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Author Archives: Moira

Simba adopted and Sunday snippets!

Tonight we have an adoption and bits and bobs of news to catch up with.

Simba, a handsome one year old was adopted yesterday. Sometimes its easy to guess a dog breed but Simba we think is a real ‘mixed’ breed.  It would be very interesting to DNA test some of our dogs but of course our funds don’t run to that. If however you do want to know your dog’s heritage you can buy the kit from amazon and three weeks later you will have the results. Its very useful to know what breed traits your dog may have and could certainly help you understand some behaviours.

There have been quite a few comments on facebook about the arrival of Lego, a young husky cross. He certainly is a very handsome boy but I hope that prospective adopters will think about breed traits before offering him a home.

We have also had news and photos of Ollie ex Gadget who is settling in well with his two sisters. The arrival of a bouncy pup is a shock for any resident dogs and it takes time and management to make sure that this works out. Pups are dynamic and its very important to give older dogs a break from puppy.  We always recommend crate training pups as it means that you get a good night sleep, you don’t have a kitchen covered in wee to clean up in the morning and of course the other dogs are assured a peaceful night free from puppy madness.

The next bit of new is not so good. We heard from Evelyn at Doglinks that Scramble, the Brittany spaniel that she adopted from the SPA 6 or 7 years ago has died. When Scramble arrived at the SPA he was full of lead pellets and couldn’t walk. After lots of tlc he recovered and enjoyed life with his many doggy friends. RIP Scramble and thank you Evelyn.

Simba adopted..

New arrival Lego..

Puppy Ollie ..

RIP Scramble

Three super adoptions…

Today was a really good day at the SPA. We had three adoptions, two of which were dogs whose first adoptions had failed but who were very lucky that they did not have long to wait for their forever family to come along. Its really no wonder as both are young, beautiful dogs who have a great future ahead of them.

First to leave was puppy Gadget, an adorable 5 month old Jack Russel cross who arrived two months ago after being involved in an accident.  Puppy bones take time to heal and Gadget had to have two months of cage rest followed by gentle exercise. He is now a happy, wriggly, adorable pup who left today to live with two other doggies. It’s going to be fun and games in that household tonight and we will have news of how he is doing soon!

Next to leave was Aska a fabulous seven month old German Shepherd pup. She arrived at the end of January and was adopted a few weeks ago. This adoption didn’t work out but we learnt more about her and today she left with her new family.

The third dog to leave was Pogo. He arrived in December, was adopted in January but came back to the refuge on Tuesday.  Poor Pogo was a timid boy and just couldn’t settle in a busy household with 4 young children. Today he has left and the new owners are aware that he needs time to regain his confidence in a quieter environment.

When a dog arrives into refuge and is adopted quickly we really don’t get the chance to fully assess them. There is a 3-4 week period before the dog is fully vaccinated before we can get them out and about and get to know them. Until we get them out walking we don’t really know how they react to other dogs, traffic, children and how they behave on the lead. All of these things can make or break an adoption and that’s why we really like getting get to know a dog.

Failed adoptions are always seen as opportunities for us to get it better next time and allow us to match the dog to the perfect forever family.

Lets hope that todays adoptions are the start of a great weekend. Don’t forget that this Sunday, being the first in the month, we are open from 2-6pm.

Puppy Gadget is off at last….

Aska adopted..

Pogo adopted…



Meet Max..a home to home success!

This is a story which will touch every doggy lovers heart. What if life deals you a very cruel blow and you just can’t keep you dog? What do you do when you know that the only solution that is fair on your dog is to rehome him?

John and Gillian were great retriever lovers, they had had 4 rescue golden retrievers before coming to France but as there were no rescues available they decided to go to a breeder and got Max, a beautiful, healthy pup.  Life was good and Max was a great pup, they walked miles each day really enjoying an active outdoor life.

But sometimes life deals a cruel blow and when Gillian contacted me a few weeks ago, Max was now 18 months old, they both were suffering from severe mobility problems and were really struggling to give Max the exercise that a young retriever needed.

We had a long chat and we both agreed that heart-breaking as it was, the best and fairest option was to find Max a new home. Can you imagine the pain and worry of entrusting the care of your dog to another person but knowing that it was the right thing to do?

Some breeds of dog are very popular and a 18 month old, handsome golden retriever was going to attract a lot of attention but I wanted to find Max the very best of homes.

