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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Tina finds a home. And a friend.

Today we said goodbye to lovely Tina. This tiny little dog arrived at the end of August, and our first thought was that someone would be along to collect her. Not only is she small and affectionate, she arrived with a brand new collar. Someone must have loved this dog until very recently. She hated being alone in her kennel (unavoidable for the first ten days while dogs are in the Pound, for hygiene reasons) and would fling herself at anyone who came to visit, desperate for a cuddle.

Sadly for her, she was not identified, so the ScPA had no way of contacting her owner. When will people learn that this is one of the best ways to find a lost dog, as well as being the law.

Once out of the Pound, Tina went to share her kennel with poodle Pompom, and has been on walks with many different people. Always in the hope that maybe this time  she would not be going back to her kennel. Putting her back has not been easy, and the look in her eyes each time has caused more than a few sleepless nights.

Puppy Isaac (now Charlie) was adopted in mid June, and for a month or so his mum, Jane, has been looking for a new companion for him. Today she asked to meet Tina, and like everyone else who has met her, she was smitten. The two dogs seemed to like each other too, which of course is key.

Tina with Charlie

We know that Tina will have a lovely time, and she definitely knew that her luck had changed as soon as she snuggled up in the back of Jane’s car. We look forward to news and pictures of this lovely little girl who will be so delighted to have a new home where she has two new laps to sit on, and a friend to play with.

Adoption of Pocahontas

So is Sunday the start of a new week or the end of the old one? Depending on your point of view, today’s adoption of Pocahontas was either the first or the second of the week, but in either case, it was very welcome.

This lovely shepherd cross risked becoming one of our hidden gems. Arriving towards the end of June, pretty Pocahontas went straight from the pound to share her box with another dog, and just became part of refuge life. It was only on walks that her wonderful calm character was visible; she was a real pleasure to be with.

Luckily for her she was spotted on line, and a family came to meet her, returning the next day to make sure she got on with their other dog. Everything went fine, and today Pocahontas left for her new home.

brown and white shepherd cross

Pocahontas – ADOPTED

Don’t let this lack of adoptions make you think that the refuge is quiet. Quite the contrary. There are plenty of visitors coming along to meet the dogs, some with a view to an adoption. Others are coming to walk dogs, and others to make donations. Sadly there are always new canine arrivals, too, but such is refuge life.

For tonight we wish happy new life to Pocahontas, and thank her new family. And hope for more adoptions before the week ends, be it on Saturday or Sunday!

Sunday adoption of Tatiana

Today the refuge was open, as it is every Sunday. And we had an adoption!

Tatiana was originally called Maddie and was adopted a couple of years ago. Then at the beginnning of the year she was found straying and was taken to the SPA Toulouse, who contacted the SPA Carcassonne. All attempts to reach her family had failed, and so, thanks to Carole who went on a rescue mission to Toulouse, Maddie, now renamed Tatiana, was back.

Tatiana is the sort of dog who appeals to people who like staffies, but who don’t want all the hastle that unfortunately comes with such dogs, including the obligation to have a dog muzzled all the times. A fabulous brindle coloured crossbreed, Tatiana is quite a stunner. Moreover since her adoption she had mellowed somewhat, and was more tolerant with other dogs, so has been sharing her kennel.

A family who have visited the refuge on several occasions have had their eye on her, and today decided to offer her a home. The only cloud on the horizon is that they have a cat, and we are not quite sure how this will work out. The family were happy enough with her behaviour in the cat house to take the risk, and sometimes it is a question of nothing ventured nothing gained. With love, patience and careful introductions, maybe cohabitation is possible.

So everyone, please cross your fingers for Tatiana. And for the cat as well, of course. We hope that Tatiana takes the opportunity that has been offered to her with all four paws and that if we see her again at the ScPA it is just to say hello!

brindle coloured dog

Tatiana – ADOPTED

Tomorrow is the start of another week, and we are hoping for great things.

Two adoptions and a foster family for Barock

We have very good news today. One of our old dogs, Barock, found a foster family. This was not the first time he had been in foster, but when they moved to an appartment a couple of months ago, Barock came back to the SPA. This had always been the plan, but what we didn’t expect was how sad he was to find himself back at the refuge.

