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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Adoption of Frimousse

During a day of mostly bad news (five new arrivals), we are delighted to tell you that little Frimousse was adopted, just three days after her arrival following the death of her owner. It is always sad when dogs arrive, but even more so when they do so in such circumstances.

Frimousse was one of the dogs from Ste Eulalie, who arrived almost two years ago from a dog-hoarding situation. Being so young at the time, Frimousse was one of the first to be adopted. So naturally she was traumatised to find herself back at the SPA, especially just before some of the worst weather we have seen in years. Luckily for her a lovely couple was looking for a small dog, one that wouldn’t pull them off their feet on a walk, and who wanted a calm and peaceful life. They recognise that it will take Frimousse some time to get used to her new home, but they are kind and patient, and Frimousse is a very lucky girl indeed, especially when you bear in mind that some of her former companions are still at the SPA, waiting for their first real home.

small terrier cross breed

Frimousse – ADOPTED

There was a reservation today, so some more good news is on the horizon.

A day of Tornadoes!

There was a brief discussion this morning about whether or not it was even worth opening the SPA today. We had storms overnight and heavy rain forecast; the likelihood of having any visitors was small. However everyone felt that even if noone came, the animals would appreciate a bit of company and reassurance. Thunder and lightening is very scary for some dogs.

So for the most part it was a working afternoon. Volunteers busied themselves doing gardening and clean-up tasks, and others put up a much needed set of shelves in the storage area. That coupled with the clean up of the reception area yesterday and the refuge is looking pretty tidy!

Despite a few heavy showers during the afternoon, some dogs went out of walks, and we even have an adoption! Little Tornade was adopted as a puppy  from the SPA in early 2016, and was brought back on Thursday for one of the usual reasons; a move to an appartment being the main one. There was a series of other excuses, in case someone pointed out that having a 5.5 kg dog in a appartment is hardly the end of the world.

Tornade’s CV meant she was not going to have long to wait. Good with dogs, calm, housetrained, sociable etc etc. And sure enough she was adopted today by Muriel, who has been looking for a small female for some time. Tornade is now renamed Biscuit, and a happy life awaits, we are sure!

small terrier

Tornade – ADOPTED

More bad weather is forecast overnight and for the rest of the week, so it would be nice to see yet more dogs out of the refuge and into loving homes.


Three adoptions including two puppies

The SPA was a lot quieter today than it was yesterday, but that is hardly surprising, as it is not every day that we have over 80 visitors! Was it my imagination, or did the dogs seem a bit calmer today?

Some lucky dogs got more walks today, and three dogs left for new homes! All of them had been reserved earlier in the week, so were not a surprise, but nonetheless it is great news, especially as two of the three were puppies. We hate to see puppies growing up at the SPA, and these two, Rox and Roucky left at the earliest possible date, straight after the end of their pound time.

two pups side by side

Rocky and Rox – ADOPTED (not together)

Rox and Roucky are lovely lads, and they have been adopted by two lovely families. Both families were as impatient to collect their new pups as the pups were to leave, and the fun starts here for all of them.

Another dog who left the SPA on the earliest date possible was Lola. She was found in a local village (unidentified, needless to say), and was spotted on line by a gentleman who has been to walk her (with his own dog) almost every day since. So Lola is leaving with someone whom she already knows, and she looked very pleased with herself as she emabarked on her new life.

shepherd cross


The SPA is open tomorow afternoon and although the weather forecast is looking horrendous, we are hoping for some good news!

FIFTY dog Friday

Yes, you read right. Although it was not fifty adoptions that we had today, but fifty dogs all out on a walk at the same time!

Today was the first (of many, we hope) mass SPA dog walk. Led by Coraline and her beau, there was a stream of dogs all walking round in the winter sunshine. The route chosen passed through the town of Berriac and took about 2 hours to complete. Organiser Sebastien, with chief dog- wrangler Vincent and assisted by staff and other employees,  set dogs off in groups, ensuring that walkers were matched as well as possible with dogs of the right temperament and strength. And the whole thing went off without a hitch.

Of course there are more than 50 dogs at the SPA, but not all of them would have enjoyed such a busy afternoon. The timid ones or others who are not always good in crowds were walked separately by other volunteers. It was quite an erie sight to see so many empty kennels at once….Something we only dream of.

There were no adoptions, but many walkers were enchanted by “their” dog, and have plans to return. Others hope to return for regular dog walking. So the day was a huge success. Many thanks to everyone who came along; and some of you came from quite some distance. Thanks too for all your donations, leads and collars are always at a premium and were most welcome.

If the dogs could speak I am sure they would all say thanks for a wonderful day to Sebastien, Vincent and the staff and volunteers. I am sure everyone agrees that we must do this again sometime SOON!

This weekend the SPA is open on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons and we hope that there will be some adoptions to end the week on an even higher note!


couple with czech wolves

Czech wolf dogs Artos and Indian enjoying a walk with Coraline

A Stella(r) Adoption

Another day, another fabulous adoption! This time it was the turn of Stella. She arrived at the end of November, since which time she has stolen the heart of many staff and volunteers. Unlike many of our long-eared dogs, Stella is not at all nervous. She is affectionate and playful and always looking for cuddles. Recently however we have been very concerned about her, as she had started losing weight. Tests showed no illness at all, and Stella continues to eat well. It appears that she was just pining. For what, we are not sure, as of course we have no idea of her background; she was found as a stray.

