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Author Archives: Jane Hartley

Urgent Appeal: Princess


Why is Princess this week’s urgent appeal? Has she been at the SPA for a long time? No. Is she sad and old? No again. The reason is simple. Princess is just a lovely lovely dog who deserves a home. Yes, the same can be said of all the dogs at the SPA (or nearly!), but there is something about Princess that just touches our hearts.

She arrived identified and with an owner who said he would collect her the following day. Except he never came. Moreover the same owner had previously failed to collect another of his dogs (presumably Princess’s predecessor), so he appears to be someone who loses interest in dogs very quickly.

Being a big girl, Princess has trouble attracting a new owner. In general small dogs go far more quickly. However anyone taking the trouble to meet her would agree that Princess is far easier than many small dogs.

She does not pull on the lead, she knows basic commands and she is incredibly affectionate. Moreover she is good with other dogs and cats. Perfect.

Princess was born in May 2015 and so has her whole life ahead of her. She has already been at the SPA for four months. Let’s get her out of there and into the loving home before she wastes any more time behind bars.



Urgent Appeal: Flash and Poppy


Poppy border collie crossI am not suggesting that these two dogs be homed together, but as they are brother and sister, it was hard to choose which one should be highlighted in this urgent appeal.

Flash and Poppy were found when they were five months old, which is not an ideal age to arrive at the SPA. The cuteness of being a puppy has gone, and in the case of these two, their lack of socialisation at an early age means that they are quite timid and nervous.

At the moment taking them for a walk is quite a challenge, as although once they are in forward motion all is well, they both have a habit of going on strike and just refusing to budge. Lots of encouragement and biscuits are required to get them moving again. Having said that, they have only had a couple of walks, so it is early days.

And we must point out that neither of them shows any aggression at all; they wait passively as you lift them up and carry them a few paces.

We think that the dogs are border collie crosses, but Flash is quite a stocky boy, and Poppy has slightly wiry fur. They were born in mid-October 2015 and are vaccinated, sterilised and identified. Gentle, patient homes required, possibly with another resident dog.
Flash border collie cross

Urgent Appeal: Looky

lookyOkay, a deaf dog might not be everyone’s dream. But on the other hand why not? Border collies are famously bright, and at one year old, Looky has his whole life ahead of him. Sadly until now he has had no training or socialisation at all; from the age of three months to one year he was tied up on a tiny balcony. We doubt that his owners even realised that he was deaf, he was just a dog that was unwanted.

Looky was born in late February 2015. He has bright blue eyes and is a stunning lad. He will need an experienced and training minded family with a lot of patience. He is lucky enough to have a sponsor, who walks him regularly, and already he is making enormous progress; he is affectionate and has the border collie’s desire to both learn and please his master.

Looky is castrated, microchipped and vaccinated and is ready for his new life.


dingo2Monty, or Dingo as he was known was not my choice. I had contacted the refuge to offer a home to a poor little mite who had his toes cut off and was found wandering and abandoned. Fortunately this particular dog had already been re-homed which was fantastic news. However, it was suggested that I might like to take Dingo and give him a chance as he had nothing going for him, he is black, scruffy and very badly put together, the sort of dog that would never grab the attention of the viewer, but the main downside was that he was reported to be a biter. This was not good news so I asked if I could think about it as I have three other rescues and needed to think of them. I rang the following morning to turn down the offer. Moira and I then chatted for some time and eventually I said that I would give him a try, after all the only thing I had to lose was a few fingers!!!!! Dingo had a lot more at stake. We met the van that delivered him at the airport in Limoges and this scruffy ugly bundle fell out at my feet and he was twice the size that I had imagined. The small crate which we had brought with us to make the journey easier was immediately put in the boot and we set off for home. Monty has now been with us for six months and is the most loving and cuddly dog on the planet. It took him a while to stop cowering and we left him to do as he pleased and to get the measure of us all. Every morning when Peter lets him out of the kitchen he dashes up to the bedroom and dives under the covers where we have cuddles and all the dogs snuggle down till I have had my tea. The lesson here is don’t listen to others tales, God knows what he had been subject to that made him bite but he has never shown aggression to any of us and does everything that the Chihuahua tells him (big softie). I am so glad that we decided to give him a try and as we sit here on the sofa together watching TV it seems that he is happy in his new ‘forever home’ .





