Home / Author Archives: Darcey Dyson (page 132)

Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Adoption of an oldie and information that may be useful to some.

Here is a question that is frequently being asked, both on the SPA Facebook page and on this website. “WHAT DO I DO IF I FIND/HAVE FOUND A DOG THAT I WANT TO KEEP?”

Several people have contacted me to tell me of their heartbreak when they have been “forced” to give back to its owners a dog which they have looked after for several months. This applies to dogs that are identified (by either microchip or tattoo). A non- identified dog can be identified  in your name immediately by any vet, although I think it is only fair to at least attempt to find the owner by informing your local SPA and the local Mairie, and maybe even putting up posters locally, but that is a matter of discretion.

For an identified dog there are two possibilities. You either bring it to your local SPA, who will either keep it for ten days and then call you to come and adopt him properly (let them know you want him, though!). Some SPA’s (like the SPA Carcassonne) will often let you keep the dog at your house, but it is worth bearing in mind that you can become terribly attached in 10 days, and so sometimes it is best to leave the dog in the refuge, especially if you have children.

The second option (and if you don’t want to pay SPA adoption fees), is to take the dog to a vet and request that he notify the SCC (Societe Central Canine) in Paris that the dog has been found. This gives the owners a chance to find him, and is ultimately the reason for getting an animal identified. If they haven’t contacted the SCC to reclaim their dog after 15 days, ask your vet to change the ownership details. This will cost you a whole 5 euros!
Advantages of going via the SPA are that we will vaccinate the dog and do the paperwork etc, and if you want him/her castrated/sterilised, it tends to be much cheaper via a refuge, as they get a good rate at the vets. However the other route is perfectly legal!
In refuge news, another fabulous adoption today, that of Tesson, who is eleven years old and has been at the refuge since May 2012. He was but one of several elderly German Shepherds at the refuge, and we are delighted that he has found a home. His adopter selected Tesson several months ago, but was unable to adopt him until his own dog passed away, so whereas we are happy for Tesson, we know that his freedom is only due to the death of a much loved pet. Bitter sweet.

We wish him a long and happy life and hope that our other elderly German Shepherds are as lucky. Remember, we ask just 80 euros for a dog of 9 years or over, and this can include castration/sterilisation if required! Please consider adopting a golden oldie!

Tesson who was adopted today!


Two adoptions and Darcey lays a curse.

Hi All – I am back!
I am sure everyone agrees that Moira has done an excellent job while I have been away, so much so that I am thinking of (ab)using her more often. But today I have been at the refuge and I have tidings of great joy, so I have told Moira to shove over and make room for me!

First up was the adoption of Paca. She arrived at the refuge a whole 15 months ago, and was very nervous, almost to the point of being aggressive. However she quickly got the hang of refuge life and quickly became a favourite with many of the volunteers and employees. She is a big strong girl and enthusiasm was her biggest fault. And despite the amount of time she has spent with us, Paca’s lust for life has never diminished. Finally today she found a home, and we are delighted for her!

Second was the departure of Candy, who has been with us since the end of December. Not so long, you may think, but the departure of a Rottweiler is always cause for celebration. There are papers to fill in, courses to attend and all sorts of hoops to jump through, as these dogs are officially dangerous! Try telling that to lovely Candy. She is going to live with Fabio, a beautiful Dogue Argentin who was homed from the refuge several months ago. Bizarrely in the UK Dogue Argentins are catagorised as dangerous, whereas in France they can be owned by anyone. Hmmm.

On the bad news front, we have been told by the SPA in Toulouse that no, they will not be collecting Tom. He is a 10 year old German Shepherd cross who has been with us for just over a  month. The agreement is that any dog that has been adopted from a refuge returns to the same refuge if he is ever found or abandoned. Toulouse are refusing to take Tom back, because they know at 10 years old they will be unable to rehome him. This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour in my opinion, especially as we are full to bursting. We hope that Tom finds a home, and he is certainly better off with us than he would be in Toulouse, however this washing of hands is just not acceptable.

Paca leaves after 15 months








Goodbye to Candy












And Tom is abandoned by the refuge that should be looking after him.


Three happy souls!

