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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Adoption of Raina and an amazing reunion

We had a lovely day at the refuge today. Plenty of volunteers were on hand to walk the dogs, and the weather is still wonderful, so the parks were all full.

We had a fabulous adoption, too, that of Raina. She is the mum of puppy Buddy, who was adopted a few weeks ago. I mentioned at the time that both dogs had arrived suffering from mange, meaning quite a lot of time in “solitary”. However since she has been well enough to mingle, Raina has become a great favourite.

A griffon vendeen on the slightly timid side, this girl needed a family with lots of love and patience, and preferably with another dog. And that is exactly what she has! Raina’s new family have experience with nervous dogs, and know that she is likely to spend most of her walks on the lead, but with plenty of cuddles at home, and an enclosed garden, we are sure she is going to be very happy.



Then the big news of the day. No, not an adoption, but a dog who was reclaimed. We often have dogs reclaimed, so why is this so special? Well, mostly because this dog has been missing for EIGHT YEARS!

Jeep was brought in by a local association, as the dog’s owner no longer had time to look after him. And when he was checked for a microchip, it turned out he was identified, and not in the name of the man who abandoned him, either. Nor was his real name Jeep. How this had not been discovered during the previous eight years is a mystery.

Poupi’s REAL owner came to collect him today. She explained how, when Poupi was just five months old, a hole had been cut in their fence and their puppy was taken. The family had never given up, however, and were hoping that one day their dog would return to them. Of course had he not been identified it would have been impossible, so if you have an unidentified animal, perhaps this will help motivate you to have him chipped.

There were more than a few tears (yes, okay, I did blub a bit), and we hope that Poupi settles into his new (old home) easily. It is the same house, with the same people, so all should be well.

shepherd cross

Poupi – REUNITED with his owners after 8 years

The ScPA is open tomorrow as usual! Let’s hope for more great news.

Catch up after a busy weekend

It has been a very busy few days at the refuge, and so it is high time we caught up.

There are two adoptions to tell you about; one of a young dog who we feared had been left behind, and one of an older dog who was brought in due to the illness of his owner.

First up, Caps. This young spaniel cross arrived in early August when he was five months old. As you probably know at the time we were inundated with puppies, many of whom were younger than Caps and getting a lot of attention, the way gorgeous young pups tend to. Meanwhile, of course, Caps was growing up and becoming an adolescent, and we worried that his window of opportunity for adoption was starting to close. Not that people don’t adopt adult dogs, but there is an awkward inbetween age when dogs are harder to home; they have lost their puppy cuteness, but are not exactly adults either.

In any case, all worked out fine for Caps, as a family who had already visited the refuge prior to this weekend decided to offer him a home, and so after some six weeks at the refuge, Caps’s new life has got underway.


Second to leave was Gadjo, a seven year old Lhasa Apso, who arrived with beautiful German shepherd Lasko when their owner became too ill to look after them. At first these two dogs just lay comatose in their kennel, which was not easy to see. However after a week or so they were out on walks and showing their true personalities.

At 7 years old Gadjo is not a youngster but small dogs can live to be quite an age, and so it is no surprise that Gadjo should find a home so soon. His new dad is an elderly gentleman who has adopted from us before. We are very careful in such cases and have assurances that his daughter is ready to step in to help should the need arise.

Gadjo is a great little chap and we wish him lots of love in his new home.

llahsa apso


There were also plenty of dog walks and visitors, and for a couple of dogs the future is looking very bright, so watch this space, as they say!

Lizy has found a new home!

We are trying to find a new home for Lizy, whose young owner is seriously ill.

Lizy is a griffon fauve de Bretagne, and shares many of her breeds characteristics, but not all. Read on!

Lizy was adopted from a refuge over six years ago, and is now eight years old. Before arriving at the refuge she had probably been mistreated, as she was very timid. Some of these fears remain, even now, but with love and patience she has overcome many of her issues. This is partly thanks to the two dogs with whom she has been sharing her life since her adoption, and it would be nice for her to continue to have canine companionship in her new home too. In fact the more dogs who are around the happier she seems to be.

Lizy is nervous around strangers, plus she is scared of all the usual things, bikes, cars, lorries. She mixes well with other dogs on walks. Plus she is fine with cats (as long as they are dog-friendly), children and pigeons!

