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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Monday Adoption of Pompom

Day one of a new week and already we have one adoption to tell you about.

Little poodle Pompom arrived last month in a terrible state. He was covered in matted fur, which disguised the fact that he was positively skeletal. Plus he was almost blind in one eye. Not surprisingly everyone thought that he was an old dog who had been  lost or abandoned. However a visit to the vets told us otherwise. Pompom is just five years old, and one he had put on a few kilos and benefited from the ministrations of groomer Angelique, he turned into a magnificent little chap.

He was lucky enough to find a place in the cat house, but he has been out regularly, following his human friends round the refuge devotedly.  As he is fine with both cats and dogs, he has proved to be a very easy “guest”.

Usually a small sociable dog would be adopted in super quick time. However it took Pompom a wee bit longer due, probably to his sight issues. However today Pompom was adopted and his new life started. We are sure he will be very happy.

white poodle

Pompom – ADOPTED

Let’s hope that this adoption is the first of many this week.

Adoptions of Cappuccino and Puppy Chouquette

Today was the day for which volunteer Lucya had been waiting for a long time. After many months of walking her favourite dog, Cappuccino, she finally came along to adopt him. What joy, what excitement. It was very easy to see why this little lad had stolen her heart. A Breton spaniel cross of some four and a half years old, Cappuccino is fine with other dogs, cats and children. He is fine on the lead and very affectionate.

Cappuccino has been with us since early February, which is a long time for a dog who is this perfect. However it is not unusual for dogs to be overlooked; there are just so many to choose from. Lucya was holding her breath, not wanting Cappuccino to spend any longer than neccessary at the refuge, but hoping that no one else would choose him before she was finally able to adopt.

She looked so happy today, as did Cappuccino, of course.

black and white spaniel

Cappuccino – ADOPTED

Today’s second leaver was also adopted by people who are well known to the ScPA. Puppy Chouquette has gone to live with a fabulous family who adopted spaniel Lutine from us about a year ago. She came along to say hello and to meet her new sister, but Chouquette has more excitement ahead of her, as she has seven new dogs to play with. We know she will be very happy.

braque puppy

Chouquette – ADOPTED

Three dogs were brought in but all were identified and left with their owners, so it was a good end to the week.

For those of you who are not either local to the area or cycling fans, please be aware that the Tour de France is going to be in Carcassonne for 3 days starting tomorrow. Travel will be difficult so please check your route before coming to see us and keep your cats and dogs safe inside during the race; no one wants to be that person whose animal causes an accident by crossing the road in front of the riders!

Adoptions of Obiwan and Clafoutis.

We have two more adoptions to tell you about today, with both leavers being young dogs. Never fear though, we have plenty of puppies left, as even more arrived today. This is incredibly frustrating for everyone, as it is a question of one step forward and two steps back at the moment. However we battle bravely on…

Clafoutis is one of the litter who arrived at the beginning of this month, having been born in early March. We have no idea as to the background of this litter, all we know is that they were unwanted, and that whoever let their dog have puppies just dumped them off at the refuge. Clafoutis is no longer unwanted, however. His new family wanted him very much and his new life has started today!

spaniel pup

Clafoutis – ADOPTED

The second to leave was Obiwan. He is an adorable border collie who has just turned one year old and who arrived exactly ten days ago. He was spotted whilst still in the “pound” and as is often the case, his new owner had a nervous wait, hoping that he would not be collected.

Today she breathed a huge sigh of relief, as did Obiwan as he left the refuge for his new home.

border collie

Obiwan – ADOPTED

We have our fingers crossed for more adoptions tomorrow, and also that no more puppies arrive!

Youka finds a foster and news of three adoptions.

Last night’s urgent appeal for 15 year old Youka bore fruit immediately, with a wonderful family arriving as soon as the refuge opened to test her with their 2 year old patou cross. So less than 24 hours after being abandoned, this lovely girl already has a new home. Many thanks to Ingrid for dealing with the numerous offers of homes, and of course to everyone who came forward for Youka in her hour of need, as well, of course as her new family. If only all our other oldies could be so lucky….

husky cross

Youka – long term foster

As well as one new arrival being reclaimed, today we said goodbye at last to Texas. We all know his story; given away on leboncoin and brought to the refuge, then two failed adoptions, neither of which failures was his fault. This time it looks like all is well. His new family has no cats (Texas’s downfall the first time, although he lived with cats previously) and although he is fine with other dogs, he will be an only dog in his new home. We are over the moon for him; yes, it has been a long wait, but as we so often say, it was worth the wait.



