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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Didn’t we have a lovely time!

Many thanks to everyone who came along to the fashion show in Fanjeaux yesterday. It was a fabulous afternoon in every way apart from the weather. But of course that didn’t matter, as we were in the warmth of the foyer, watching our team of supermodels strut their way down the catwalk.

The clothes they wore, as well as many others, were on sale afterwards, and there were plenty of people there to snap up a bargain. Where else can you find Boden, Russell and Bromley and even Whistles (beloved of Princess Kate Middleton) at such prices? There were other stalls, too: A tombola, colour therapy, Neil’s Yard, and other local crafts including cupcakes, marmalade and many other goodies. Plus of course the DRC stall, with photos of the SPA dogs and selling accessories, just to remind us of why we are doing all this fundraising.

Many thanks to Sabine and her team for all their work making the day such a success.

Of course as well as having huge amounts of fun, the goal of the day was to raise money for the dogs at the SPA. No doubt you want to know how much was raised. Wait for it…

We raised a whopping €2190.

Thanks to everyone who came along to support us. And if you missed out, don’t panic, we will be having more opportunities to join in the fun later on in this Year of the Dog.

Here are just a few photos of the afternoon’s festivities. We will add more to the DRC Facebook page tomorrow, I am sure.

Jane and Gill strutting their stuff

Shelfie made some wonderful cupcakes to raise cash

And here is (most of) the Team! Thanks lovelies!

Adoption of Max

We had just one adoption today, but sometimes one is all you need to raise morale.

Ten days or so ago a dog was brought to the refuge having been found unidentified. As is always the case, his photo was put on Facebook in an attempt to find his owners. Bingo! The dog was recognised by the owner’s ex girlfriend, and she immediately got in touch to offer the dog, Max, a home. Apparently she had effectively lost custody when the couple split, so although she had to wait for ten days (until Max’s pound time was over; after all, he may well have been reclaimed), she was delighted that Max is now officially hers.

And Max is no doubt delighted to leave the SPA with someone whom he knows and who knows him well. As for us, we are very happy for them both.

long haired dog


Tomorrow is the DRC Fun(d) raising Fashion Show in Fanjeaux, so why not come along and support us there? It is always a great afternoon, a catwalk show is followed by the chance to buy from a large collection of carefully selected high quality clothes, plus there will be a tombola and a variety of other stands all aiming to raise money for the dogs at the SPA Carcassonne.

Come and see us tomorrow and help us raise money for the SPA

See you there or see you here as soon as we have the next adoption. So soon…hopefully!

Ella is adopted and Bullit finds a foster

Oh, who could fail to fall in love with little Ella? A small and timid rough haired podenco, this little girl arrived at the SPA just ten days ago and immediately started winning hearts. It is impossible to guess what happened to make this little girl so nervous, but of one thing we are sure, coming to the SPA is the best thing that happened in her life. Until Saturday, that is, when she spent the afternoon in the arms of a family who then decided to offer her a new home.

Today was the end of her pound time, and life is set to get even better. It is going to take a long time for Ella to get over her fears, but as everyone who has rehomed a timid dog knows, it is an incredibly rewarding experience.  Many thanks to Ella’s new family and we look forward of seeing photos of her in her new home.


white podenco


That is not the day’s only piece of good news, but for the next one we are going to need everyone to keep their fingers well and truly crossed. Today Bullit has gone to what everyone is hoping will be a long term foster home. This elderly German Shepherd was brought to the SPA over a year ago following his owner’s death. A previous attempt to find him a home failed due to an incompatibility with the owner’s other (female) dog. However Bullit is another year older, and with any luck he will have mellowed since then. This is his big chance at finding a loving home, so we hope he does not blow it and that the family’s other dog accepts him. Fingers crossed everyone!

German shepherd


If you are interested in fostering an older dog, please get in touch. It is always so sad to see elderly dogs behind bars and we would love them all to be in loving homes.

Third time lucky for Looky

Today we are happy to tell you that Looky is with a new family. Yes, we know we have said that before a couple of times, but bear with us. Saved from a life enclosed on a tiny balcony, this stunning border collie is a very complicated dog. Part of that is no doubt due to being totally deaf, and part of it is due to his breed; border collies are hyper intelligent and do not cope well with confined spaces. The SPA has not been easy for him. And the problem has snowballed. The more difficult Looky became, the less often he was exercised and thus his behaviour worsened.

The cycle needed to be broken, but previous adoptions failed. The Association Borderline Collie has been looking for a home for a long time, and it is thanks to them that Looky has had another chance. Carole, one of very few SPA employees who were able to handle him, put Looky into a cage in which he travelled to his new home in Alsace. It appears that he knew something was up, because he behaved impeccably on the journey, and so far all is going well with in his new home. His new family are extremely experienced with difficult dogs, and they know everything there is to know about Looky. So let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope that this time Looky won’t mess up!

border collie

Looky – Be a good boy this time, PLEASE!

Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday in France, so the refuge will be shut, but you never know, there might be a few of us there walking dogs!

Three wonderful adoptions

We have three lovely adoptions to tell you about, this evening.

The first lucky dog, José, has gone to live with SPA “angel” Marieange. Her name will be known to followers of the blog; she invariably takes elderly dogs and loves them more than they have ever been loved before. And José really loves to be loved! This little shih-tzu of some ten years was brought in by a woman claiming to have found him. No owners came forward, however, so the SPA was left with no option other than to find him a new home. And with Mariange, José has hit the jackpot big time.

small grey shih-tzu


Our second leaver was Fifty. He is an eight year old labrador who was abandoned by his owner last month and whereas many owners tell us a lot about their dogs when they bring them in for rehoming, Fifty’s owner new almost nothing about his dog. He did not know what Fifty was like with other dogs, even, as believe it or not he had never been in contact with them.

Fifty turned out to be just fine with other dogs, so has probably quite enjoyed his time at the SPA, sharing his box and playing in the parks. But he will enjoy his new life even more. He found a wonderful new home today!

pale lab


Third to leave was basset fauve de Bretagne, Chanel. She was brought in for rehoming by her owner, who, following a change in family circumstances and a move to an appartment, no longer had time to look after his dog. Chanel is only a year old, and extremely lively and was used to daily runs with her master. Being at the SPA has not been easy for her, but luckily she has only been there for a week or so.

Many of you know that we have close personal friendships with many fauve lovers, and have rehomed many of them thanks to the group Fauve Rescue. The group’s founder, Georgie, has become a friend of mine, and I knew that she would do her best to find a great home for Chanel. I was right. Having lost two beloved fauves to old age in recent months, Georgie and her family had just about decided to not adopt any more dogs of that breed; sometimes it is just too painful. But after long family discussions they had a change of heart! Yes, Chanel has gone to live with little teckel John Wayne and the rest of Georgie’s menagerie, canine, feline and avian. Oh, and human, too.

basset fauve de Bretagne

Chanel – ADOPTED

They are spending the night here before making the eleven hour journey home, so I am off now to enjoy a gin and tonic!

The SPA is open tomorow for the first Sunday of the month and we hope to see some of you then. Cheers!

May the fourth be with them!

It has been another slow week so far; May is a strange  month here, with lots of seemingly random looking bank holidays which mean that lots of people disappear on day trips or long weekends; perhaps not the ideal time to adopt. And almost inevitably there is an arrival of dogs whose owners have failed to cater for them while they take a holiday. Some of them will be reclaimed, others will remain at the refuge now their owners have realised that dogs need looking after even when owners want to go away.

However we do have a couple of adoptions to tell you about, and coincidentally the dogs arrived on almost the same day and even shared a kennel!

First to leave was timid border collie Meg. She arrived with her pal Bob when both were found in a nearby village. Both dogs were extremely nervous, but both are making progress. We hope that Meg will come on in leaps and bounds now that she has a home of her own. Her new dad, who visited the SPA yesterday, has gone off with strict instructions regarding her care…double lead and harness. We don’t want anymore dogs on the loose!

border collie


Her kennelmate, Sultan, also arrived with another dog, the lovely Zelda. Rather than leave the dogs in their established “couples”, the SPA decided to do a bit of swapping around. This might seem a cruel thing to do, but it is extremely rare for dogs who arrived together to be adopted together, and it is far better for them to learn to live separately as early as possible. Sometimes this helps get dogs out of their habitual roles of protector/ protected and enables them to blossom much sooner.

So Sultan and Meg have been friends for a couple of weeks now, and it is wonderful that they left on the same day.

black and tan dog

Sultan – ADOPTED

We have some more good news planned for tomorrow, so see you then.

Mayday adoption of Mango

Today the SPA was closed for the May Day bank holiday, but with all the volunteers at the refuge wishing to walk dogs, it seemed easiest to leave the gates open. That meant that  a couple of visitors came in too, and one couple was especially welcome, as they adopted our lovely boy Mango (aka Boxer).

We all needed some good news. SPA Facebook followers will have heard that on Sunday we lost our lovely boy Duke to a tragic accident. This knocked everyone for six, and the refuge has been a bit gloomy. So today’s adoption was very welcome indeed.

Mango arrived identified but sadly no one came to reclaim him. Is it because he is a young and bouncy dog who needs education, perhaps? Who knows. But in any case, today’s family were looking for exactly this kind of dog. They had owned a dogue argentin in the past, and having recently moved house, they were looking for a dog to share their large garden and active lifestyle. Mango will have a wonderful new life, and we are really happy for him.

big cross breed

Mango (aka Boxer) – ADOPTED

There were also a couple of phone calls from people who have seen that their dogs are at the SPA, so there should be a couple of dogs leaving for their own homes tomorrow, too.

