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Author Archives: Darcey Dyson

Zoom zooms!

Today saw the adoption of Zoom, a “not quite puppy” who has been with us since the end of May. The way he was chosen was quite unusual, but I quite like it. Whether for logistical reasons or not, the couple wishing to adopt came to the refuge separately. Quite often a whole family comes together, which is fine. It is maybe best if everyone can be involved in what is obviously a very important choice. However there are other ways to do this than to all show up together. One way is to pre-select according to pictures on Facebook or other sites. But in this case, monsieur came first and picked out the dogs he liked, then a couple of days later along came madame, and they compared notes to see if there was a match!

Little Zoom was on both their lists, and so today off he went, after a quick trip to the vet. And we are not just talking identification here!

Thanks to Philippe for taking iDick back to his refuge of origin. Not as nice as an adoption, but probably better than spending his days watching tennis matches in Conques and not knowing where his next meal was coming from.

I almost forgot, but tomorrow is a public holiday in France. Some dates are second nature to just about everyone, regardless of religion (New Year being one example); but as Assumption day is not celebrated in the UK, it is easy for us to forget. The SPA will be closed, although I wouldn’t be too surprised if a couple of volunteers pop in to play with some dogs and cats. It is hard to keep away.

Whatever you choose to do with your day, hope you have a lovely time.


black and tan puppy happy in the arms of a SPA employee

Beautiful day for Balik and two of his pals!

We had a huge amount of rain overnight but the sun shone all afternoon, till about 17H00 when it started hammering down again. Still, while it was clear but a bit cooler than recently, the team of walkers got on with exercising as many dogs as possible.

Meanwhile adoptions were happening! First to leave was little Circee. She had been brought in recently with two young pups, who are in foster. A pretty girl with a gentle nature, she was chosen very quickly. We are so pleased for her, as sometimes dogs like this have a long wait, as they can pass unnoticed in the noise of a refuge.

Then came what was for me the adoption of the day, if not the month, and one which will give hope to many of our dogs. Balik arrived almost exactly one year ago aged eight, and was diagnosed with a heart murmur soon afterwards. This means medication for life, and although this is not expensive, it takes a special person to take on such a dog. But today Balik was lucky. Really lucky!

A lady was recommended by her vet to come to the SPA. She phoned up to ask if we had any boxers, and Carole lured her in with the promise of boxer crosses (which we have!) At the SPA Moira discovered that as well as loving boxers, the lady has a love of spaniels. And after touring the SPA, it was clear that Balik was the one for her! We explained about his medication; no problem at all! And just look at the smile on his face as he leaves!

Employees and volunteers all had smiles to match, I have to say.

Third to leave was Panda, who is to be renamed Watson. He hasn’t been with us very long at all, and he is a stunning young dog. Photos of him in his new home will doubtless follow, as his new mum is friends of Carole.

Most of us arrived home a bit damp but happy after a pretty enjoyable and successful day, to enjoy the storms from the comfort of our own homes!

Circee – ADOPTED

Black and white dog with new owner. Smiles!











Lady and dog both smiling









Panda (renamed Watson) – ADOPTED





Oh, la Vache!

Yesterday evening after the refuge closed another dog left. Co-voit queen Dominique managed to find her way out of a field full of cows in Chalabre (don’t ask!) and returned the malinois, Idaho, from the SPA to her refuge of origin. Many thanks to her. And another SPA came to collect “their” dog, Cassie, today, too. Just iDick to go, now, and that is scheduled for Friday.

Just as we collected “our” Gypsy from a local SPA, so each SPA is responsible for its dogs for life. Which is why on a dog’s identification papers, Carole makes sure that, as well as the dog’s name, the words “SPA Carcassonne” also appear. That way no dog can fall through the cracks and will always have a place of sanctuary with us should things go wrong. Lovely though it would be, the fact remains that we simply cannot keep everyone else’s dogs as well as deal with all the unwanted / mistreated dogs in our own area. If by chance they are chosen while they are with us (and their home refuge agrees), then we let them be adopted. And this, as well as trying to find their real owners, is why they each have their own Facebook album.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the SPA appeal for a glucose testing gadget for Scotch, the diabetic dog who has become the refuge’s mascot. His fits are becoming increasingly frequent, and having the ability to test his blood levels without having to take him to the vet (when stress is one of the things he should avoid) will make a huge difference to his life. Whoever thought that a simple Facebook appeal would result in so many offers! You guys are wonderful, and it makes us realise that even if you are unable to adopt, you are still there for us and our animals.

