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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Two adoptions and a fab new look for the website!

Two excellent bits of news today regarding dogs. This morning Casper went to his new home, having been delivered to a half-way point by one of our volunteers. A wonderful life awaits, as Casper is due to spend his life travelling between France and the Coltswolds. Bet they will not have seen too many Griffon Nivernais over there!
The second adoption of the day was that of Bross, who has a malformation of his front legs, which may well result in early onset arthritis. It is encouraging to see that not everybody is put off by doggy-disabilities. As you can tell from his photograph, Bross is just overflowing with love and this is what attracted his new owners.
Many dogs were walked this afternoon, despite the occasional downpour, and yet again the volunteers were out in force.
I came back home to the exciting news of a completely re-vamped website. I claim no credit for this whatsoever, it was the web-elves, so a million thanks to them. If there are any minor glitches they will be sorted out in time. Anything major, please let me know.
I am sure you all agree that it is a major improvement; as far as I am concerned, anything that helps reach more potential adopters has got to be good!
Thank you my lovely web elves!

Casper in  his new home!
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Bross leaves the refuge
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Pluto leaves our orbit

Pluto leaves the SPARemember this not so little guy? Okay, it took him a couple more days to find a home than it did for Minnie, but that was only to be expected, as he is going to be about five times her size when he is fully grown. In any case, Pluto went off to a new home today, and we wish him a wonderful, happy life.
Sadly his place as the refuge’s youngest black labrador was immediately taken by another little boy, photos of which I will post once his foster family have sent some. Yes, he was lucky enough to find a family to look after him until he finds his forever home. If you are sorry to have missed out on Pluto, don’t be downhearted!

Goodbye and be happy, Pluto

Attention all lovers of stumpy dogs!

Shuto  - a stumpy legged SharpeiRecalling the euphoria of last Thursday with its volley of departures, it is hard not to be disappointed today. No dogs were adopted, despite the reasonably good weather. That’s not to say that the refuge wasn’t busy; our devoted team of volunteers was there, and several dogs were walked and new friends made (between both humans and dogs!)
One of our employees spent the afternoon as a volunteer this afternoon (by which I mean she is not paid to be there on a Thursday afternoon but came along anyway, and she is not alone in her devotion to the animals in this regard). Her aim was to coax little Shuto out of his box. He has been at the refuge for 10 days now, and the only photos we had thus far were of him cowering in his kennel.
Over an hour of patient cajoling, and he finally emerged. Until now I had thought he was a sharpei. Hmmm.
After the recent food scandal you will all know about horse-burgers. Well how about a sharpei-sausage? This guy has way more dachshund in him than should be allowed. Perhaps that is why he has such a puzzled look on his face!
Shuto is a lovely gentle dog, very shy and in need of kindness and patience. With gentle words and love, which he is guaranteed to receive at the SPA, we are confident that this little boy will be able to go to a new home soon. Hopefully someone will see the lovely dog inside this rather strange body!

Minnie traveller!

Minnie held in a ladies armsSome dogs arrive and we just know they will leave in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. One such dog was Minnie, who has been living in the cat house since she arrived ten days ago. A female shih-tzu cross of 4 months was not going to hang around for long. Sure enough Minnie was reserved before the obligatory ten days “in the pound” was up, and then it was just a game of nerves; would her owners show up before her new owners were legally allowed to adopt her? I am always in two minds during this period. Would you wait ten days to see if your lost dog was in the local refuge, especially one that is very proactive in publishing photographs of dogs as they arrive? In fact would you have a 4 month old shih-tzu without having her identified (especially as micro-chipping is a legal requirement)?
So I for one am happy that Minnie has found a home with people who are going to love and cherish her. They came to visit her several times before the adoption could be completed, although I know they were trying not to get too attached to her, just in case. As for her previous owners, I hope they never get another dog.

Vera’s long wait is finally over.

Vera arrived at the refuge in November 2011, having been found straying in a nearby village. She was  micro-chipped, so with a bit of work (because the address had changed) we were able to track down Vera’s former owners. They had moved to Narbonne and given their faithful 7 and a half year old chocolate labrador away to a family of gypsies who happened to be nearby at the time. They were appalled that Vera was now at the SPA, but not appalled enough to come and get her. Deep sigh.
Vera has spent nearly 18 months waiting patiently. She has an eye problem, which means a daily treatment, which she bore with fortitude. But despite numerous appeals, it looked like this lovely dog was destined to spend the rest of her days at the SPA. Then a breakthrough came, as Vera attracted a sponsor, who walked her on a regular basis. Today this sponsor took Vera home.
We are all delighted. Vera is now 9 years old and her chances of being adopted were diminishing by the day. But it goes to show that it is never too late, and no dog should give up hope.
Here is Vera leaving with her new mummy!

Be happy, Vera!
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A closed refuge but a busy one!