Her current home has no garden, but Lizy knows all the rules, barking to go outside. She is good off the lead and has pretty good recall…for a griffon, that is. As her owner says, she is eight years old, but in her head she is more like eight months. Fauve lovers will know what she means!

Lizy is looking for a new home with a kind and patient family. She is in the Tarn and Garonne but can travel to her new home. Her owner would love to know her beloved dog is safe and happy.

Lizy is fully vaccinated, identified and sterilised. Please contact us if you can offer her a home.

Yesterday’s adoption of Selma

There were no adoptions today, so let’s catch up on what happened yesterday, because yesterday we had one!

Selma arrived as a tiny pup a the end of July, and spent several weeks in the infirmary. Not only did she have mange, but she was also recovering from a pelvic bone fracture. This puppy clearly hadn’t had the best start to life, and I bet she was happy to make it to the safety of the ScPA!

Recovering from these two issues was not the end of this young girl’s potential problems. With very rare exceptions, pups who arrive at the refuge do so without their mums, and ALWAYS without their dads. The vets are usually able to have a good guess at the breed, and in Selma’s case her morphology suggests that she could be a staffie cross. Although this cannot be determined legally until she reaches the age of 8 months, the ScPA had to find a family who was prepared for this eventuality.

No one wants to fall in love with a puppy only to find later on that they have what French law decrees is a dangerous dog. Far better to find a family who is prepared to jump through the hoops that this entails. And luckily for Selma, this is exactly what she has found. She left the ScPA yesterday, and although we are hoping that she is not later identified as being a staffie, we know that her family is prepared for this eventuality. Of course being diagnosed as a dangerous dog won’t change her character at all, but it will mean that she has to be muzzled in public, hence our hope that she is just a normal crossbreed.

Many thanks to her new family for this adoption, and of course we will let you know what happens.


The very hot weather is due to finish tomorrow; it was still in the 30s today, and I am sure everyone, humans and animals alike, will appreciate some cooler temperatures. Hopefully it will bring more visitors and more adoptions!

Two long termers leave

We had two amazing adoptions today, as two long termers left.

One of them was a real long termer; by which I mean over a year at the refuge. This is Max, who arived at the ScPA in June 2017, having somehow escaped from a balcony, where he appeared to have spent his life up to then. In some ways he is not the easiest of dogs, as he pulls on the lead and is not great with other dogs, but he has many endearing characterisitcs, too. Loyal and affectionate, Max just needed the right person to notice him.

And today his turn finally came. A woman came to visit the ScPA yesterday to look for a dog of about 10 years of age. As she has no other animals, Carole suggested Max, and there was an immediate connection. Max left today, to cuddles from all the employees and volunteers, who of course wish him a wonderful new life. He has waited a long time, but we are sure that now all his dreams have come true.

Max – ADOPTED (after 15 months at the refuge)

Next to leave was Bogdan. He is one of two Breton spaniel brothers who arrived in February this year. Indistinguishable from each other to all but a few experts, Bogdan and Danov are both extremely lively lads, but oh so affectionate. Danov was adopted several months ago, but when would Bogdan’s turn come?

The answer is TODAY! Yes, Bogdan has left with someone who looks just as energetic as he does! Great news for this young lad. Lots of long walks await.

Bogdan – ADOPTED (after 7 months at the ScPA)

We wish lots of happines to both of today’s lucky leavers and say thank you to their new families.

Monday adoptions and catch up!

For any non-Facebookers out there, a final couple of words on the dog show. With the addition of €3.02 this morning just to round things up (yes, I am a bit OCD), the grand total was a massive €1000. This excludes the money made on the refreshments to benefit Languedoc Solidarity with Refugees, which was considerable, too. So many thanks to everyone for their generosity.

Photos of the day can be seen here.
You can see the list of winners here.

Now, back to news of the ScPA.

The refuge was very busy on both Saturday and Sunday, as there was a photo competition, which is hoped will bear fruit in the form of future adoptions. And as well as lots of dog walkers and phtographers, there was also an adoption.

Yoshi arrived in early July looking thin and generally unwell. He was identified but, probably lucky for him, his owner never came to collect his dog. This meant that Yoshi was able to trade up, finding a wonderful family. By now, of course, he was looking much much better, as these “before and after” photos show. Many thanks to his new family, we hope he rewards your love a thousand fold, as most rescue dogs do.