Little Lenzo left for his new home today, and we had a couple of reservations too, so not a bad day.

Idaho goes back to “her” SPA

Pale brown dog with black muzzle.











Cassie goes “home” too

German shepherd cross looking out of her kennel










Scotch now has his own blood sugar tester, thanks to a Facebook appeal.

Very happy looking dog with his toy. Dog is diabetic. Sad.












Young black and tan spaniel cross looking happy




Adoption of Orion

Many people (nearly 2,000, in fact) followed the post on the SPA Carcassonne Facebook page yesterday of the dog, Max, who went missing from his home and was found thanks to Facebook and the help of the inhabitants of Montolieu. From what I gather, they tracked Max down and helped reunite him with his owners. Fabulous solidarity! We wrote to Max’s owners to suggest that Max should now be identified, and this was his reply, which made us so happy:
“We will get it done tomorrow morning. We were really scared and we hadn’t appreciated the importance of the microchipped. This has taught us a lesson. Many thanks to you all; you were wonderful”.

There you go, from the horse’s mouth!

Someone who didn’t have to learn this lesson was the owner of the 12 year old yellow lab, who came to collect his identified dog today.

And despite a second arrival, that of a lovely curly coated medium size dog who was “found” (and I use the quotation marks advisedly) and brought into the refuge, the day was positive, as we had an adoption. Little Orion had caught the eye of several people, including a family who wanted a small young dog and who have toured the SPA regularly in their hunt. They had great timing, as they spotted Orion (now Omega) just as his pound time ended and they collected him today, following his castration.

We knew he wouldn’t be with us for long; dogs of this size and age seldom are.

Apart from that it was very hot, so thanks to the Scrubbers, who were hard at work yet again!

Max- found thanks to mobilisation in Montolieu!

big black labrador cross sitting happily with his owner.








Orion (now Omega) – ADOPTED
small white fluffy dog, adopted today!

Chipie is reclaimed and Sanka visits.

As expected, Chipie was reclaimed by her owner today and is now identified. So that worked out fine, despite this little girl’s two nights at the SPA. And in response to people’s comments, yes, even though identification is the law, and we encourage it unreservedly, a collar with a phone number on it can reunite dog and owner. No need to go to a vet, either. My dogs have both forms of identification, just to be sure.

Today we had a visit from Sanka, who used to be called Blaise. I was really sorry to have missed this, as he was a great dog when he was with us, but is even better now. Despite our inability to find him a kennel mate whom he liked whilst at the SPA us, he now lives in harmony with another dog. It is hard for dogs to share what is a relatively small space at the refuge, so finding someone who is confident of their ability to mix dogs is wonderful.

Despite our best efforts, it is hard not to label dogs. But, like people, they change over time. I wonder how many dogs are no longer “runners”, as they were when they arrived, for instance.

The picture below is not of Sanka, but of Canaille. He, too, was thought to be not good with other dogs. However Animal Trust, who took charge of him a couple of years ago, found him to be quite mixable, as did his new owners. Canaille now has his own Facebook page, together with his (female) chum Boemer. They visited us in summer, and I missed that too. Grrr!

You can follow their adventures here
https://www.facebook.com/boemerencanaille?fref=ts or at least look at the pictures if, like me, you don’t speak Flemish!

On the not so good news front, two more puppies arrived. We will try and get photos of them tomorrow. It is incredibly discouraging to have puppies arrive like this.  They didn’t choose to be born and they certainly did not choose to spend the first weeks of their life in a noisy, stressful refuge.

Chipie – Reclaimed

Small fluffy dog sitting on desk

Canaille (behind) with his pal Boemer. 

two dogs lying nose to nose






An upcoming event, and please “like” us!

It looks as if yesterday’s late arrival, “Pouchi” may have found her owner. That is great news, but of course it is a shame that she wasn’t already identified . Had this been the case Chipie (for such is her real name) could have gone straight home, especially as her owner was looking for her!  And today’s being Sunday means two nights at the SPA for this little girl.

