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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Open Day and Donations

It was open day at the SPA today and the weather was fabulous. Sunny and incredibly warm for the time of year. A blessing for the dogs after the recent cold snap. There were no adoptions, but we had a fabulous donation from Dog Park 11. On November 11th they carried out a mass dog walk, and the “entry fees” collected were given to the SPA. Judging by the photos they had a great time and managed to raise over €200!

Enormous thanks to them for their support.

During this afternoon a dog arrived but was identified and his owner came to collect him immediately. What luck that this should happen on an open day, otherwise the dog would have had to spend a night at the SPA….

As well as the news from the refuge yesterday, there was also the collection of dog and cat food thanks to our friends at Jardiland. As ever the kindness of strangers knows no bounds.

So another busy weekend comes to an end and a new week begins. I wonder what this one will have in store!

Raising funds the Dog Park 11 way!
dogs and people having a stroll








Looks like fun

dogs playing








Even if it was a bit too far for some!

a chihuahua hitches a ride


Adoption of Cantata

Today saw the adoption of Cantata, who had been at the SPA since the beginning of October. She was a very joyful girl who luckily didn’t have long to wait before finding a home.

That was the only adoption of the day, but the last of the lab cross puppies was reserved, making that litter some kind of record breakers. It is hard to explain why they have been so popular; perhaps it is the proximity of Christmas. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course. Despite our pleas against puppies under the tree, if a family is committed to adopting a puppy, then doing so as a Christmas treat makes sense. And of course four of the border puppies are still at the SPA, but as borders do not have the relatively easy temperament of labradors, perhaps judgement is being exercised wisely.

Elsewhere a yorkie was found between two local villages and signalled on the Facebook page before being brought to the SPA. Amazingly he was not identified, but was clearly loved and well cared for, with a recent trip to the grooming salon still in evidence. Almost immediately a member of his human family recognised him and off he went back home. Identified of course. I still find it incredible that so many people risk losing what are clearly loved animals just by failing to have them identified. This is yet another dog who was lucky to have been found by an honest person; not everyone (not all animals) are as fortunate.

Day two of the open weekend tomorrow….

Cantata – ADOPTED
tricoloured dog wearing harness








And this little dog arrived and left (he is now identified)

Beautifully groomed dog

Dogs reclaimed and Capucine adopted.

Today was mostly good news. Firstly at least three dogs found their owners. One of them was little Jasper, the jack russell cross, who arrived a few days ago. He was a cute looking chap and we know that quite a few people were interested in him.  Another, MD, other had not appeared on this site, as he had only just arrived. Needless to say both dogs are now identified.

The third only arrived yesterday and as he was already identified, his owners were easy to contact. Moreover he had been declared as having been stolen on the central database in Paris, so the SPA employees were pretty sure that the owners would be happy to find their boy. He needs lots of TLC now, however, as wherever he has been for the past three weeks was obviously a food free zone. I have seen the pictures and that was distressing enough; sadly sights like this are all to frequent at the SPA, but never lose their ability to cause distress.

We had a lovely adoption today, that of Capucine, who had been brought back to the SPA for no fathomable reason. She was the perfect dog in every way, and now she has a chance to prove it once again.

We said yesterday that the new puppies would be popular, and we were not wrong. Although not ready to leave (the “Pound delay” is necessary, even when dogs are clearly not going to be collected by their owners), two of the litter are already reserved! Record breaking time.

We had another reservation as well, but as ever, patience is virtue!

With an open weekend coming up, we are hoping for more good news!

Capucine – ADOPTED
mid brown dog with toungue hanging out

More puppies

Yesterday the SPA shared a picture from an excellent association, Borderline Collie. The narrative explains that this is the perfect Christmas puppy for many people; no mess in the house, no veterinary fees, no need to go for walkies. In many ways we agree, however some people will have good reasons for adopting at this time of year and other people will not care what time of year it is; they want a puppy and know they can give it a good home!

If you are determined and committed to adopt a puppy then Christmas is as good a time as any! So why not consider adopting from a refuge, rather than adding to the profits of pet stores?

These three new arrivals, two boys and a girl, were born on October 1st, and are absolutely delightful. They are probably labrador crosses so will be medium to large when adult (yes, please don’t accidentally forget that they will get bigger, much bigger). And don’t forget the remaining pups from the BORDER litter; they would love a home for Christmas, as of course would all our dogs, regardless of age.

Another beautiful new arrival (though clearly not a puppy) is Furby. Assuming no one is looking for him, he will be available for adoption in 10 days, just like the pups. So if you have room and can offer one of these lovely dogs a home, now is a great time.