Yoshi (before and after) – ADOPTED

Today got the week off to a good start, too, with the adoption of puppy Buddy. He arrived in early August with his mum, Raina, both dogs were in a terrible state, as they were suffering from mange. So this poor little lad had to be isolated until he was no longer infectious. Isolation from the other pups means more time with people, though, so this lad has had plenty of cuddles, even before joining the other pups for the last week or so.

Helen and Malcolm came along last week looking for a pal for their Westie, Archie, who always seems a bit glum when he doesn’t have a canine friend to play with. So what would he think of a puppy? Well, wisely they intend to use a varykennel to be able to give the dogs some downtime, but none of them could resist Buddy, now renamed Louis. He is moving to England in mid-October, where we have no doubt that he will cut quite a dash. There are not many griffon vendee in that neck of the woods!

Buddy (now Louis) – ADOPTED

Another griffon left the ScPA today, too, lovely Gaya. She arrived in mid July and seems quite calm, until you see her racing round the park with her playmates. She is not yet one year old, so we are pleased that she has found a home where she can happily spend the rest of her life. No, in case you are wondering, this is not Buddy’s mum. That is Raina, whose ears are a good few inches longer.

pale and white griffon


We had a very exciting reservation, too, so you might want to watch this space !

And the Winners are:

Handsomest male – Victoria with Hector
Prettiest Female – Liberty with Ellie
Longest Ears – Yvonne with Fynn
Tallest- Steve with Olly
Best Veteran – Jessica with Paco
Celebrity Lookalike – Harry with Scrumpy (aka Morgan Freeman)
Best Six Legs – Pauline with Willow
Longest Legs – Steve with Olly
Biggest Paws – Miles with Duffy
Waggiest Tail – Martin with Manon
Smallest – Paula with Bruno
Most unusual mix – Lucie with Punky
Smiliest – Catherine with Billy
Fluffiest – David with Eddie
Best Rescue- Yvonne with Fynn
Shiniest Coat – Tony with Chester
Best Junior Handler – Lucie with Biscuit

Judges Choice – ELLIE!

Best in Show

Judges’ Choice – ELLIE

Dog Show Day!

What a day it has been. Like the other organisers, I am quite exhausted, so this blog will not be a long one.

I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who made today such a success. I hope everyone who came along enjoyed themselves as much as we did.

Not mentioned in previous blogs but key to the day’s success were Tony and Marcus. They not only made all the rosettes (20 of them) and certificates for the winners, but they also acted as meet and greeters, orgainising the lists of which dogs were entered in each category. This was a task not to be sniffed at, as there were a LOT of dogs at the event. They are both former head teachers, though, so took it all in their stride, and still had the energy to compete with their ex ScPA dog, Chester.

The judges had a hard time choosing the winners in many of the categories. Admittedly some of them were down to physical factors, such as length of ears, or height, but in most of the catagories it was necessary to choose from a stunning selection of dogs, many of whom were rescues. So many thanks to Roger and Shirley, for taking on such a daunting task. They were impeccably fair, of course and all the participants accepted their decisions with good grace.
Jessica and Jane helped the judges with the running of the competition, and we could not have done without them.

There was also ace photographer Marketa, taking action shots and also portraits of the winners. And further from the ring we had the bric-a-brac stall run by Chrissie and her friend Moira R (who, incidentally is here just for a week, but kindly gave up a day to helping out), plus the tombola which was in the safe hands of Karen.

Cai and Gill gave us access to their beautiful garden, without which the event could not have taken place, so huge thanks to them.

I  know this is starting to sound like the Oscars, but a lot of work went into the day, so forgive me. But we must remember that a dog show with no dogs is not possible, so thanks to everyone who came along with their dogs. You were all wonderfully good spirited and there really was a fabulous atmosphere.

I am hoping to be able to publish a full list of winners, as well as the total amount raised, but it won’t be tonight, that’s for sure. However here a couple of photos to give you a taste and the rest will be put on Facebook tomorrow, when I hope to be a bit more alive.

Thanks again to everyone, and we hope that this becomes an annual event, so if you missed this year, don’t despair!