How many times do we have to say it; if your dog is identified and your details are up to date on the database, a vet or anyone with a chip reader will be able to reunite you with your dog. Just get it done!

Today being Sunday there is no other SPA news. However we do have a date for your diaries.

On August 23rd DRC will be taking part in a day of solidarity with some other small associations, notably a donkey sanctuary (who are hosting the event in Caunes  Minervois), and the Caunes Felines cat rescue association. There will be books, bric-a-brac, donkey rides, cakes and even a juggling display. The goal of the day is to raise funds (and remember that all money raised by DRC goes to benefit the SPA Carcassonne, usually for castrations and for transporting dogs to their new homes), but also to raise awareness of some of the amazing work that is being carried out to protect our environment and the animals with whom we share it.

Come along and join us for what will be a fun day!

Oh, and the Dog Rescue Carcassonne Facebook page is just 8 “likes” away from reaching its next target of 500 fans. That may not sound like a huge following, but it means a lot to us, so if you haven’t liked us yet, please do so and boost our morale!

All you have to do is click here and like us! Go go GO!!!


Please spread the word about this event!

advertisement for fundraiser.

Comings and Goings!

There is an SPA Board meeting tonight, so an early blog is required.

The afternoon started off with good news. The dog I mentioned yesterday who was due to arrive from the vet was collected by his owners without his having to spend any time at the SPA. He was identified, which meant that they could be contacted easily. All those of you with unidentified dogs take note!

More good news: Earlier in the week a dog arrived at the SPA having been found attached to the entrance of a quarry. We could imagine two possible scenarios; either the owner wanted to get rid of the dog (who wasn’t identified), or someone was not happy with being followed home by a dog. Well, we now know that her owners were not trying to “lose” her, as today they came to collect lovely Nala. Great!

Athos, a dog who had been adopted from a local refuge, was collected by his owner, too, which is wonderful news. All the more so because SPAs are obliged to take back any of “their” dogs who end up in refuges elsewhere. When everyone is overcrowded, as is the case at present, it is a bit of a dilemma. To what fate are we returning a dog? I don’t think anyone would have been volunteering to take Athos back!

And we had an adoption, too! Kamini arrived at the SPA at the end of June at the age of six months. If a dog’s parents are unknown, the official diagnosis of a dog’s breed cannot be made until the age of 8 months, but it was obvious that Kamini was going to be a category one dog. Aaaargh. Courses….paperwork! At the moment he is just a “cross breed”, but it was important that his new family understood what they were getting into.

Enter Moira who did a home check (everything was fine) and who explained the whole process. We are delighted that the dog has found a good home before being “categorised”. Once a dog is officially identified as a staffie (or staffie cross) then he can be homed only via associations, and we already have way too many dogs like this at the SPA, a couple of whom have been waiting for years. We are also delighted that this is a British couple, not for any other reason than we will be able to find out from them how easy (or not) it was, and will be able to advise other potential adopters accordingly! Moira will go to see them in September and get all the news!

On the not so good news front a fox terrier arrived with her puppy. But the day was more positive than negative.


lovely golden labrador reclaimed today













Spaniel cross Athos was reclaimed today









And Kamini (on the right)- ADOPTED (Look at how evil staffies are NOT!)

A lovely black and white dog kissing his kennel mate.


Adoption of Puppy Popeye, plus those pesky grass seeds!

The temperatures were in the mid-30s again today, so dog walking was out of the question.

We had some mixing of dogs to do due to yet more dogs arriving (two more today, and another one to be collected from the vets tomorrow) so the parks were in use. So the best thing to do was to wash dogs!

Our team of volunteer scrubbers got to work, and several dogs had a lovely refreshing bath, including the DRC sponsor dog, Firmin.

Puppy Popeye (try saying that quickly) was adopted, but otherwise it was pretty quiet in terms of visitors, although we did have a reservation and a new volunteer to join the team!

One aspect of hot weather that effects anyone walking their dogs in the countryside are the dreaded grass seeds (“epillets” in French). Usually this problem is less prevalent, but after many weeks of drought, the problem is worse than ever. I am one of many dog owners who is used to making emergency trips to the vet in order to have grass seeds removed from an ear or nostril (the dogs’, not mine!). I am conditioned to recognise the signs; head shaking and scratching at ears, or snorting and sneezing. But less noticeable are the grass seeds that get lodged between a dog’s “toes”.