Today she found her new home, and everyone is delighted for her. Her new family were unphased by her slight physique, promising to fatten her up. Her sponsor, Ingrid, is over the moon, although of course sad not to have been at the SPA today to say goodbye. I feel a sneaky post-adoption visit might be on the cards….any excuse for more cuddles!

brown and pale long-eared dog

Stella – ADOPTED

Tomorrow we have an event at the SPA. Coraline, already a SPA volunteer walker, recently won a beauty contest, and wants to use her fame to help us publicise the refuge! Usually when beauty queens say they love animals, everyone rolls their eyes at the cliché, but in Coraline’s case it is true! She already knows many of our dogs well and will be leading a 2 hour walk tomorrow starting at 14H00 (ish). There will be a small drinks reception afterwards with some colleagues from the press. Let’s hope the weather is good and that Coraline brings some welcome publicity to the SPA.

beauty queen

Volunteer Coraline is coming to walk some dogs tomorrow

Let’s hope it results in yet more wonderful adoptions, like that of Stella today!

Adoption of Kanye

Kanye was brought to the SPA before Christmas by his owner following a move to an appartment. Yes, it is easy to criticise, but it seems that before this change in circumstances Kanye was much loved. He arrived fully vaccinated, identified and castrated, and it is rare that we can say such a thing.  Already nine years old, this dog had been turned down by many other refuges who apparently did not want to take on a big old dog whose adoption prospects were not high.

And as soon as we met him, we realised what a wonderful dog he is. Although he doesn’t like sharing his kennel, the only flash point is food. Walking Kanye is child’s play. He is a real gentleman, trotting alongside his “temporary human” with his tail up and manners firmly intact.

One of our supporters has been looking for an elderly dog for some time. In fact she had agreed to take Roxanne (Nina in real life), who was reclaimed on New Year’s Day. Other oldies at the SPA are a bit strong on the lead…but not so Kanye! To our  delight, he left today. Excellent news!

We are always happy when elderly dogs leave the SPA. In fact, let’s face it, we are happy when dogs (and cats) of any age leave. Let’s hope for more good news as the week progresses.

big beauceron cross


Two Adoptions to Start 2018

Today was the first day of the new year as far as the SPA was concerned. The gates opened at 14H00 and despite the rain, the place was busy all afternoon. And we had two adoptions to start things off on the right foot!

First to leave was Ken. A family came along looking for a companion following the recent death of their dog. They were looking for a young dog, but not a pup, and one who would get on with their neighbours’ dogs with whom they spend lots of time. Ken caught their eye immediately. This young shepherd cross was found in a nearby village, and although his owner phoned to see if he was at the SPA, once he heard about the obligation to identify his dog, we heard no more.

Things have worked out just fine, for Ken, though, as five weeks after his arrival he has a new home.

shepherd cross


Today’s second adoption was of Blair. He and his brother Orwell arrived a week after Ken, at the age of about 8 months. These not-quite pups often have trouble finding new homes; they have lost most of their puppy cuteness, but often do not have the calmness of an older dog. And in fact Wendy and her family came specifically for a puppy, having specifically waited until Christmas was over.

No pups were available, however, but I doubt very much that this is a cause of regret. The family’s bond with Blair was instant! They took him out for a walk and marvelled at his interactions with cat Cahouette (they have several dog-savvy cats). Blair is a very lucky lad; he has found a great family, and we will post news and photo of him, naturally.

black lab cross

Blair (now Blais) – ADOPTED

We should also say thanks to Estelle who came in on yesterday’s bank holiday to enable 14 year old Roxanne to leave with her owner. This elderly dog was identified by tattoo, but time and ear infections had erased this entirely, unbeknownst to her owner. Still, all’s well that ends well, and they are now happily reunited.

old staff cross

14 year old Roxanne – RECLAIMED

So despite the weather it was a good day, and we look forward to a year with plenty of adoptions. Some sunshine would be welcome too, but dogs and cats finding good homes is all that matters!

Three more adoptions to end the year.

The refuge was busy again today, and we had three adoptions!

First to leave was Alya. This fabulous collie arrived at the SPA gates in great condition, not at all thin, or scared, and apparently well used to being manipulated. We were informed privately that she had been tied up alone in a field, but as she was not identified we were unable to trace her owners. And they were clearly not looking for their dog, as nearly two months after her arrival she was still at the refuge.

Ayla has been very popular with staff and walkers alike. Although she preferred to live alone, she would walk alongside any other dogs, and as she doesn’t pull at all on the lead, she has had more walks than most. Her new family are going to spoil her rotten, and she deserves every bit of love that is coming her way.