A bit cooler today so less arduous for the dogs who are behind bars at the refuge. I can’t but help being a bit worried about the panic there tonight during the Bastille Day celebrations. Carcassonne is proud of having the second biggest fireworks display in France (after Paris, obviously), but dogs and fireworks are not a good mix and the refuge is very close to the centre of things. I hope they are all okay. And the same goes for all your animals too, of course.

No news from the refuge, as we were shut, but I wanted to just show a couple of photos of dogs who are now happily homed. Firstly we have Lily Blue, whose mum sent me a wonderful email yesterday full of news. They have been struggling with Lily’s digestive problems since her adoption, and the vet’s diagnosis has revealed Giardia, which is now being treated. This is not something that anyone should be worried about and there is no indication (or accusation) that it came from Lily Blue’s short stint at the SPA, but it is something to be aware of. I have had Giardia myself (working in Tajikistan), and I had no idea it could affect dogs too. It is treatable and curable, and worth knowing about if your dog has chronic diarrhoea.

Secondly here is Sax, ex Trajan. He was one of a litter of puppies knows as “Ancient Rome” and you will have to have been following the SPA for a long time to remember him! He came for a visit and to show us how handsome he has grown. I hope his brothers and sisters are doing well too.

Thirdly here is Jules, ex Rocky. He was homed to a neighbour of mine about a year ago, after his previous owner died. I found him playing with my pack in the garden yesterday morning and took this photo! He looks so well.

So three happy dogs. I wish the same for the others who are waiting at the refuge!

Happy Bastille Day, everyone. Moira will be taking over again tomorrow as I am away for a week or so. Once again I am hopeful of good news on my return. The eternal optimist!

Lily Blue-on the road to recovery, we hope
Image 21










Sax (ex Trajan) who came to visit the SPA to show us how handsome he is








And here is Jules, who broke into my garden yesterday to play

Beauceron Day!

Today was another hot one, and apart from spraying the dogs, there was little we could do to make them more comfortable. People stayed away too, partly due to the heat, but mainly because very few people are willing to adopt at this time of year, with holidays approaching. If only they realised that this time is critical for us, as the SPA is filling up with dogs from all the people who refuse to make arrangements for their animals when they go away. We have a dog that was here at exactly the same time last year. As last year her owner will arrive just before the ten days “pound time” is up (ie before we are legally permitted to rehome the dog). This time we are going to ask for kennel fees , as that is what we are being used as. And of course it takes up a space for a dog who really IS homeless, not just one whose owner is irresponsible.

Three new dogs arrived today, one of them was a planned abandonment, of a 3 year old female beauceron, Fanta, adopted from us as a puppy but who jumps the family’s garden fence. No comment. The other two arrivals are beautiful beauceron pups, which brings the number of puppies at the refuge to 20. That is a lot of puppies for a refuge, and of course people often adopt puppies in preference to older dogs, meaning that our adults risk spending even longer behind bars.

No adoptions took place, so it is hard to give good news, however here is some! Do you remember Hoffen, the Montagne de Pyrenees who arrived at the refuge ten days ago weighing just 26kgs? Well here he is today, he has put on 10 kgs in as many days! At this rate we will be able to offer pony rides! It is wonderful to see a dog make such speedy progress, and yet again this proves that although every dog wants a home of his own, the refuge is not the worst place to be!

Fanta, adopted as a puppy but jumps fences three years later











Clyde and Bonnie, two beauceron puppies

1001863_567905146585835_905068270_n 1000152_567904763252540_689481085_n










And look at Hoffen! 36 kg and growing healthier by the day!



Some good news!

Today was an amazing day for two of our dogs. Luther and Ziha have been at the refuge for almost exactly two years. They were brought to us when their owner ran into some legal difficulties (okay, he was sent to prison) and his dogs were to be destroyed, unless an alternative could be found. I won’t go into the reason for the owner’s incarceration, but it was not for violent crime and his dogs were beautifully socialised and certainly deserved to live.
At the time the refuge had space, so we agreed to look after Luther and Ziha. They have been waiting patiently ever since. We put them in one of the boxes opposite the parks so that, even though they couldn’t go for walks, they were able to play outside.
One of my fondest memories of them is of February 2012, when Mika, one of the refuge employees and I spent about 2 hours shovelling a huge pile of snow from outside Luther and Ziha’s kennel. The two dogs sat and watched us without moving the whole time! When we finished, we took a bow (well, I curtsied in my lady-like manner) and the dogs went back inside now that the show was over! It really made me laugh.
I am so pleased for them and so happy that their owner kept his word and came back to collect them.
I must add that this case was very much an exception. The Procurer has since informed us that we are not responsible for dogs in this position. However even at the time we could have refused; two years is a long time for dogs to be locked up. For people too, I suppose, except the dogs were innocent!  But in any case it has all worked out and Luther and Ziha can now enjoy the freedom they have been missing all this time.