trixie2The little dog here is Trixie, she was found by the Carcassonne SPA wandering around the streets last summer. We had just lost our little 16 year old terrier and we felt Phoenix our 12 year old red setter was missing her. We live half the year in France and half in Northern Ireland so we contacted several SPAs near us and then in Carcassonne. When we first saw Trixie it was love at first sight and Phoenix tolerated her! They are best friends now and sleep together in the kitchen, but it took time. Our cat Billy was also a little anxious but now they respect each other although I dont think they will ever be best friends! We are now in Northern Ireland and Trixie loves her daily walks, there is a big garden to play in with Phoenix and we really think it has helped Phoenix. Trixie was a little sore in one hip and the vet thinks she may have been hit by a car while she was on the street but is fine now… she loves everyone and everyone loves her, she is so affectionate, a wonderful friend, very athletic and full of energy. We reckon she is about a year and a half and has just lost her grey streak of puppy hair. She still sometimes pees when she is excited but this is becoming rare. I cannot imagine our home without her. for only a few hours when it’s not possible to take him with us. But, he is very calm when he is alone at home!





Urgent Appeal: Rosie

RosieRosie was one of the dogs who was included in our “oldies” urgent appeal a few weeks ago. The other oldies were adopted, but Rosie is still with us, and as she was the oldest of the oldies, this is just not fair.

Rosie was identified when she was three months old, so yes, she is 13. However it seems clear that she has been well looked after all her life, so she is in great health. She behaves like a much younger dog, adored her walks (and loves to run) and jumps around with happiness when she sees people she knows. In a very ladylike manner, of course!

Rosie is very dark brown and is a shepherd lab cross. She has a short, stumpy tail (we don’t know why, obviously). She is not good with cats, but is fine with some dogs.

As she is a senior, her adoption fees are just €80. But even this amount has been paid by well-wishers, so there are no adoption fees.

All we want for Rosie is a lovely place for her to spend her remaining time. And this could well be much longer than you think. If you are in the Carcassonne area, we would be happy for Rosie to go to a long term foster home, meaning that you will not even have any vets bills to worry about. Not that Rosie has any ongoing treatment, but we know that this is one thing that can put people off adopting an older dog.

Rosie is wonderful to walk, she is incredibly gentle on the lead and is fine with children. Please don’t let her finish her days at the SPA.

Urgent Appeal: Yuki

Youcky Yuki has been at the SPA since February 2013, and I remember well the day of his arrival. He had been placed in the external box by the SPA gates, presumably by his owner. The poor boy was absolutely terrified, and this manifest itself in what appeared to be aggressive barking. Once in his box, however, he started to calm down, and pretty soon we were able to see what a nice boy he is.

Initially he was extremely strong on the lead, and walking him was quite difficult. This reputation has remained, although his regular walker, SPA volunteer Karen, assures me that he has made enormous progress. In fact seeing them out on a walk this week it was obvious that he has calmed down a lot. Not surprising really, as Yuki has now been at the SPA for two whole years!

He is not good with other dogs, sadly, so will need to be homed alone. Yuki was born in December 2011, so has just turned four years old. And half of that time has been behind bars.

Who can give this boy a lovely home?


Todd Life after the refugeHello SPA & DRC-followers,

As promised, we are sending you our “life after the refuge” story about our big love Todd.

Todd has been living for more than 3 years at the DRC before he left for Animal Trust in Melle, Belgium, where he has been living for 7 months.

I met him a few days after his arrival at Animal Trust in October 2014. He became my favorite walking buddy and I walked with him every weekend. After a few months, he also joined our family on some trips to the sea and other places to walk.

When Eline and Kevin told us (beginning of may 2015) that Todd’s chances to be adopted were very low, and that he probably would return to the SPA, because of his negative behavior towards other people, our heart really broke…. We talked about adopting him at home. Both of us, Jan & me and the three boys, decided that we would adopt Todd.

After preparing our house to his arrival, Todd arrived at this new and final home on 29.05.2015.

Although we always were convinced that we would never have a dog (we are real cat freaks, we have 11 cats), Todd certainly made the difference…. We are very glad that Todd has chosen us to be his friends.

After 8 months, we can confirm that we didn’t regret the adoption of Todd for a minute!

He has changed a lot during those months living at our house, although we don’t have any experience having and educating a dog.

He loves his different daily walks. He almost joins us everywhere, which he loves very much. He looks sooooooo sad when he has to stay at home for only a few hours when it’s not possible to take him with us. But, he is very calm when he is alone at home!

In December, we had our fist holiday together with Todd. We rented a holiday house in the Netherlands, at the sea side, Todd’s favorite place! It just was a great holiday for all of us.

