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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Adoption of Teck

One thing you learn about the world of animal rescue is that you have to be able to dust yourself off and move on, regardless of what happens. There are more dogs to save! Thanks to everyone for your kind messages about Smart; no dog should leave this life without tears being shed.

At the SPA today we had three more new dogs to look after, none of which are identified. Let’s hope that at least a couple of them are reclaimed. Never nice to think of scared and confused dogs spending what might be the first of many nights in cold kennels, especially with the rain lashing down as it is at the moment. Still, at least they are under shelter; many many others will not be.

Onto brighter things. As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, amongst all the sadness we had an adoption, that of little Teck. When  he arrived last month it was obvious that he wouldn’t have long to wait. A wire haired dachshund of just a year old was sure to be adopted quickly. Even had he not been one of the most adorable cuddly and affectionate dogs at the SPA. Sure enough a family came along to meet him yesterday, and after a quick trip to the vets today, off he went to his new home.

We must also say thanks to Cecile, who took over translation duties last week while Helene was otherwise occupied. Great job! And to Helene, welcome back and sorry the first couple of blogs since your return were so sad.

Teck – ADOPTED yesterday
wire haried teckel

A Sad Farewell to Smart.

Today we said a sad and very sudden farewell to Smart. It is only four days ago that we made our appeal for a home for him, although he has been on the SPA page as being urgent for over a year. Sadly this time there was no miracle.

There are many upsetting aspects to his death. The saddest thing is perhaps that he has been with us for almost three years, and throughout all this time we were unable to find him the home he deserved. He was not a difficult dog; okay, he did not like cats or other dogs, but he was not unique in that. Many of our dogs are homed without other animals. He was wonderful on the lead, too. Smart was already nine years old when he arrived, plus he was a big dog, and this is maybe why he was never chosen.

Of course a dog of nine must have been living somewhere before coming to the SPA. We often wonder if owners follow the SPA news and see what happens to dogs they have abandoned. In this case it has ended badly and I hope they feel guilty. But they probably won’t. Instead it is left to a group of SPA employes and volunteers to shed tears for a dog they have looked after for almost three years.

Many thanks to Estelle and Mika for accompanying Smart on his final journey. They went to the vets hoping for a different outcome, expecting to perhaps return with medicine, but the deterioration in Smart’s health since he saw the vet just a few days ago left no option.

Thanks to everyone who has walked him and taken care of him since his arrival all that time ago. There will be lots of you, for sure. And let’s try to make sure this never happens again. Please share as much as you can for the old dogs or the dogs who have been at the SPA for a long time. An end to life having not tasted freedom is just horrible.

We did have an adoption today, that of little Teck, but we will write more about that tomorrow. Not even a wonderful adoption can lift the mood.

RIP Smart . Sorry we couldn’t find you a home.

Smart when he arrived in 2014
big tricoloured dog









And shortly before he died.

Smart needs a foster

Happy Snaps on a gloomy day

Mondays are often very hectic at the SPA with multiple arrivals. However today there is just one new dog at the refuge, and we will tell you more about her tomorrow.

I think many of us are feeling a bit glum. A couple of dogs are ill, especially poor Smart, and we all need to be cheered up. So rather than dwell on sad things, such as the advertisements that are starting to appear encouraging people to buy puppies for Christmas, we thought we would show you some lovely photos of ex SPA dogs.

I am sure none of these owners regret having adopted a dog from a refuge. Why put more money into the pockets of often unscrupulous breeders and puppy farmers when instead you can change the life of a dog who wants nothing more than to be loved and who has already been let down by humans.

Thanks to everyone who send us news of their dogs; you brighten up days like these when we all need a bit of a boost.

Prada (ex Lottie) when she was a tiny pup and one year later

tiny pup and same dog but older











Oscar (adopted last month) has fallen on all four paws. His owners came to see us last week and they are over the moon with their lovely boy!

fluffy black and white dog











And no, this is not a disembodied head, it is “puppy” Chase wearing the cone of shame, following his castration



Life is sweet after the SPA

Earlier in the week a couple of volunteers went to visit some SPA dogs in their new homes. In an ideal world we would visit every single dog after adoption, but we are mere mortals, and the numbers of dogs involved make this impossible. Of course it is always good to get news via photos on Facebook etc, but nothing beats seeing dogs in the flesh. Whom we visit depends on a number of things. Sometimes a dog was a bit difficult at the SPA and it is interesting to see how they are getting on in their new homes. It is a learning process for everybody;  dogs who we thought would not be able to share their lives with other dogs quite often do so happily when they have more space. Such visits can help us reasess dogs who are still in our care and try and find them the best home possible.