Today’s other adoption was that of puppy Vitalis. He and his brother Remi have been here for 5 weeks, which is a long time for a puppy. But with all the other pups at the ScPA, it is inevitable that some of them have longer to wait than others. However today he has his new home and we wish him a long and happy life.

spaniel cross puppy

Vitalis – ADOPTED

Yes, for some dogs, finding the right home can take a long time, or even several attempts. Today we have an adoption from a couple of weeks ago to catch up on. Roxy. He appeared as the urgent appeal on Dog Rescue Carcassonne on three occasions. The most recent of these was after he was returned to the ScPA just 24 hours after being adopted, as the new owner realised that he lived in a small appartment; a fact he lied about when adopting this big dog.

However it was not thanks to the internet that Roxy found his home. Rather it was a couple who were looking round the refuge on spec. They saw Roxy and fell in love. However they had cats, and Roxy was noted as not being at all good with cats. However the couple wanted to give it a go, confident that with good management, Roxy would adapt.

The guru overseeing this adoption was Patricia, and she kept in touch with the couple on a daily basis. At first there were good days and bad days, but at no stage did they wish to throw in the towel. Then the day came when they were happy to finalise the adoption. Yes, up till this point Roxy had been in a kind of foster situation, and this is something that the ScPA is considering doing more and more, particularly with dogs who have been at the refuge for a long time. Such dogs are often labelled as not being good with other dogs or cats. Sometimes this is just the effect of being in kennels, and a change of scene can be a game changer. However it a brave family that will pay an adoption fee up front, so this system will allow for a trial period which we hope will subsequently turn into an adoption!

Many thanks to Patricia for overseeing Roxy’s departure and of course to his new family (and their cats) for giving Roxy this chance, after he had spent over 2 long years at the refuge.

big black griffon

Roxy – trial period turns into ADOPTION

Life after the Refuge – Frisbee

Many thanks to Jemma for this article where she writes about her family’s reasons for wishing to adopt from the ScPA and the whole adoption experience.

If you would like to write an article about your ex- ScPA dog, please get in touch!

We’re a young(ish!) family with two children, Patrick and Aimée.  We had Molly, a slightly overweight, always hungry, water loving Labrador for 12 years. We added Rosie to our family, a kind but a little grumpy Labrador a few years later.


The truth of the situation is we bought these two wonderful dogs as we were worried, with young children, that an adopted dog may be aggressive or unpredictable.  Finally, we saw Cookie (previously sage), a Labrador cross puppy on the SPA Facebook page and we couldn’t resist adding yet again. She looked so sad on her photo that I knew I would do anything to see her happy.  She is the happiest, craziest dog you will ever meet, so we quickly wondered why we waited so long to adopt.  We made a pact that in the future we would always adopt. We were a happy three dog family for a few years.

Cookie – adopted as a puppy from the ScPA

In March this year, we had to say a tearful goodbye to Molly as age caught up to her and she was in pain.  Of course, we knew how hard it would be to say goodbye, but we grossly underestimated the pain and loss we would feel.  Our children were inconsolable and whilst we tried to be strong for them, in the evenings while they slept, we too cried tears of sadness.

yellow lab


We imagined that we’d wait a few years before adopting another furry friend, in fact I remember saying that I couldn’t go through that pain again so I was unsure I could ever have another dog.  However, as it happened, over a few weeks, we noticed that Rosie and Cookie were also suffering, they were so used to being three that they seemed lost and lonely.  We quickly realised it was the same for us.  We spoke for a long time and decided that the time had come to adopt another puppy.  We were happy to wait as long as needed.  In fact, we didn’t need to.  As soon as I messaged the ever helpful Darcey, and mentioned Gary also loves Alsatians, and that we were more than happy to have a cross again, she sent a photo of Frisbee.  She was 6 months old and it was love at first sight.

Frisbee, adopted from the ScPA

We were in Holland on holiday but we had to meet her asap, so after a ridiculously long drive, we turned up at the SPA with the kids.  We were a bit naughty , we told them Darcey needed our help walking a few dogs (as we’d done this before) so she gave us Frisbee and sent us off into the fields.  Patrick and Aimée were taken with her straight away.  Frisbee was kind and gentle, but very shy and looked like she needed a good dinner!  She was nervous, but walked beautifully with us.  She seemed particularly nervous of Gary and if we moved our hands too fast, she backed away and went low.  She didn’t show any signs of aggression so at only 6 months, we decided that we could show her she could trust humans.  The kids were ecstatic when we said we’d adopt her.

Aimée and Patrick with their beloved Frisbee 

After Frisbee was sterilised, she came home with us to recover and from the start, created a firm bond with Cookie, running around our garden, wagging and play fighting.  The relationship with Rosie took longer as she’s so damn grumpy!  But I’m pleased to say they’re now good friends.

After a couple of weeks with hugs and fusses, Frisbee grew in confidence.  She looks at us adoringly and quickly grew to love us all (although she’s a Daddy’s girl!)

