearts straight away, and Carbon has become a typical black lab, running round the fields like a lunatic. As for Murphy; he is still pulling like a tractor, but he will calm down soon, when a daily run becomes the norm!
Once again a huge THANK YOU to Eline at Animal Trust for this incredible lifeline, and to Sarah and Ruben for driving the dogs to safety and their new life.
In other news, we have photos of yesterday’s two other lucky dogs. You would have assumed that both of these dogs would take ages to find homes, but thanks to the generosity of the human spirit (well, some  humans), both these needy dogs were out in double quick time.

Here is Ray, now renamed Castro (after Giovanni Castro, the big hairy rugby player) who is looking beautiful and is enjoying watching TV while he can still see. Soon he will only be able to listen to Formula One!

And here is 15 year old Doudou, who left her lovely (and tearful) foster mum yesterday and now has a permanent home.