This is the perfect puppy for many people

a cuddly toy in a box












One of the new puppies, Lumper

pretty puppy with wrinkles








And beautiful new arrival, Furby

Beautiful black medium haired dog with white blaze

Two adoptions and Nude hits the jackpot

Many of you will have seen the SPA’s and DRC’s urgent appeal for an adopter or long term foster for Nude. This lovely girl arrived completely without hair due to leishmaniosis and everyone was worried about what the future held in store for her. She has been living indoors at the SPA, but as an active dog was not happy to have such a limited area to play in.

There was a decent response to the appeal and thanks to everyone who offered to help. Today Nude left for her new long term foster home. She really has hit the jackpot, as she has gone to live with someone she knows well and who knows her well, namely employee Isabelle.

Isa is a huge dog lover, and I am amazed that she has resisted temptation up till now. Maybe it was fate. In any case, we will have plenty of updates and we know that Nude will be very well cared for. Excellent news.

There were two other adoptions today. Billy left for his new home after arriving at the beginning of October, and Hallowe’en left after arriving about three weeks later. So that is one tiddler and one fairly big dog out.

Today’s three arrivals were all identified and two have already left. The nights are getting colder now, with minus temperatures in the mornings, so it is good to know that a couple of dogs are in the warm tonight. And as for Nude, she must think that Christmas has come early!

On the subject of Christmas, check out today’s calendar boy, Sam (ex Atlas). A black beauty if ever there was one!

Nude – gone to a long term foster
bald, puzzled looking dog











small terrier with its tongue out










Sam – Calendar boy

dog in Christmas themed photo frame


The Advent of Social Media

How many of you saw today’s news concerning a woman in North Carolina who has been charged with cruelty to animals after posting a picture on her Facebook page of her dog with its muzzle taped shut? She posted the photo on Friday, alongside a caption which read: “This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!!”

She took the post down, but too late. It had already gone viral and most people were demanding legal action against the owner. Despite the fact that she uses a pseudonym on Facebook, there was a man (or rather woman-) hunt, and she was tracked down.

As the dog was in good condition with no damage to its muzzle, he was not removed from its owner. However the animal cruelty complaint could result in a custodial sentence of 150 days and a fine.

The thing that struck me most about this story was the fact that the woman seriously thought that the dog had learnt its lesson. She posted to say “Don’t panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasn’t barked since … POINT MADE!!!”

It goes against everything good owners believe in, the main one being the importance of positive training. However, it also goes to prove that showing off on Facebook with something that you think is clever might not always have the reaction you desire. We salute the law enforcement officers who tracked this woman down over three states. Bet she had the fright of her life when they came knocking at her door! With any luck she has learned a lesson, and the ensuing publicity may make other people think twice before “punishing” animals in such a senseless manner.

We can but hope.

On the NICE side of social media, today is December 1st and hence day one of the DRC advent calendar. And what a fabulous way to start the ball rolling; Lily-Blue and Noosa, both ex SPA Carcassonne and both dearly loved. Great picture! If you would like to see your ex SPA pooch(es) featured, just send a photos to our Facebook page. No duct tape allowed! 😉

This was the photo that (quite rightly) caused a media storm.
Dog with muzzle taped shut








Our cover girls, Lily- Blue and Noosa

Two dogs wearing Christmas hats and tinsle

Calypso finds a home

Mondays vary greatly in terms of the number of arrivals at the SPA, and it is an unusual Monday when we have good news, but today is something of an exception.

Ignoring the arrivals for now, today we had the adoption of Calypso. She was brought in at the end of July and although she had owners, she was unidentified and they never came to collect her. She was a great favourite of volunteer Monique, who walked her on a regular basis, and I am sure both of them will be delighted this evening! As will be Calypso’s new owners, of course.

Sadly we had the return of Tara. She had been abandoned at the SPA Montpelier; this despite the fact that it is clearly stated on the adoption contract that any dog who is no longer wanted should be returned to the refuge of origin. Divorce was cited as a reason, but surely driving for an hour each way to do the right thing by the family pet should not be too much to ask. Apparently so, sadly…

Two more young dogs arrived; they are the brothers of the “Stars litter”, all of whom were homed earlier this year. These two were not as lucky, as they are now approaching six months old, and so have lost some of the initial puppy cute factor. Moreover their life up to now has not been easy. I bet they wish they had been brought in with their siblings way back in August. Let’s hope their luck changes now they are safe at the SPA. Let’s hope that their mother has since been sterilised (says she, cynically).