I teach children aged 5-16 on Wednesdays and adults all week.  I really wanted to socialise Frisbee more and as her trust in us grew, so did my trust in her.  I let her meet all my adult students and she rose to the challenge, sitting in front of every new person allowing them to fuss her freely – whilst trying to sneak in the occasional lick!  I then moved on to introducing to her to my younger students in groups of 8.  Some of them are scared of dogs, especially bigger ones.  For these kids, I assured them if they stood over the other side of the classroom, I wouldn’t allow her near them but those who wanted to fuss her could do this one at a time, sat down.  Frisbee was simply amazing, she sat in front of each child individually, nuzzling their hands gently and calmly.  It’s like she could sense some of them were nervous so she was as calm as possible.  It was a beautiful sight to behold and pretty unbelievable for a 7 month old puppy!  Now I only have one child who remains terrified of dogs, the rest have fallen in love with Frisbee and happily fuss her every week.

Happy dogs mean a happy family!

The whole experience of adopting has been wonderful for us, and although we still miss Molly incredibly, Frisbee has helped to heal our broken hearts.  Dogs are with us for a short time, but the memories they bring us make the pain worthwhile.  We’ll continue to adopt as we lose our furry babies, and in the meantime, try to help the SPA when and where we can in their mission. Their advice and help has been invaluable to our family and we’d encourage anyone to contact them to find their perfect animal member of the family.



Goldy is adopted and Huguette finds a foster.

Good news from the ScPA tonight. First off Tuesday’s beautiful cairn terrier arrival, Bonnie (in real life Canelle), was reclaimed. She arrived unidentified, except according to her owner this was not the case. This time it was not a case of a microchip having moved or becoming de-activated. Canelle was actually tattooed as a puppy. Except that the skin on her inner thigh is black and so is tattoo ink. Oops. It is worth thinking about whether or not your dog’s identification will do its job, ie reunite you with your dog should he or she go missing. In this instance Canelle and her owners were lucky that the person who found this wonderful pedigree brought her into the refuge, otherwise she could have been lost to them forever.

We then had the first of our leavers. Prue and her daughter were looking for a companion for their dog, and Goldy caught their eye. This young malinois has been at the refuge since the end of March. We are not sure of her past, but she has a deformed jaw, presumably due to having had a bit of a wack when she was a puppy. Just as well she came to the ScPA, then.

Since she has been with us she has been the adored favourite of volunteers Catherine and particularly her daughter Amelia. They have walked Goldy religiously and done a huge amount to aid her confidence in people. They were unable to adopt her, however, as Goldy is not at all good with cats. However we all agree that if you can’t adopt a dog yourself, the next best thing is that he or she finds a wonderful home, and that is what Goldy now has. We look forward to news and photos.


Today’s second leaver is one we are particularly happy about. At the ScPA on Tuesday we were a bit worried about Huguette. This elderly hunt-type dog arrived in early June, apparently with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She had obviously had numerous litters and is not in the best physical shape. She was also covered in ticks and fleas and just seemed exhausted. She was finding refuge life hot and uncomfortable and was not eating well. It was sad to see her just hiding away and refusing to go even for short walks.

So we put out a quick appeal, and immediately Lesley got in touch to ask if she could come to visit Huguette with a view to taking her into long term foster. Everything was crossed when Huguette went to meet the cats yesterday (many thanks to the staff for their help), and then today when Lesley and her husband came to introduce Huguette to their own dog, Pam.

Who would have thought a mere 48 hours ago that Huguette would now be lying under a shady tree, free to roam around the couple’s huge garden and with everything an elderly dog could desire for what we hope is a long and happy retirement. Many thanks to Lesley and her husband. I know several people who will sleep better tonight knowing that Huguette, (aka Sam) is with you.

Huguette on her journey home


Adoption of Ninja and Angelo

Today, after a couple of days’ hiatus, we had two adoptions!

First to leave was Ninja. This wonderful malinois cross was brought to the refuge as a stray in April. Unlike many dogs of this breed, Ninja was relatively uncomplicated. He shared his box from virtually day one, and was very popular with staff and volunteers alike. He is a young dog, arriving at the age of some 18 months, and so he has his whole life in front of him.

However with nigh on 100 dogs at the refuge (yes, numbers are picking up now that summer is approaching), how to choose? Well, Ninja’s new family have reflected long and hard before adopting him. They have been along to the SPA on several occasions to walk him and to introduce him to all the family members including, today, their dog.

Ninja was good as gold, and tonight he is in his new home. Many thanks to his new owners and we look forward to news and photos in due course.

malinois cross


Today’s second adoption was that of puppy Angelo. Yes, there have been many puppy arrivals recently, and so we are delighted that at least one of them has found a home so soon. Angelo’s new family was looking for a young, active dog and to be honest, you can’t go wrong with a puppy, especially one that appears to have some Breton spaniel in the mix.

black and white spaniel puppy

Angelo – ADOPTED

But who knows, perhaps looks can be deceptive…Yes, we have the results back of the DNA test that we carried out on puppy Spice! Watch this space, all will be revealed!