Sometimes we visit dogs just because we were particularly fond of them when they were at the SPA and want another chance to give them a cuddle! Sometimes we know that the dogs are well and happy, because we know their owners and get regular news and photos. But that doesn’t mean we don’t visit, particularly if there is a good incentive to go. And what can be better than jewellery and cake!

A few weeks ago we mentioned a fundraising event, whereby a percentage of the sale of handmade jewellery would be donated to the SPA. The reason for this generosity is that  Lizzie, Ali and their friends Yvonne and Henny are great supporters of the SPA. So what better excuse did we need to pay a visit in which we could combine a bit of retail therapy with seeing some ex-SPA dogs!

It was so lovely to see Jonty (ex Button), Scout (ex Princesse) and Lily Blue (ex Greta) looking so relaxed and happy. Not only that, we came back with some excess cake (is there such a thing?) and a very generous donation to help the animals of the SPA. Thank you so much, Team La Caumette. And thanks also to the families who were visited earlier in the week.

For all these dogs life is sweet after the SPA, and we wish the same for all our animals.

Filou in his new home









Quizz is a happy lad too!












Scout (ex Princess) Jonty (ex – Button) and Lily Blue (ex Greta) are put through their paces

Scout Jonty and and Lily



Adoption of Scooby Doo thanks to the Press.

We had a wonderful adoption today. Ten year old Scooby Doo left after over three years at the SPA!

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that during the Hallowe’en Black animal offer several adoptions and reservations had taken place, but only one was definitely as a direct result of this ” promotion”. The reason we know this is because Scooby Doo’s photo was featured in an article in the local press and his family came to the SPA to meet him straight away. They are planning a house move and originally were going to take Scooby  only once this was complete. However there have been some delays to the move, and rather than leave Scooby at the SPA (and in the cold)  any longer, they have decided that he will have a couple of weeks of stairs to cope with, but rather that than being left alone at the SPA.

In fact since reserving him they have been along many times to walk him and to get him used to their tiny and adorable chihuahua. Yes, although he is not good with big dogs, Scooby is fine with small dogs and cats. In fact this is what clinched him his new home. But it really was love at first sight for his new owners. They said that it would always be a regret that they had not seen a photo of Scooby earlier. It is true, Scooby has had a long long wait. When he arrived he was a big black dog of seven years, and now he is a big black dog of ten years. It is huge luck for a dog of this age to find a new home, and we are delighted for him. Many thanks to his new family for reversing the current trend, which as many people have pointed out, seems to be one of dumping old dogs at the SPA.

Whoever the journalist was who published Scooby’s photo…many many thanks. Not everyone has Facebook, sometimes a press article can make all the difference.

Other than that there was no news, but an adoption like this is all you need to feel like you are floating on air!

A very excited Scooby – Doo (with new pal) – ADOPTED after more than three years at the SPA!

black dog wtih man and chihuchua


Toby’s BIG Adventure

Many of you saw that Toby had gone missing from his foster home and of course we were all very concerned for his welfare. Before you jump to conclusions, we need to point out that Toby was not left alone in a garden. In fact he managed to escape on a walk; he hates the lead, and twists and writhes to escape. Now he is safely back with his foster family, who are hugely relieved after two sleepless nights, and of course they will be much more careful in the future. Toby, for his part, is tired and hungry, but none the worse for his big adventure.

Thanks to everyone who kept an eye out for him. Yes, it was thanks to social media that he was reunited with his foster family; so if you ever doubt the value of sharing Facebook posts, here is yet more proof that it works.

On the subject of fostering, we have a couple more dogs who are in urgent need of fostering. Smart has not been feeling well this week and although initial tests showed nothing, an echogramme today showed multiple tumours on his lungs. This poor lad has been with us since February 2014, and it now seems that his life will end at the SPA. Unless a foster family can be found, that is. At the moment Smart is too ill to show any aggression at all, but previously he was not okay with other animals, so we are hoping to find somewhere where he can be an only dog for however long he has left. Not easy, we know….

However if you want to foster a small(er) dog who is okay with other dogs and cats, then why not Gertrude? She was born in 2002 and she too deserves a loving home.

At the SPA Questionably Coquine turned out to be REALLY Coquine, and she left with her owners, and staff Iron left with his owner and the CORRECT paperwork.

Let’s hope for more good news tomorrow.

Smart. Nearly 13 years old and desperate for a foster home
Smart needs a foster









14 year old Gertrude needs a foster home too














scruffy small grey dog












Adoption of Duracell.

Today we had the adoption of Duracell. He was adopted from us a couple of years ago but was found and brought to the SPA in early October and never reclaimed. His new owners were instantly drawn to him, and although they took out a few other dogs just to be sure, they returned to adopt Duracell. What a great dog he is. After some initial excitement he is fabulous on the lead and has no more energy than is normal for a young dog. So yes, he will probably have a name change.We are delighted that he has found a new home and wish him  and his new family lots of happiness.

