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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Spring Scalibor Appeal

Today I spent quite a bit of time writing text for the website. Some of you may have noticed that although the latest news has changed on a daily basis (being as it is this blog), the urgent appeal has changed and adopted dogs been removed, no new dogs have been added for about three weeks. This is because although I write the text about the dogs, the clever bit is done by a couple of web-elves, who have been busy dealing with urgent family matters of late. All is back to normal now, and over the next few days you will see the addition of about 15 newbies. So if you have been waiting for the perfect dog, perhaps he or she will be amongst them.

I really believe that there is the right dog for everyone, and like a marriage it is best not to adopt in haste and repent at leisure. Or rather adopt in haste and abandon in haste, which is more common that people actually sticking with it and getting through the difficult bits!

As the weather starts to warm up, the volunteers are starting to notice more and more ticks on the dogs when we return from walks, and the employees notice them when the dogs return from the parks. The best tick prevention from a refuge point of view is the Scalibor Collar, as these also prevent sand fly bites, which cause the dreaded leischmania. An appeal has gone out on our Facebook page for well-wishers to donate a Scalibor to a dog of their choice. We have about 100 dogs at the SPA, and at about 15 euros each, buying Scalibors is a bit of a luxury for the SPA, but if everyone chips in a bit, we can protect all our dogs!

The only news from the SPA today was the re-arrival of the young black labrador, Falco. I think the time may have come to find him a new owner. Very sad. Having a dog takes commitment from the whole family. I am very sorry for him and for his young owner. Sometimes you have to give in and think of the welfare of the dog.

Although we have no pictures, we have had news of recently adopted Ycare, who has been renamed Jim (not Moss as per the original plan). He is doing really well and has been busy charming everyone he meets. Can’t wait to see photos, which I will share with you all, of course!

Scalibor collars help save lives










Falco- back again 


Yippee! Four adoptions!

Despite the day’s strong winds there were plenty of volunteers at the SPA to walk dogs and cuddle cats. Thanks as ever to you all. Without you the refuge would be a much sadder place.

On the subject of sad, it looks like yesterday’s arrival, Zion, will not be reclaimed. His owner has gone to live in England (apparently immigration goes in both directions!) and left the dog with a neighbour, who may or may not want him

We had another arrival, a lovely female who was found in Carcassonne on Thursday by some volunteers.  She spent two nights at their house (where she was impeccably behaved), before visiting the vet to see if she was chipped. Answer: no. However this girl, who has been named “Mimi Cracra”, is housetrained and fine with other dogs, so she definitely has (or had) an owner. If they don’t come to reclaim her, someone else will snap her up, I am sure.

We have a new MALE volunteer to walk the big, pully dogs, which is fabulous. But our Hero of the Day award goes to Eric, who jumped over the refuge wall in a single bound to help capture a dog who had broken his collar whilst out walking, and was fighting with another refuge dog who was also out on a walk. Eric heard the cries for help and did his Superman impression. Oh, the excitement of life at the SPA!

Not only did we have heroics, there were also FOUR adoptions. Been a while since I have said that!

On Wednesday I mentioned that one of our long-term residents had been reserved, by which I meant a dog who had been with us for over a year. Well, today I can reveal that the lucky dog was dog-hating but cat-loving Gaspard. And sure enough he was adopted by an English family! My fellow countrymen are not the only ones that like chasse-type dogs, but it seems that we are responsible for the adoption of more than our fair share of them!

The other adoptions were those of the puppy Pigeon, who arrived having been “found” by a family whom we are pretty sure were his real owners. In any case, if they didn’t want him, it is far better that he go home with someone who DOES. His kennel-mate, another puppy, Palmito left, too; he didn’t even have a Facebook album, so sadly no photos of him to show you.

And the final adoption of the day was that of Hot. This boy arrived in November. He was already identified but it was the same old story, phone number no longer in service. This handsome lad is not great with other males, so has not been sharing his kennel. The upside of this is that he has had a lot of walks, and it was thanks to this that we found out just how loving and affectionate he is. At just 2 years old, Hot has plenty of time to forget the five or so months he spent at the SPA. He now has a new family and will be sharing his home with cats. It is surprising the number of dogs who prefer cats to their fellow canines.

All in all a pretty good day!

New arrival Mimi-Cracra








Gaspard  –  ADOPTED (after 13 months)








Pigeon  – ADOPTED




















Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s ERIC

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Testing our dogs and Riddick is reclaimed.

Quite often we post pictures of new arrivals on our Facebook page and we are inundated with questions; what is he/she like with other dogs, with cats, with children? So I thought I would explain a little bit about what happens when a dog arrives.

SPA dogs are usually brought in as strays, having been found by either the Police/ Gendarmerie or an individual. In the former case, we know nothing at all about the dog, in the latter case, sometimes the dog has spent some time with the people, maybe a couple of hours, or maybe even a night or two. So it is possible that we may be told “he was fine with my dog/ bitch/ cat/ child”. But usually we know nothing.

We try to see how dogs react with others when they arrive. This can give an indication as to whether or not the new dog can share his kennel, although it is not always 100% certain, as some dogs arrive stressed and their true personalities come out once they have settled in. All new arrivals are monitored carefully, whether they are alone in a kennel or not. Dogs that arrive particularly thin are generally left alone so they do not have to worry about getting fed (although again, the staff are very good at surveilling the dogs at mealtimes).

So we might be able to tell you straight away that a dog is okay with other males or females or both. Testing them with cats is far harder, as we like new arrivals to spend the least time possible outside their kennel. This minimises the risk of them catching any doggy diseases. There are no illnesses that pass between dogs and cats (or at least none that we have at the refuge), but we often have small dogs or puppies living in the cat house, so taking a dog in to see how he reacts with cats has to be carefully controlled.

As for children, we have a couple of employees and volunteers with children and we naughtily use them as guinea pigs! Seriously they are all dog savvy, and we watch carefully for any sign of aggression.

So this is why we are not always able to answer your questions straight away and ask for patience. One three weeks are up and the dog has his two vaccines, things are a lot simpler!

We always have a list of things to do; dogs to check in the cat house, dogs to test with children etc, and it all gets done, I promise!

In refuge news today we had one arrival, a boxer who is chipped, so with any luck should find his owners. Another dog who arrived not identified but who stole my heart straight away was reclaimed. And now he too is microchipped, of course. I am talking about Riddick, a beagle cross who arrived 11 days ago. Eleven days….Hmmm. Dangerous indeed. Ten days is the official time any dog must be in the Pound, after this time he can be adopted. Riddick’s owner was lucky to get him back. Such a lovely gentle boy could easily have been chosen.

So not a bad day, with another reservation as well!

Zion – New arrival but identified. Fingers crossed!









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