The sun shone yet again, despite the forecasters’ gloomy predictions, and the volunteers made the most of the refuge’s being closed to do things we don’t normally get the time to do, due to phones ringing, and dogs arriving!
A large number of dogs were walked or put in the parks, and there was a lot of grooming carried out. Lovely Casper, who is due to leave for his new home at the weekend, had a bath, which he loved. Dick and Docker, who are gong to a home together next month, were taken for a really long walk by their future adopters. Child labour was used to sort out all the tangled leads and collars and to prepare the newest lot of display boards for the recent arrivals.
A fabulous day, and a constructive one. Great way to spend a sunny bank holiday. Why not think about joining us next time!

Leads and collars are untangled
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Hony and Kaiser are groomed (and cuddled)ImageCasper gets a bathImageChild labour is used to prepare kennel signsImage

Daddy’s Home

Apart from cleaning and feeding chores, the refuge has been shut today, so I have no news that is “hot off the press”, so to speak. However the day has not been without news, thanks to the wonders of the internet (mostly Facebook)
Of course you all remember Snoopy, who has just been adopted after having been abandoned due to the illness of his former owner. Well, what I failed to mention was that when his new mum came to meet him, her husband was in the UK with work. So although “mum” had permission to take Snoopy home, he had not met his new dad until yesterday.
Here is a photo of them together. How could anyone fail to smile when they see a picture like this?!
Have a happy Bank Holiday Monday, all. The SPA is shut tomorrow, but who knows, maybe a few of us will be up there washing and otherwise entertaining the dogs 😉

A very happy Snoopy!

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Super Saturday!

What a wonderful day! The sun was shining, the volunteers were out in force, and so were the adopters! Three lucky dogs left us, and there were six (yes, SIX) reservations. Only one dog came in, and he is a puppy so small that he takes up no room at all (besides which he went straight home with one of our employees who is also a volunteer).
So the departures of the day:
Firstly there was Logan, whose departure I missed, which is a shame as I would have liked to have given him a farewell pat. He has gone to a lovely family with a young child and he will prove to be a fabulous pet, I am certain.
His kennel mate, Rocky, left too, also with a family. This was his second adoption, the first one having lasted less than two weeks and ending when the family remembered that they were moving house and couldn’t take a dog with them. This time is going to be a home for life, we hope!
Finally we said goodbye to Chunky. Or rather we didn’t, as we are destined to see more of him. He has gone to live with Dominique, one of our volunteers. It started off as a Godmother (sponsoring) arrangement, with Dominique taking a particular interest in Chunky and sharing his photo on Facebook. Then the questions started: “How is he with cats?” Then “Do you think he will get on with my two other dogs?” And a week later, Chunky left to live with his Godmummy!
So we have not seen the last of Chunky; in fact Dominique has already posted some video of his arrival at her house in Narbonne!
As for the reservations, you will have to be patient! But let’s just say that tonight I am a very happy bunny!

Goodbye Logan
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Goodbye Rocky
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And au-revoir Chunky and Dominique!

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A meeting of hearts and minds!

One of the things I like most in the world is receiving news of dogs who have been adopted from the SPA. Some people keep us informed of their dog’s progress on a regular basis, others wait until they have some major news, or perhaps they have a particularly beautiful photograph to show us. This is why we have an album on Facebook called “Life after the Refuge”, which you can see here:
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Today I received a photo from a staunch supporter of the SPA who has fostered from us and also adopted one so the pain of her foster dog leaving would not be as acute. Othello has recently joined a dog training school, which is both English and French speaking and is based in Azille (more information upon request). When he was there today Othello saw a very handsome dog, and here they are together  Pedro (now Bertie) is also an ex-SPA dog, and although they had never met at the refuge, they knew they were the best looking dogs there, and there is only one place to get dogs this beautiful! The SPA Carcassonne!

Othello meets Bertie

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Bumper day for Departures

Well, the afternoon started off well and for once things got better as time passed. We started off with the adoption of Belsan. Some of you may know of him, as he was featured in a recent edition of the Sunday Mail colour supplement. His owners had gone back to live in the UK, leaving their poor dog alone in their house. Belsan was not lucky at the refuge, and has spent most of his three years with us. However he has finally found an adopter who is not put off by this boy’s size! 
On the other end of the scale, size-wise, we said goodbye to Ilana, the tiny puppy who was dumped at the refuge and taken into foster care, as written about in an earlier post. Melanie will miss her, but that is how fostering works…..
Then Jiro, our ten year old Australian shepherd, was reclaimed by his owner. Her mother had just died and she had lost herself in grief for a week or so, which is understandable.
Next it was the turn of Sveltesse to leave officially. She had been with a foster family for a week, but today papers were signed and “Tess” as she is now called, left the refuge for the final time. I don’t blame her for not wanting to get out of the car! This girl knows that she has landed on her paws with the lovely Mary.
And finally we said goodbye to Basil, who has been renamed “Idefix” by his new family.
Today was officially a GOOD DAY!

Belsan says goodbye to Melanie
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Then leaves with his new owner, after a final look towards his kennel.
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Bye Bye Ilana
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Jiro is reclaimed
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Sveltesse (Tess) leaves for good 
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And Idefix (Basil) leaves with his new family.
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