Luckily he has been given another chance. This is largely thanks to a Facebook appeal by volunteer Ingrid, which has been shared far and wide. A family came to meet Barock last week and to see how he would get on with their two small dogs. Barock is well known for being a bit difficult with other dogs, but a return visit with the dogs today went well too, and they have decided to see how things go at home.

Enormous thanks to these lovely people, and to everyone who shared the appeal. Be a good boy, Barock, please!

old shepherd cross

Barock – long term foster

Also today after a surprisingly long four and a half weeks, little bichon cross Joy left for her new home. At three years old, and being small and female, this girl had several people interested in her. But for Joy, as with all dogs, it was important that her new family was the right one. She had been brought in with her mother, Dolly by our cruelty inspectors, although in their case they had suffered more negligence than cruelty per se. Joy was not used to being handled and was quite snappy, especially with young children, so unfortunately we had to say no to a couple of families who wanted to adopt her. We don’t do this to be mean, rather we do it in the best interest of the dog, who risked being brought back to the refuge and labelled as a “biter”, but also of the children. Having a dog is meant to be a pleasure, and being bitten is no fun at all!

Joy’s time at the ScPA has not been wasted. Thanks to staff and volunteers she has progressed rapidly, and she has also learned plenty from the puppies, with whom she has been playing on a daily basis. She is still a bit nervous, but far less so than when she arrived, and now that she has a family of her own, we are sure she will be just fine.

black bichon


We also said goodbye to puppy Frank. He is the brother of Fred, who left the ScPA yesterday, and is the final one of his litter to leave us. This lad hurt himself in the puppy park, and so has spent a couple of weeks alone in the infirmary. So no puppy play for him, but masses of cuddles with the staff, who have become very attached to this little lad.

He has found a wonderful new family where the cuddles are certain to continue.

There were plenty of volunteers out walking, and we hope the same is true when the refuge opens its gates tomorrow. Whether you wish to walk or adopt or just cuddle, you will be more than welcome.

More puppy adoptions.

This week is the first week of the new school year, which perhaps explains why things have been so quiet on the adoption front. It is a brave parent indeed who takes on a new dog the same week as having to cope with all the trauma of kids being back at school.

Still, we have had a couple of adoptions. One took place a couple of days ago; that of puppy Fred. He leaves behind a brother who we hope will leave soon too.


Today saw the adoption of another two puppies, both of whom arrived alone.

For Zelie is has beena question of waiting the ten days pound time before leaving with a new family. This little Breton spaniel pup was found at the refuge gates, we have no idea if she was lost or put there deliberately, but as she was unidentified there was no way to find her owner. She was reserved quite soon afterwards, but again, with no contract of abandon, she was forced to wait, just in case. Still, all that is over now, as Zelie, renamed Cachou, embarks on a new life.

spaniel pup


Second to leave was Orlo, who is a brindle puppy who arrived towards the end of July. He is a gorgeous lad, and today he left for a new home where he will have another ex SPA dog as a friend. Does anyone remember the “sunglasses litter”? The last of these pups to leave was called Police, and she has made several visits to the refuge this week (along with her family, of course), to make sure she would get on okay with Orlo.

After being a bit nippy at first, Police has gradually calmed down wth Orlo, and today Orlo left for his new life. His new family is happy to deal with any niggles that might occur, and they are great believers in going to dog school (as they did with Police) should this be necessary, so we are confident that Orlo is in good hands.

brindle pup


We are hoping for more good news tomorrow and Sunday, but in reality perhaps things will only really pick up once the shock of the new semester has lessened a bit.

Dog Show Categories – The Big Reveal

Plans for the DRC dog show on September 16th in Caunes Minervois are coming along nicely. Many thanks to everyone who has already registered. It is not too late, and of course you can just turn up on the day. But this way we will have some idea of how many people to expect. This will of course help the caterers, (ie Gill and the rest of the team from Languedoc Solidarity with Refugees), who are also busy getting ready.