And it turned out that we had royalty amonst us, albeit briefly! Someone managed to decypt the tattoo of yesterday’s black labrador, and it turns out his name is King! Many thanks to everyone who helped with this…we had tried lots of variants, but it was Carole’s friend Melanie in far away Paris who solved the puzzle, so many thanks to her! King’s owners came to collect him today and everyone was overjoyed for this lovely lad.

Despite the approaching winter there were lots of volunteers out walking the dogs, and thanks as ever to everyone who gives up their time to help out, be it by taking dogs out or donating blankets and food.

Duracell – ADOPTED
Black lab with man









King – reclaimed

black lab

A miracle for Toby

Less than two weeks ago we had wonderful news when 14 year old Sam left the refuge and today we had another miracle as Toby found a new home too. This dog was abandoned on Saturday at aged 14, and when he visited the vet this week it was discovered that as well as the tumours on his testicles (quite common in non-castrated dogs), he has multiple tumours throughout his body. How disgraceful of his owners to dump this dog at a refuge. For a start dogs like this, who have presumably been loved all their lives, deserve much better than being thrown away when they become an inconvenience, but also how selfish of people to oblige refuges to take on the sad duty of seeing a dog to his final days and paying for vet care up to that point.

Today Helen and her husband came along with a view to offering a home to Poupette, who is 12 years old and who was also abandoned. However we now know for sure that Poupette needs to be an only dog. Luckily when they were told about Toby, they did not hesitate. He was fine with the couple’s yorkie and so it was he who won the jackpot.

Thanks so much to Helen for stepping forward to help him out. And to anyone thinking that we will be able to do the same for your old dog, no, we probably won’t. So don’t even think about dumping your dogs with us; they are your responsibility; don’t let them down when they need you the most.

In other news, we have pictures of the dog who arrived yesterday and whose owners we are hoping to find. He is identified but his tattoo is impossible to decypher. This is another very good reason to make sure that your dog has a collar with an id tag on it. He is a lovely dog, so let’s hope that his owners are looking for him, or that someone else is looking for a handsome black lab cross.

Toby leaves for a long term foster home.
old dog with pointed ears











This boy’s tattoo cannot be read.

black lab









You WHAT???

bad tattoo


Birthday adoption for Bagheera

A lovely lab mix arrived at the SPA in early October and although she was identified, the place where the dogs name is noted was blank, leaving the SPA with carte blanche. She earned the name Bagheera because she went into share the kennel of lovely Balou…Who doesn’t love The Jungle Book?!

Depsite the fact that she was identified we were unable to contact her owners, and as time went on it became clear that this gorgeous girl would need to be rehomed. She is well trained, doesn’t pull on the lead and is such a joyful, playful dog that we couldn’t understand why no one would be searching for her. Equally with such fabulous credentials, it was almost certain that she wouldn’t have too long to wait. And sure enough….

There are lots of great things about her adoption today. Firstly that her new family already adored her having met her yesterday. Secondly they have two sweet little papillons with whom she can play. Admittedly today Bagheera ignored them in favour of playing with a toy. But mostly because today is Bagheera’s birthday! Yes, according to her identification papers, she was born on November 15th 2010. Happy sixth birthday, Bagheera. I am willing to bet it is the best birthday present this dog has ever had. A new home. What a lucky, lucky girl!

One dog arrived, a black lab cross who is tattooed but whose owner cannot be contacted. We will try and get photos tomorrow and see if social media can help, as it so often does.

Bagheera – ADOPTED
brown dog with two small white dogs

Questionably Coquine

Monday’s are typically grim at the SPA, so perhaps in the overall scheme of things today wasn’t too bad.

Three dogs arrived (including one who arrived yesterday, when we were shut), one of whom has already left with his owners. Of the other two, one is identified but the tattoo is old and illegible. We are hoping that we might have more luck finding her owners via social media than we are by other means.

The girl in question may or may not be called Coquine and may or may not be a cairn terrier cross born in 2007. If she isn’t, she is definitely a small female terrier and the vet will estimate her age. I bet she will look lovely once she has had a bit of a brush, and of course if no one claims her, she will soon be available for adoption.

There was some good news; a dog who arrived in early September was reclaimed. Yes that sounds a bit bizarre, but his owners knew he was with us and have been working with us and the authorities ever since in order to get him back. Yes, Lasko is a Category One dog, and as we have said many times before, permits and paperwork are required before any dog falling into this category can leave. Luckily for him, Lakso’s owners love him and were willing to go through the process.

Oh, we had a lovely reservation as well. So let’s try and keep our spirits up. Compared to last week, when we had at least one adoption every day, this week has not got off to the best of starts. Plenty of time to put that right, though!

New arrival who may or may not be called Coquine
scruffy small grey dog








Lasko has been reclaimed