Things sometimes have to get worse before they can get better, though, as was the case for Calypso. Let’s hope the week is all uphill from here on.

Calypso – ADOPTED
Golden labrador










Tara  is back due to a divorce

Scruffy brown and black dog

An adoption and a reunion

Today saw the adoption of doberman Jason, which is excellent news. Dobermans, along with border collies and dalmatians, are a breed that does not cope well with refuge life (not that any dog exactly loves it), so we are always pleased when they do not have too long to wait. For Jason it took “just” two weeks. If our spies are right, his owners had been trying to give this young dog away for some time, and when they could not find a taker, they just dumped him. Yet ANOTHER unwanted puppy….sigh.

Today’s other departure was that of a shih tzu (identified) who had been stolen from his owners over three years ago and who was reunited with his owners. It was an emotional reunion, as you can imagine and should give hope to all those people who are searching for their lost dogs. Please try not to give up.

Two more lost souls arrived; one (a male) was found in Grazailles, and the second is an elderly lady. Let’s cross our fingers that someone is looking for them. You just never know. For instance after the publication of yesterday’s blog we learned that the female hunt type dog who had been found in La Redorte on Wednesday had been reunited with her owner before arriving at the SPA. This was thanks to Dionne, who went to visit her mairie, who in turn put up notices and even made a tannoy announcement. Okay, not all people who find dogs are this proactive, and not all mairies are this cooperative. And even if they are, not all stories end like this. But sometimes it is nice to hear of a dog finding its owner without coming to a refuge first. Admittedly had the dog come to the SPA we would know that she is now identified, but who knows, perhaps her owner has done this now he came so close to losing his dog….

Not everyone is as lucky as the owners of the shih tzu, as some of you are too painfully aware.


Big black and tan dog









Three adoptions and a smaller step back

When certain dogs arrive, we are pretty sure that they must have an owner. This was true of English cocker spaniel Fizz, who arrived already identified. But hold on; the phone number did not answer, and the owner lived a long way away from where the dog was found. When he was finally contacted, he informed us that he had given Fizz away, and did not know to whom. He added that he was willing to come and get the dog, who after all was still legally his.

But what is the point of that? He didn’t want the dog before, does not want him now, and is clearly not the most skilled at finding a suitable new owner! Much better for Fizz to find someone new; which today he did. At five years old it is time this boy had some stability.

The second adoption of the day was that of Bingo. This little lad arrived at the start of the month, and the vet estimated his date of birth as being the start of January. Yet another unwanted puppy, it would appear. Luckily Bingo did not have too long to wait, and today he left for his new home.

As did another one of the border puppies. This time it was the turn of Ralf, who was arguably the prettiest of the litter. Still luckily we all have different ideas of beauty, and many people prefer their borders with the more traditional colours.

A dog arrived and was reclaimed and today’s “step backwards” was smaller than yesterday’s. This little jack russell arrived. And as he is not identified, his owners have ten days to reclaim him (and pay for him to be identified). Either that or someone else is going to be very lucky!

By the standards of recent days, today was a good one.

golden brown cocker spaniel













Brown and black puppy












pale grey and white border collie pup











Today’s new arrival- Jasper

tricoloured jack russell

And now it is O for ORDER

Well the B.O.R.D.E.R litter became the O.R.D.E.R litter today with the adoption of the first pup, Betty. As she was too young to be sterilised, her new owners have left a cheque to ensure that this will be done when she reaches the age of six months. Being an unwanted pup herself, I am sure Betty would approve.

Second to leave was little Ghost. This little boy is only just out of puppyhood himself, and as you can probably guess, he arrived at the SPA at Hallowe’en. He was unidentified, however thanks to Facebook, this little yorkie cross’s  owner saw that his dog was at the SPA. After  initial assurances that he would come and collect him, everything went quiet. The legal limit the SPA has to keep dogs prior to allowing them to be adopted is 10 days, so they have been more than patient in this instance. Ghost left today for his new home, castrated and microchipped. Great news for him.

So that is two steps forward, but here is the (almost inevitable) one step backwards. Tomorrow we await the arrival of a lovely hunt type dog who was found in La Redorte this morning. A trip to the mairie and the vet brought no joy; the dog is not identified, nor is her owner looking for her as far as could be seen. So it will fall to the SPA to either find either her owner or a new home. However far better that than to be lost and alone as the cold weather takes hold.

I am sure a better life awaits this girl, just as it did both Betty and Ghost.

black and white puppy









scruffy small dog











This girl will arrive tomorrow

Long eared pale brown and white dog in basket