If you have registered, apologies if we haven’t responded to confirm your participation; but if you have filled in this form, you will be on the list!

Marketa, our ace photographer will have just returned from attending an exhibition in Barcelona, where she has some pictures on display. Those of you who follow her on Facebook or on the National Geographic Your Shot site will have seen some of her amazing photos. This is too good an opportunity to miss; a picture of your hound by such a talented photographer. This is a fundraising event, so she will be charging €10 for 2 jpg files, and as Marketa is kindly donating her time, all of this money will go to Dog Rescue Carcassonne, and ultimately of course to help the animals at the SPA Carcassonne.

A winner’s rosette…Could this be yours (or rather, your dog’s)?

The categories are as follows. You can enter up to five different events for €10, and it would be helpful if you could have already made up your minds beforehand that will speed things up on the day.

  • Handsomest Male
  • Prettiest Female
  • Longest Ears
  • Tallest
  • Best Looking Veteran
  • Celebrity Lookalike
  • Best Six Legs (dog and owner)
  • Longest Legs
  • Biggest Paws (relative to size of dog)
  • Waggiest Tail
  • Smallest
  • Most Unusual
  • Smiliest
  • Fluffiest
  • Best looking rescue
  • Shiniest Coat
  • Best Junior Handler
  • The dog the judges want to take home

The coveted “Judges Choice” award

There will probably be a couple of surprise categories, too. Plus of course the mini agility course, which will be lots of fun, for sure. Get your running shoes on!

Everyone is welcome to come along; anglophone, francophone or neither of the above; there will be plenty of people who speak canine! And of course you are more than welcome to come along even if you don’t have a dog. There will be plenty to keep you busy; a book stall, bric-a-brac, and a raffle, as well as watching the pooches go through their paces.  And don’t forget that Le Jardin Châmpetre will be open, as it is a garden heritage day throughout France. This is just next door to La Petite Pépinière and you can visit the beautiful gardens and buy plants and shrubs to take home.

Jessica from Le Refuge des Grandes Oreilles will be there and you can find out from her stand what wonderful work she and her association do for our equine friends in the region and beyond.

Gates open at 14H00 and registration will begin immediately, although the first event will not be until 15H00. Until then you can browse the stalls, and eat cake. What could be nicer?

Here is a map to take you to La Petite Pépinière.

If the afternoon is anything like last year’s event, it will be talked about for weeks to come, as well as raising money for some very worthy causes. We hope to see as many of you there as possible!

The story of Hulk and Red

A different blog tonight, telling the story of two dogs who were brought to the SPA Carcassonne in dire need of help, and whose lives have been completely turned around since.

In February this year the SPA Carcassonne fulfilled its primary purpose when it became a true place of refuge to Hulk, a 2 year old American bulldog and Red, a 3 year old doberman. The dogs had been given away on the internet by their owner, who honestly believed that his dogs were in good hands. As the article shows, this was far from being the case, and shows the risk many people take when rehoming animals to strangers. I do not want to delve to far into this, as there are ongoing legal issues, however anyone attempting to home their dogs like this should take note.

tow dogs cowering in doorway

Hulk and Red as they were found in February

Furthermore, due to legal and other issues, neither dog was allowed to be officially rehomed. But we were informed that it was possible to let them leave for foster homes, should these be available.

Of the two dogs, Hulk was in the worst condition. We do not know why. He was already incontinent (the SPA has been in touch with the dogs’ former owner, who has told us all about them), but six months of mistreatment had left him hardly able to walk and he was covered in sores, as well as being seriously underweight. He received a massive amount of attention at the ScPA, and there were many people interested in offering him a home. However finding a forever home for a dog who will have ongoing medical issues (for incontinence in this case) is not easy. It is one thing wanting to save a dog who is in the public eye, quite another to make a promise for life.

Luckily Pauline, who is well known to the ScPA came forward to offer this boy a home. We all know that Hulk will be very safe in her care. A lover of all dogs, but particularly of larger breeds, Pauline is a very conscientious as well as loving owner. So in April, Hulk left for a foster home that would become permanent as soon as the all clear was given.