And further to my post concerning the dogs at Animal Trust in Belgium whom I visited earlier this week, I can announce the wonderful news that Carbon, the black labrador, has been homed and has gone to live in Holland. I like to think that my pep talk in his ear on Tuesday helped, but actually I think it was thanks to the lovely Amber, who posted the news onto our Facebook page.

Luther and Ziha leave after two long years









Carbon leaves Animal Trust

Two happy reunions in amongst the madness.

Well, today was my first day at the refuge for just over a week, and the change in the atmosphere was palpable. In terms of capacity we are at breaking point. I have just been getting the update ready for the site, and I been adding biographies of the sixteen dogs that have arrived during my absence. The heat is not helping, with walking not really an option so the best we can do is shower the dogs and hope this cools them down a bit.

As ever, though, there was something to smile about. Firstly was the arrival and almost immediate departure of Venus. There were alerts out for this English setter who went missing during the thunderstorm yesterday. As well as being elderly, Venus is diabetic, and her owners were frantic with worry. They had contacted the SPA as well as other websites. So when two lovely ladies arrived with an English setter whom they had found, our eagle eyed secretary, Carole, made the connection. Venus’s owners were contacted and they hot-footed it to the refuge, delighted to find their beloved pet. Venus has now had her injection and is doing well after her adventure!

Contrast this with all the people who abandon their dogs at the first sign of illness (says she, still furious at the owners of Hector)

Then the mayor of a local village arrived with a beautiful golden labrador who had been found wandering. Max was micro-chipped, and his owners were overjoyed to hear that their boy was safe. There is a certain mystery as to how Max covered 35 kms in two days in 35 degrees heat. We suspect the involvement of a malicious human, but all ended well and Max is now back at home.

One dog arrived today, she has been with us before and believe me, she is better off where she is now.

Venus, diabetic and adored!








Max, how did you get all that distance?


Visiting some of our dogs who have gone international!

Hi Everyone, it is Darcey here again just for a few days before handing back to Moira.

Despite having a wonderful time and more fun than should be legal for someone of my advancing years, and despite my lack of internet access, the dogs have not been far from my mind. This was partly because I was with Sarah, who lives in Belgium, but is a keen SPA Carcassonne volunteer when she comes to spend time in her family’s home in Limoux.

So after the music festival had finished, we went to spend an afternoon in Melle visiting Animal Trust. For those of you who don’t know, this is a tiny private refuge, who last year homed several so-called hopeless cases from Carcassonne (primarily ex- chasse dogs who had either been at the SPA for ages or whom we just knew would not get homed). And in April Sarah delivered a further five Carcassonne dogs, who are now enjoying life much more than they were in the confines of our refuge.

It was lovely seeing them all playing in the parks, running in and out of the ponds and generally loving life. It is a shame that so far none of them have been adopted, but Eline, who runs the refuge, assures me that this is not due to any behavioural problems. Even Venusio and Murphy, who were impossible to mix with other dogs when they were with us, have become well –adjusted, sociable dogs. It is just a matter of time before the right person comes along for them.

Then, the icing on the cake. Before flying home from Charleroi, I phoned to beg a bed from Facebook friends (and fauve de Bretagne fans) who live close to the airport. I had no idea when I called that they were away and that I would be seeing some mutual friends who were house-sitting during their absence! I am sure that Georgie and Jordan would have been just as hospitable, but it was a lovely surprise to see Phil and Anita who have two ex SPA Carcassonne dogs, so I got to see them, and Gwen and Yessa as well.

What a week, happy reunions all round. The news from the SPA was not so good and my dreams of an empty refuge have not come to pass, but we hope for better things to come!

I say hello to Pepere, Jojo and Murphy









Sarah teaches Carbon to sit and wait











Venusio cools off










JoJo with Ambre, one of the Animal Trust volunteers










And finally Gwen and Yessa on holiday in Belgium


Chanel has the banana!