Of my four dogs, one is particularly susceptible to this, and I have to remember to check her feet regularly. Once you know what you are looking for it is easy. The fur goes into a clump, which usually disguises a seed on its way in to create mischief. Below you can see a photo of one I extracted today. If they are not removed (sometimes requiring tweezers), they can enter the skin, and as the seed are dart-like, the body is unable to reject them. Thus they work their way into the skin where they become infected. Not nice! They can enter the body just about anywhere, not just via paws, and if you want to avoid costly operations or worse, then please get in the habit of checking regularly.

Something else to worry about! So for all those of you living in less warm climates, don’t be too jealous; the extreme heat brings its own problems!

Firmin enjoys a bath

Big hound having a shower







One of today’s arrivals, Lenny

Big beautiful labrador just arrived.











Popeye – ADOPTED

Puppy behind bars. Adopted today











And the bane of my life, a grass seed in Bella’s paw


A Cool day for a Kiss(cool)

When Kisscool arrived in early July, we assumed that he was “just” another lost shepherd cross. He was not identified and so we had no way of tracing his owners, other than by posting his photo on as many websites as we could. Today his owners came to collect him; Kisscool had been found a long way from their home, and it never occurred to them that he would have made his way to the SPA Carcassonne.

This is why, although we are sometimes contacted by people from other areas who have found a dog and wish to bring him to us, it is always best for a dog to go to a refuge near to its home (which is more often than not near to where it is found). People tend to look in the obvious places first, and if a dog is “out of sector” it can take a lot longer to be found, as was the case with Kisscool.

Needless to say he was delighted to be reunited with his owners and he is now identified!

No other SPA news, but DRC did receive a lovely email from Jonathan, who adopted a dog from us three years ago today. Dog (for such is her name) has a life of which many dogs can only dream; he owner is a keen walker and nature lover and this beautiful girl spends almost all her time by his side enjoying the great outdoors. Jonathan says of her “still making me smile every day after three glorious years.

Can’t have a much better reason to have a dog than that, can you?

Kisscool – reclaimed after a whole month!

Kisscool, found after one month at the SPA!







And Dog – Making his owner smile every day for 3 years!

This dog, whose name is Dog, was adopted from us three years ago today.

Four adoptions but no resting on our laurels yet!

We had some adoptions today, believe it or not! Four in fact. Three puppies and one adult are in loving homes tonight.

First to leave was Chloe, who had been in foster with Alizée, Isa and then Val (yes, even volunteers go on holiday, and sometimes “puppy-juggling” is necessary). Thanks to all of them and their families, and of course Chloe’s NEW family. I am quite glad she has left, as the photos of her have been driving me crazy. Temptation! Funnily enough the hole left in Val’s household was immediately filled by the day’s new arrival, another puppy, as yet to be named. It just never ends…..

We often think that pups who are in foster are the lucky ones, but sometimes just by dint of being at the SPA, the puppies are seen by more people. Such was the case with Noah (now renamed Jax) and Pepsi. Both were adopted today by a mother and daughter who are very experienced dog owners, and who are, I think, going to be very good friends of the SPA.

Last to leave was fabulous Pinto. He had been adopted from us as a puppy and abandoned due to a change in family circumstances when he was about 18 months old. Six months later and this gorgeous boy has found a new home. We warned his new owner about Pinto’s newly found love of water, (discovered last week thanks to the new swimming pools) and so visits to the river are now on the agenda!

As promised, pictures of many of our new arrivals have been added to our Facebook page. What beautiful dogs they are; surely some of them must have owners trying to find them!

One of yesterday’s arrivals, a Chihuahua, was reclaimed before even making it to Facebook….she was identified and the fact that her toenails were painted was a good indication that someone loved her 😉

And today a beautiful Pyrenean Mountain dog was found by volunteer Mathilde, who stayed until she was sure that his owner was on his way. Many thanks to her.

So more dogs out than in, for a change, but numbers remain drastically high.  A few more days like today and perhaps we can take our hands away from the panic button!

Chloe- ADOPTED (sadly not by me)












Brothers Pepsi and Jax (ex Noah) – ADOPTED










And Pinto – ADOPTED











New arrival in foster with Val