As we say so often, onwards and upwards.

RIP beautiful Duke

Three Friday Leavers

We have three lovely adoptions to tell you about this evening, two pups and one adult.

First off, Hippie. This pretty shepherd cross with unfeasibly large ears had been found in Quillan a week before he was brought to the refuge. The lovely people from the Mairie looked after him and did their best to find his owner, but without any luck. So if you add in the time he has been at the SPA, that is a whole month that this little lad has been without a home. And bearing in mind he is just a baby, that is not the best start in life. Luckily things are about to get a whole lot better for Hippie.

Yesterday a family came to the SPA looking for a young dog, who would like an active life with other animals of all sorts. So Hippie is going to have a busy and active life with lots of fun and love. We are so pleased for him, as we were scared that he was going to be left behind.

tricoloured pupwith big ears

Hippie (renamed Oslo) – ADOPTED

We say this because the SPA’s only other puppy, Canaillou, was reserved a couple of days ago, and has in fact been living with his new family just waiting for the end of his pound time. This little lad was found unidentifed and so the chances of finding his owner were zero; unless the owner wanted to be found, that is.

He caught the eye of a lovely family too, and by all accounts he is busy settling in to his new life already although the paperwork was completed this afternoon.

black puppy

Canaillou – ADOPTED

Out third adoption of the day was that of Finka. She is a black and white spaniel cross who arrived unidentified a couple of weeks ago and quicky stole the hearts of employees and volunteers alike. It took a two weeks for anyone to show interest in adopting her, however, then two wonderful families offered her a home at the same time. What a lucky girl, but what a dilemma for the SPA. In the end it just came down to which family was at home more during the day and who had a more enclosed garden. We hate disappointing people, especially when they will make great dog owners, so hopefully we can find another dog who suits and everyone can be happy. Happy owners and happy dogs is what we want.

black and white spaniel cross


So three more dogs have homes tonight. Tomorrow might bring more good news; watch this space!

Adoption of Kira

Today we had lots of walks (thanks to everyone, as ever), and one adoption. Yes, they have been a bit thin on the ground so far this week, so today’s news was very welcome.

One year old Kira was brought to the SPA about a month ago after her owner dumped her somewhere near Capendu. She was spotted several times over the course of the next few days before finally being caught and brought to the SPA. So as you can see, finding a new owner was the best thing for her. Her old owner is clearly not someone who should keep animals.

malinois cross


In any case, today a gentleman came looking for a malinois who could live with a cat. Kira was not his first choice, although she was a close second. And when Goldy rather disgraced herself in the cat house, it was Kira’s chance. She took it happily, sitting down patiently while kitties wandered around her feet. Providing she was not being exceptionally sneaky (and bear in mind she is a malinois cross, so this is possible), all should go well in her new home. We hope so, with all our hearts.

There were a couple of reservations, too, so we are looking forward to good news tomorrow, too.

Three lucky leavers

We have three adoptions to tell you about today.

One of them dates back to Saturday, in actual fact, when lovely German shepherd cross Frisbee left with Jemma and her family. They had seen her on Facebook as soon as she arrived, but were away on holiday so could not come and meet her. Talk about frsutration! However they raced from Paris on Saturday when Frisbee’s pound time ended and of course the whole family fell in love with this gentle girl who is some seven months old.  What a change for Frisbee, who arrived unidentified just ten days ago looking very thin. She now has two other dogs to play with, and a very active family who as we know are great dog lovers. Yes, this is the same family whose daughter Aimée dedicated her birthday to the SPA, and whose school friends donated lots of dog and cat food to the refuge a couple of months ago! Lucky Frisbee.

German shepherd cross

Frisbee – ADOPTED

Today we said goodbye to two more little ones. First to go was jack russell pup Joplin! Yes, at last! We could not understand why he had not left sooner, but it looks like it was worth the wait. He has a lovely family and a big sister who will show him how to behave as he grows up. We are delighted for him. Although of course we will miss him and all his cuddles and mischief.

JRT pup

Joplin – ADOPTED

Hanka also found a new home. This six year old French bulldog was abandoned a couple of days ago. Of course it is rare for us to have dogs of this breed, but Hanka is quite feisty. Best that she is an only dog (which was not the case in her old home). Hanka left today with a gentleman who knows all about feisty dogs and has done some walking at the SPA in the past. So it is all change for Hanka too.

French bulldog


Unlike the past couple of Mondays which have been horrid, there was only one arrival today, due to serious illness of the owner. As he is a fabulous pedigree braque francais, we hope that he too will find a family soon. More news and photos on this boy soon.