Huge thanks to Pauline who is responsible for turning Hulk into the maginifent dog he is today.


This left Red. As I said, he was in better condition than Hulk. He was underweight and had lack of muscilature on his hind legs, but was well enough to go into an outside kennel like any other dog. Not for him the interest online nor the offers of homes, although like Hulk he must have been traumatised by his horrendous ordeal.

Enter Nicki, a friend of longstanding and a great lover of the Doberman breed. Would she be able to help? A Facebook appeal for Red was all it took. Charlotte, a friend of Nicki’s, got in touch to see if we would consider application to be Red’s new mum. Charlotte came with excellent references, as well as loving the doberman breed, she runs a galgo rehabilitation centre in southern Spain and we have several mutual friends, all of whom were more than willing to vouch for her. So Red, too, had found his forever home.

This is Charlotte giving therapy to a galgo

This was back in April, and we had been told that Red was not allowed to leave France. But in the state he was in, it was inconceivable to leave him at the SCPA. Just like Hulk, this boy needed love as well as far more regular exercise than was possible in a refuge with over a hundred other dogs. So next we had to find a foster for him in France, and with someone who could keep him for an indefinite period. Easier said than done, eh?

Except it turned out to be very easy! Enter Janet; dog lover extraordinaire, and best friend of June, who adopted three-legged ScPA podenco Daisy a couple of years ago. Are you starting to see how this networking thing works? Janet drove down to collect Red in early May, and since this time she has given him more love than many dogs experience during their entire lives.

Janet collecting Red from the ScPA in May

Charlotte has understandably been keen to get her hands on Red at last, and as soon as the all clear was given a couple of weeks ago, his trip to his new home was arranged, thanks to June and her friend Sonja of Precious Paws. I can only imagine how attached to him Janet has become during these 4 months. I am sure more than a few tears were shed as she said goodbye to Red last night. Especially as, to add insult to injury, she had to drive for several hours in the middle of the night to put him safely on board the transport. And then drive home to get her girls to school on time, as today is the dreaded Rentrée! And she has to work tonight too. Just as well thay she is superwoman in her spare time!

As I write, Red is in the final few hours of his journey to Andalucia where Charlotte is waiting. It has been a long wait for her, but thanks to Facebook we have all been in constant touch. Janet has  sent news and photos on a regular basis, and June has been to visit (and to pass on some much appreciated funds). We have all seen Red gain in strength and confidence, and seen him blossom into the magnificent dog he must have been before his mistreatment.

June pays a visit to Red

Of course we will show you photos of Red in his new life. But for now I want to thank everyone who helped Red get to his new home. First off to Nicki for all the help she has given, including the fundraising she did with Jackie Amor and Doberman sans Frontiers.. To June for all her contacts, as well as her help and advice, to Janet for being the best foster mum a dog could ever have, and to Charlotte for offering Red a new home.

Red in the safe hands of Dave – he is on his way!

It has been quite an adventure, and perhaps a longer one than anyone expected when we started, but both Hulk and Red have found wonderful homes. We hope that no one ever has the pain of finding out that the person to whom they entrusted their dogs has abused them in this way. But for Hulk and Red, the nightmare is well and truly over.

Two adoptions on a (now) normal Sunday

As of now, Sunday open days will no longer be anything special. From now on Sunday is just like any other day at the ScPA. The refuge is open from 14H00-18H00 just as on other days. The logic is that more people have free time for fun things at the weekend and what can be more fun than adopting a dog or cat!

And today we said goodbye to two puppies. One of them, Guenièvre, was already reserved, and her family chose today to collect her. She was the last of the litter of border collies who were so kindly (ah-hem) left at the refuge gates in early July. All her brothers and sisters have left, but Guenièvre has not been alone, as there have been plenty of other puppies for her to play with while she has been waiting for her forever home.

border pup

Guenièvre – ADOPTED

One of her playmates also left today; puppy Coca. He arrived alone a week or so after the border collie litter, and we know a bit more about him, as someone who adopted one of his sisters contacted us to let us know that this little lad is a border collie / griffon nivernais cross. He is very lively and loads of fun, but we were starting to wonder if his turn would ever come. As more and more puppies arrived, Coca looked like he would grow up at the refuge.