Next we said goodbye to little Truffaut. This little jagd terrier arrived earlier this month, also identified. He is a shy little boy who is gradually increasing in confidence. Today a family came along with their elderly dog to see how the two would get on. Although Truffaut was still looking nervous when he left, we have since had a phone call to say that he was already much happier and was playing with his new pal. Fabulous news for this dog who, like Alya, is officially having his eighth birthday on New Year’s Day!

jagd terier cross

Truffaut – ADOPTED

The last adoption of the year was that of border collie cross Mila. She arrived for rehoming by her owner, who felt unable to keep this big and active dog in an appartment. Mila is far bigger than a normal border collie, and is also a bit shy at first. She too quickly gains in confidence, though. She was briefly in foster, which helped us learn more about her, and this definitely helped us advise her new owner as to some of her character traits. None of them were a surprise to this woman who is already well-versed in the ways of the border collie. We wish Mila all the best in her new life.

border collie


Three other dogs, all of whom arrived yesterday or today, were reclaimed, and we had several reservations. And although the day wasn’t perfect and we had some bad news too (the return of a dog who we thought was happily homed), all in all it was a very positive end to the year.

Once again, thanks to everyone who has supported us this year, either financially, or by sharing the albums and helping to find home for the animals at the SPA, or by coming along to walk them and spend time at the SPA.

A new year is just around the corner. Onwards and upwards!

Five dog Friday!

Well, we promised two adoptions but in fact it was a five dog Friday. Been quite a while since we had one of them, hasn’t it!

First to leave was Cody. This fabulous labrador griffon cross arrived exactly ten days ago, found at the SPA gates one morning. We think his owner phoned up, as the description of the dog matched. But that was the last we heard from him; perhaps the prospect of paying for a microchip was enough to dissuade him from coming to collect his dog. Cody is a great dog, really affectionate and sociable. We were hopeful that he would not have long to wait, and sure enough, he has gone straight from the pound to his new home! Lucky Cody.

pale lab cross


Next we said goodbye to Tim. He was returned to the SPA a couple of weeks ago following an unsuccesful adoption. He was very nervous and has been spending a lot of time in the office with the staff and volunteers, where he has met lots of visitors. He is still a bit jumpy, but is far better than when he arrived.

Of course all that time in the office has meant that lots of people have seen him, and earlier this week he caught the eye of some visitors looking for a small dog. They went away to have a think, then phoned up to confirm that they would be back for lucky Tim.

small dog wearing coat


We also said goodbye to Eden, a very pretty border collie puppy who has been at the SPA for a couple of weeks, but who did not make her “Facebook debut” until yesterday. This is because she arrived with the dreaded parvovirus, and has been living in isolation. Happily she is now fully recovered, and today she found her home!

border collie pup

Puppy Eden – ADOPTED

Another dog who arrived not in the best of health was Captain Trip. Yes, our gorgeous three-legged spaniel, star of the Xmas open weekend at Jardiland, has found a home. We are delighted for him, he never let his injury get in the way of being a spaniel! He hardly seems to realise that he is missing a limb, and his motto seems to be that life is for living to the full! Lovely for him that he left so soon after his beloved pal, Galopin, who was homed yesterday.

3- legged spaniel

Captain Trip – ADOPTED

Finally we said goodbye to Bella. She arrived along with her two brothers, Grif and Panda, in mid October. All three were brought in by their owner having been kept in a garage with hardly any human contact for two years. This is sad in itself, but sadder still is the fact that a neighbour tried over and over again to persuade him to bring the puppies to the SPA for rehoming He refused, instead waiting until the dogs were two years old before giving them an opportunity to find some happiness. Grif and Panda are progressing too, but how much quicker Bella’s progress will be outside the refuge!

black and white dog


So it was a fabulous day. Will these be the last adoptions of the year, or will there be any more leavers in 2017? If we don’t blog tomorrow, you will know the answer. And just in case, have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and let’s make next year a positive one for the dogs and cats at the SPA and for animals the world over.

Adoption of Galopin and Gabber

We had two adoptions today, so despite the cold temperatures and rain, we are feeling quite upbeat.

First to leave was Galopin. This lovely fauve de Bretagne arrived with a leg injury, and so until recently he was living inside in the infirmary. That didn’t stop him enjoying his walks, though, and many people have taken him out. He even had an excursion to Jardiland during the Christmas open weekend, where he proved to be very popular as well as calm and affectionate.

A family came to meet him today and to introduce him to their other dog. Of course, Galopin was happy to meet a new pal, and even happier when he realised that he had a new home! So tonight he is back in the warm. Many thanks to his new family.

griffon fauve de Bretagne

Galopin – ADOPTED

Next to leave was Gabber. This young black labrador cross arrived just a couple of days after Gallopin, in mid November. She needs a bit of education, and a lot more exercise than we have been able to give her at the refuge, but her new family were looking for a young dog with whom to share long walks. Lucky Gabber caught their eye, and a couple of days after the adoption of her kennel mate, Hope, Gabber, renamed Calice, has a new home too.

Gabber (now renamed Calice) – ADOPTED

Two dogs are reserved and should be leaving the SPA tomorrow, which still leaves Saturday when we will hopefully have the last adoption of the year! Who will it be?