Tony and Marcus and their ex ScPA dog Chester- winner, shiniest coat

The junior handlers put their dogs thorough their paces


Judge Roger cuddles Ellie – Best in Show!

Who will be Top Dog

This time tomorrow, the Fun Dog Show will be over, and no doubt everyone will be happily admiring their rosettes or just reflecting on the day they have had, probably in the case of the organisers, over a stiff gin (or several).

The weather promises to be good…a bit too good, perhaps. But don’t worry, there are plenty of shady areas at La Petite Pépinière, and there will be plenty of water available. There will be bric-a-brac and books, a tombola with some great prizes, refreshments (thanks to Languedoc Solidarity with Refugees) and an information stand for the donkey sanctuary. Camemberta (who is feeling much happier since Cai sewed up her tail yesterday) has been busy testing the obstacles of the mini agility course. She is a novice at this, and agrees that it is the perfect opportunity for dogs to see if they like this kind of activity.

Camemberta tries the tunnel

Photographer Marketa is just back from an exhibition in Barcelona, where one of her pictures has won an award, and will be ready to take shots of your hounds in the secret garden area. Camemberta just had to check that out too, of course.

Camemberta posing for her photo shoot

Quite a few people have indicated that they will be attending with (or without) dogs. If you haven’t done so, don’t worry, you are still welcome. In terms of organisation, there will be a reception desk where we will add the names of dogs who wish to compete in the various categories. The entry log will close at 15H00, giving you an hour to arrive and look round at the stalls, eat cake and maybe do some agility before things get underway properly. Bear with us if there is a queue, we will try to be as efficient as possible. Even people who have let us know by email are asked to add their names too, please, just in case there are no-shows. And of course it is a fund raiser, so this is the point when you pay up!

Naturally you are more than welcome to come along if you don’t have a dog. There is plenty to do for everyone.

As we have mentioned, the plant nursery and gardens next door, Le Jardin Champêtre, will be open again tomorrow  as part of European Heritage Weekend. In fact there is a blue road sign directing vehicles towards this garden, so if you follow that, you won’t go far wrong. They were open today and it looks as if they have had a wonderful time, as you can see from these photographs.

Today at Le Jardin Champêtre

Art in the Garden

We hope to see lots of old friends and make lots of new ones tomorrow too. And promise to catch up on news from the ScPA when all the excitement of this weekend is over.

Adoptions of Macaron and Chipie

Today we said goodbye to puppy Macaron. He arrived as one of a litter way back in July, and he is the last of the siblings to leave. We have a feeling it will be worth the wait, though.

Victoria follows DRC from her home in the UK, and when she spotted him online last month, she asked about adopting him. We explained about TRACES, and how it would mean keeping him for 3 months at the refuge, which is unfair on a young pup. Unless she was willing to come and collect him, that is. Next thing we know, she has hopped onto a flight to come and meet him! It is true, you don’t often see pups like this in  the UK, and especially not in rescue, but all the same, that is showing quite some dedication. Two weeks later and Victoria is here again (in a car this time) to finalise the adoption.

It really was love at first sight, and we can’t help but admire Victoria in her determination to adopt the puppy of her dreams. Yesterday when she set off in a borrowed car was the first time she had driven on the right side of the road. Clearly nothing was going to get in her way!

Macaron is not able to leave France yet as the rabies vaccination is not yet valid, so he will spend a week or so in a B+B  getting to know his new mum. She has promised to come and visit before they head off together back to the UK.  Okay, not everyone is able or willing to go to such lengths to adopt, but it is nice to hear such stories from time to time! And what a lucky pup he is.

Macaron – ADOPTED

We had another adoption as well, that of a dog who arrived very recently and had really good luck in being adopted so soon. Chipie was brought into the Pound just ten days ago, and the people who found her said that they would love to offer her a home if her real owner did not reclaim her. Today her pound time was finished, and true to their word, back they came to adopt this lovely shepherd cross. That is a fairytale ending for her, too.

shepherd cross

Chipie – ADOPTED

Elsewhere Team Dog Show have been hard at work getting ready for Sunday, and the newly named Camemberta has been checking out the agility course. Macaron might be joining us too, so if you want to see in real life this little lad who stole Victoria’s heart, this could be your chance.


Camemberta checking out the agility course