I had to leave the refuge early as one of my dogs had to go to the vet for an emergency grass-seed-from-nose extraction. However when I left things were not going well. Four dogs had been brought in, one of whom is a Pyrenean Mountain dog, who arrived weighing 26kg rather than the 50kg that he should be. His toenails are so long they are curled back on themselves. A sad sight indeed. We will soon have Hoffen up on his paws and the change in him will be dramatic, but how sad that such a magnificent creature should be allowed to get into this state. We suspect that his toenails have grown this way due to Hoffen having been enclosed in a small space; let’s hope he is soon adopted and really understands the meaning of freedom!

On the plus side, a lovely couple came to adopt Chanel, who was abandoned by her owner a couple of weeks ago. This couple travelled a long way and were delighted with their new dog. Happy smiling faces all round! Just look at Chanel. I love the French expression to “have the banana”, but it is only when you see dogs smiling like this that you understand it properly!

And yes, we know that Chanel has the opposite problem to Hoffen, but a sensible diet and more exercise will do wonders and I have been promised photos once Chanel is back to her slimline self!

The other BIG adoption of the day was that of Grizzli. He is going to have a lovely time in his new home and it is great that his time at the refuge was so brief. Let’s hope Hoffen is as lucky!

I am off for a week or so, leaving you in the capable blogging hands of Moira. Looking forward to lots of good news when I get back!

Chanel has the banana!









Grizzli leaves too







But poor Hoffen arrives. 

Cool days await old dog!

I don’t know about where you are, but today in Carcassonne it has been absolutely baking hot. Wonderful as this is for tourists and those lucky enough to be living a life of leisure, my thoughts always turn towards the dogs at the refuge. For reasons of hygiene, the kennels are made of concrete, and you can just imagine how hot these are in this kind of heat.

The staff hose down the kennels as often as possible. Some dogs lie under the spray, others wait in the dry, but emerge once their outside area is a bit fresher.

The dogs who suffer the most are undoubtedly the oldies, so I was delighted to hear the news that Tammy was adopted today. Tammy is 13 years old, brought in at the end of May, with a severe heart murmur. The vet told us that her condition meant that sterilisation was not possible, so we had to find a family with no male dogs and no risk of unwanted male visitors. Our good friends at Doglinks (who have a very soft spot for the oldies) will be delighted at the news that today Tammy was homed so she will be out of the baking heat of the SPA!

More good news came in the form of the first photos of Boza (now Enzo) in his new home. And only one dog arrived today, so fingers crossed it will be a good week! Oh, and we had a visit from Minnie, who was homed a couple of weeks ago.

Lucky Tammy







Boza, now Enzo, at home








Minnie comes to say hello


Hector rediscovers his Joie de Vivre!

Even though it has been four weeks since our last Open Sunday, today is still June, so it is not until next week that the SPA will be open. The volunteers have itchy feet, but we have left the dogs to their own devices today, and any the work has been going on behind the scenes.

We have had early news of Sunny, adopted yesterday and already proving to be a little star, with no overnight puddles! Good girl, she knows that she has landed on her paws!

In the relative elation of yesterday’s six adoptions, I failed to mention one major event. Well, major for us at least. This was the first walk for Hector since he was abandoned at the SPA on June 10th. You may remember from an earlier blog that Hector was found at the gates having been adopted from the SPA three months ago. When we contacted his owners (to give them the wonderful news that their lost dog was safe and was waiting to be collected at the SPA), they told us that Hector had had three epileptic fits over the weekend and rather than take him to the vet, they were abandoning him.

Since this time Hector been lying  immobile in his cage, apart from a visit to the vet, who assessed him as having a problem with his prostate. This will be cured by castration, and could have been the cause of his fits; not epilepsy at all. But Hector’s owners are not worthy of him, so even if they were to reconsider, we would not return him to them.

Yesterday Hector was on his feet and so we seized the opportunity to take him out. I was amazed by how quickly he cheered up. He seems fearful towards other dogs, so we will work on that, but otherwise he is the perfect dog, no pulling on the lead and happy to rediscover the joys of life after his horrible experience!

As I have said on so many occasions, some people simply don’t deserve dogs!

Hector yesterday










And before

946419_553660464676970_577346964_n (2)