He doesn’t like the taste of sea water, but every time he tries it again. He is running around on the beach and jumping like a puppy, so nice to see. He even sometimes goes into the water!

During the last weeks, he is getting more and more social towards other dogs. We didn’t really expect him ever to do so… He even has already been playing with some other dogs!

The last months, weeks, he also started to understand the concept of playing!! He likes playing with a tennis ball and even already understands that he has to bring back the ball to us to throw it again.

Brushing Todd still is a project to continue, but he is taking big steps. We already even (sometimes) are able to brush at his back, side, tail,…!!! Only 2/3 brushes at 1 time before growling, but this really is a very big step for him!! We are so very proud of our boy !!!

We have the experience that Todd is a very smart dog, he learns very fast and his memory is amazing! Probably his large memory capacity also is the reason he still remembers negative things out of his life before the refuge.

Although we are trying to learn Todd things, we all accept him as he is, he loves all the five of us and we love him a lot!!!!!

  Todd Life after the refuge




Urgent Appeal: Autumn

Automne griffon crossAutumn is one of those dogs that can break your heart. She is a griffon nivernais, which is a breed often used for hunting in France, but which make fabulous pets. Autumn in typical of the kind of dog we get at the SPA; basically failed hunters. This girl is scared of her own shadow and during her four years on this earth, seems to have seen nothing. When she first arrived, Autumn shared her kennel with a very young, very bouncy dog. She was a bit overwhelmed and hid at the back of the kennel. Since moving to share with a much bigger, steadier dog she has settled down well, and enjoys watching the world go by. She plays like a puppy when she sees a tennis ball, which is very endearing. However she hates being on a lead and spins round in panic. Autumn is looking for a kind, patient owner with a well-enclosed garden. She would benefit from having another dog to learn from, but this is not essential. She was born in November 2011, is vaccinated, identified and sterilised. Her adoption fee is €170.

Adopting a tripawd dog

 A few months ago I received a call from SPA Carcassonne. They had taken in a tiny Podenca girl who had a very bad injury to one of her back legs as a result of being shot – accidentally or on purpose we will never know … Little girl couldn’t tell us what happened!
As a result of her ” accident” she had to have her leg amputated , which, although traumatic meant that this wee lass would be a tripawd but would survive!
She recovered very well and thrived under the supervision of the vet and being hand fed chicken !
After much discussion it was decided she would come to live with my gang of Galgas and Podencos as a foster in order to build her confidence and find her a forever home !
We arranged to collect her from a meeting point halfway between Carcassonne and Poitiers on 18th June last year.
What I saw when she arrived shocked and surprised me …. She was so tiny… 5.5kgs.
She looked terrified as I picked her up and cuddled her …I knew then she would never be adopted by anyone other than me!
We decided to call her Daisy and she flourished like a flower does when fed and watered. The first few weeks were busy making sure she didn’t get injured by my ruffians, I needn’t have worried , they were all aware she was delicate and respected she needed special attention and also hand feeding her … Did she milk that one !!!!
Posing like a diva waiting for me to make sure she ate.
One morning I heard a very pathetic yelp and discovered Daisy had a voice .. That voice has got louder and is now a full blown Podenco bark.
Daisy progressed extremely well – house training was slow but she soon realized that indoors was not acceptable.
She came with us to visit friends to socialize her in preparation for re-homing ?
We took her on walks with our gang which tired her quite quickly but she gained a lot of strength and built up muscle in her back leg.
On a walk one day we took the plunge and allowed her freedom to run off lead with the other dogs … Quelle surprise!! She ran as fast , if not faster than a couple of my Galgas and enjoyed exploring the fields … Typical Podenco , nose to the ground sniffing everything in sight… But she has excellent recall …
She amazes us with her energy levels and we laugh so much every day at her antics…she takes a running flying leap to get into sofas and beds, forgets she’s missing a leg and dashes in when called and goes sliding across the tiles because she’s taken a corner too quickly!
You may have guessed .. She became a fully fledged member of our family … We just could not imagine letting her go… She has made us laugh everyday .. She’s a delight to have around.. Noisy, funny cheeky Daisy …
7 months on she now weighs 8 kg… Loves her food … So comical watching her trying to balance on her one leg to reach her dinner as it’s being prepared.
She is best friends with my little male Podenco Ocaso and has lots of play fighting with Mona my Galga , who till Daisy arrived was the baby!
Adopt a tripawd – yes- they don’t know they are different and special ..Thank you so much SPA Carcassonne for letting Daisy come into our lives !!!