Fun at Chateau Miaou

A quick blog tonight as we are all exhausted from a fun day at Chateau Miaou. It was an early-ish start, as there were books to put on display as well as clothes to hang up, bric-a-brac to put out and sausages to cook. Yes, it was a real team effort, and the first customers arrived before the official opening time of 11H00.

From then till 15H00 there was a steady stream of people arriving, some with dogs, some with kids, and some just to eat a sausage baguette in the sun with a cup of tea or coffee or in some cases (whistles innocently) a small glass of wine or beer.

Shopping and browsing at Chateau Miaou

Many many thanks to our hosts Sharon and Willie, plus everyone who ran the stalls: Sabine and Karen, Chrissie and Janice, Jane and Moira. Plus of course Mister Saucisse, who did everyone proud with his magnificent bangers. We haven’t added up all the small change yet, but the event raised over €600, which is a fabulous total. There were also many donations in the form of items for the refuge; cat transport cases and a scratching post, dog crates, blankets etc. So no one forgot the reason why we were all there; to help improve the lives of the animals at the ScPA..

Thanks to everyone who came along, and if you missed out on today’s fun, don’t worry, we are already planning our next event for later this summer!

kids with a dog

We had visits from many dogs, including Frisbee, who was adopted in April

And Lascar is back

Yesterday we were delighted to tell you about the arrival and immediate departure of husky Lasco. Well believe it or not, today he is back. Usually our rule is no adoptions = no blog, and we certainly don’t enjoy passing on bad news. Unless there are lessons to be learned, that is. Which is why we are blogging tonight.

Yes, Lascar is perfect. He is as his owner told us; fine with other dogs, and fine with cats. And we know from the one night he spent out of the refuge that he is housetrained and affectionate. The one thing that was not factored in by the couple who adopted him yesterday was that their cat is not at all used to dogs.

Lascar was presented to the cat; the cat screamed and tried to attack. Lascar did nothing at all, but the cat refused to settle down. The cat is young, well less than a year, and with time and patience would have learned to accept Lascar. But for that to happen, the family have to be willing to put in some effort, and this is what was lacking. So Lascar has been abandoned twice in the space of two days.


Lascar is back.

Please don’t repond to this blog by making insulting comments about the people. That wastes energy and gets us nowhere. I can guarantee that they won’t be reading this, and we all know how we feel. The lesson here is rather to be sure that all members of a family are willing to give animals enough time to settle, and not give up at the slightest hint of trouble. Many people set a timeframe by which they expect a new animal to settle, and 6 months to a year is not uncommon. Often it doesn’t take this long, but it is better to be prepared for the long haul, rather than be disappointed if it takes longer than a week or so.

Another takeaway from this blog is that we have a wonderful husky at the refuge, who is fine with other dogs and cats and is just three years old. And perhaps better still, although Lascar looks like a real husky, we are told that his mum was a labrador, so he will be even more perfect than a purebreed.

The other reason for the blog is to remind you once again of tomorrow’s function at Chateau Miaou in Castelnaudary. Come and see us and have some fun with the fund-raisers! And yes, the weather forecast is GOOD!

Adoptions of Lascar and Candy

Well, we didn’t have as long as last week for our second adoptions but not far off. Things really are slow at the moment, but two adoptions today makes it a bit better than last week, so far, at least.

First to leave was a dog whom none of you will know. He hadn’t spent a single night at the ScPA before finding a new home. Yes, Lascar is a very lucky dog. He was brought in by his owner for rehoming today, and as luck would have it, there was someone at the refuge looking for a husky. This gentleman had actually come to meet Texas, but he has a cat, and Texas is really not at all good with cats (he blotted his copy book again big time today in the cat house). Lascar, however is fine with cats, so no sooner had he arrived than he was off again!

This shows once again that dogs who are brought in by their owners have a far higher chance of being re-adopted quickly than dogs who are just dumped. Not only did Lascar not have to wait for ten days in the pound (in case his owner was looking for him), but his owner was able to tell us all about him.

Lascar – ADOPTED

Today’s second leaver was Candy. She arrived last week along with her two pups, Sugar and Spice, who are currently the subject of a DRC “guess the breed” competition. Yesterday a family came looking for a small lively dog, and Candy was just perfect. Although quite nervous when she arrived, this little pinscher soon gained in confidence, especially when she no longer had her pups to defend. They, too, are much less nervous and will surely find homes very soon, too.

mid brown pinscher


So another week is nearly over, with just one more day to make up for the dearth of adoptions so far. Of course Sunday’s Yard Sale at Chateau Miaou will raise morale whatever happens, but it would be nice to have some more happy dogs before the week is out, too.