However today a family came along and offered him what appears to be the perfect home. They live in the countryside and will have lots of time to devote to this young, active lad. Everyone is over the moon for him, as they are for Guenièvre.


Plenty of people came along to see the refuge, and it is hoped that some of them will adopt or join our ever growing team of volunteers. Let’s hope this is the start of a wonderful thing.

Terrific Tuesday

After a poor day yesterday, today was a bit better, with three of yesterday’s five (yes, 5) arrivals leaving, and four adoptions.

First off we said goodbye to another of the little pups. Frida left for a new home and although she leaves her siblings behind, she will soon have forgotten all about them, as her new life is finally beginning. We still have pups at the ScPA, and although we were delighted for today’s adult leavers, it is always sad to see puppies growing up without homes.


Next we said goobye to Twig.  This lovely young braque cross was found by some British visitors to the area on the day before they returned to the UK. They adored him and have kept in regular touch with a view to adopting him if this became possible, but as this was not possible for the moment they were delighted when we informed them yesterday that he had been reserved after 5 weeks or so at the refuge. Twig’s new family are happy be in touch with the English family and have already sent some pictures so they can see the dog they found as a stray playing happily with the family’s other dog.


Third to leave was old boy Chechpouch (no, we don’t know what that name means, either, nor how to pronounce it, but the dog responds instantly!) This is not the first time he has been at the refuge. The last time he spent a month with us, with no news from his owner before he was reclaimed. Perhaps his owner will show up in a few weeks time, but as far as we are concerned, once the pound time is over, Chechpouch, who is eleven years old, has as much right as any other dog to find a new home.

mini border collie

Chechpouch – ADOPTED

Finally today we said goodbye to Boris, a lovely young dog who arrived way back in February as one of several dogs  found in a deserted warehouse. The girls were all rehomed quickly but Boris is the first of the males to leave. He has a lovely new family with two young and very dog-savvy children, and we are sure that at last he is going to have the home he deserves. The family took their time choosing, walking three dogs to see how they were on the lead and how well they responded to the family. The staff and volunteers were on tenterhooks to see who would be the lucky dog, and Boris was the one they picked. There followed much kissing and petting (the humans) and tail wagging (Boris) and it was off to a new life for him.


So it was a bumper day at the refuge, and we hope for many more like this now that things are starting to pick up after a quiet summer.

More Dog Show News on International Day of the Dog

Today was Sunday so the refuge was shut.

That is the last time I will ever type those words, all being well. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, so we would be open anyway. However as of then, the SCPA will be open every Sunday! This idea has been percolating for some time. Weekends are clearly the time when most people are free, and it is hoped that the new routine will encourage more people to adopt. Naturally we will be open for dog walking and cat cuddling, just as on any other afternoon!

Of course there probably won’t be adoptions every Sunday, so the end of the week blog may or may not take place.

Tonight what we have for you is more news of the upcoming Dog Show.

Registration is now open, and thanks to those of you who have already notified us that you intend to be there. It will help enormously for the catering team, as well as other logistics.

Rosettes and winners’ certificates are being created and we have managed to secure the services of not one but two judges, both of whom are qualified dog trainers and really know their stuff.

Jessica from Le Refuge des Grandes Oreilles has kindly offered to help out with the announcements, and so you will have a chance to chat to her and learn about the wonderful work she and her team do with their donkey sanctuary (hence the big ears!).

All in all the day looks like it is coming together nicely. Please share with your friends and let’s make sure it is a huge success. Although all the publicity is in English, everyone is welcome. The dog show events will be bi-lingual and many of the people manning the stalls speak French. So wherever you are from you will be made welcome; all we ask is that you love dogs! That isn’t hard, is it?

Finally, on this International Day of the Dog, if you are lucky enough to have a dog (or several) in your life, please give them an extra hug and tell them how much you love them. Having a dog is an honour and a joy and we should love them as much as we can, which is still never as much as they deserve.