Jan and Colin, a couple who help a lot with our fundraising group are also great retriever lovers. They had lost their lovely girl Madison just before Christmas and I wondered if Bailey their 6-year-old would like another best friend.

Both couples spoke and agreed that Max would come for a 2-week trial to see how Bailey and him got on. Max was already vaccinated, identified, castrated and even had a passport. John and Gillian drove Max 5-6 hours to a meet point where I picked him up and took him onward to what was hopefully going to be his new home.

Less than one week in, the decision was made and Max was adopted. Max was a good boy and Bailey was loving having a playmate!

Although very sad,  John and Gillian are delighted that Max has found an active home with other retriever lovers. Knowing that their darling boy is going to have the best of lives is the very best of outcomes.

We feel privileged that they entrusted us to help!

Max…settled and happy!


Popular puppies…

As anticipated we had lots of interest in our pups, so much so that we only have one pup left!  Aydie, Elsa and Anna have all been adopted leaving only Olaff still looking for a new family. Its strange that female pups are usually adopted before the males, this may be due to the perception that female dogs are easier than males……ha, you have to be kidding, not in my experience!

So that is quite a few families who have started off the new year with a new pup. As we keep saying, socialisation is everything and we do advise that you get your pup out and about as quickly as possible. Even if you already have a dog, its worth finding  friends with   pups or nicely behaved dogs and having as many play dates as possible. The more positive experiences that you can set up for your pup now will help your dog become a well balanced, happy adult. We also advise contacting your local club canin and taking your pup along to doggy school. This is great for the pup and the owners and is a fun way to spend a couple of hours each week!

We also had another lovely adoption. Lucky Diesel the beautiful Belgian Shepherd had a very short stay in kennels. This doesnt surprise me at all as she was a lovely looking, sweet young girl! She is only 18 months old so will soon settle down in her forever family.

We are still looking for Boss and Ondine. Lots and lots of posters have been put up in shops, bars and on lamp posts. Surely someone is going to see one of these dogs soon. We hate to think of them alone, cold and hunrgy but survival instinct is strong and they are tough little terriers so we are hopeful that they will be back with their families soon.

We will be blogging later in the week about what to do and who to contact should your dog go missing so keep an eye on our page as anyone can lose a dog!

Aydie adopted

Elsa adopted

Anna adopted

Diesel adopted




Still missing…

There were no adoptions today but we thought that we would take the opportunity to remind everyone that we are still looking for two lost dogs.

Boss and Ondine are both timid terriers who have managed to escape from their new families.

Boss went missing in Carcassonne and was seen heading towards the CAF. There has been a sighting of him under the road bridge towards Bram but he could be anywhere. He is wearing a blue harness and had a leash attached. Volunteers are of course looking for him. If you see him please call the SPA on 0468253545 or 0608172472

Ondine went missing from her home in Fenouillet du Razes. She was seen recently wandering in the vines between Orsans and Fanjeaux. I live in Fanjeaux and volunteer Angelique lives in Montreal We will both be out putting up more posters and searching for her tomorrow. If you see Ondine you can call me in English (0468247097) or Angelqiue in French 0682216402 or of course the SPA on 0468253545 and we will jump in the car and try and catch her.

They are both really timid so please don’t chase them, they must be really hungry and cold so we are hoping that they may be lured by something tasty!

Its heartbreaking to think that these dogs are out in this cold, are hungry and scared so please keep your eyes open if you are out and about.

Boss still missing..

Ondine still missing..



Here today gone tomorrow…

Last night we posted on both the SPA and DRC facebook pages that Fido had been returned from adoption as the resident cat was jealous of him. There were lots of comments about this but in this case it has worked in his favour.

Today he left with a super new mum who has no pesky cats to bully him.  This lucky 6 year old griffin bleu de gascogne had the most wonderful body language so it was no surprise that his stay in kennels was so short . He snuggled into you when you spoke to him and was just desperate for love. He only had to spend one night in kennels which is very lucky, especially with the arrival of this terrible cold spell.

It seems that English speakers here and abroad certainly love griffon breeds. Most of our French scent hounds go to English speakers and all of their new families tell us what wonderful loving pets they make.  I often wonder what traits attract certain adoptants and in this case I think that their appearance, a scruffy coat with long ears and lovely deep brown eyes really helps..well, who could resist?

If you adopt one of our scent hounds, we have lots of adoptants who are a wealth of knowledge about the breed and can help with any little teething problems.  Don’t forget that no matter wht dog you adopt from us we are here to offer after adoption advice, we have volunteer dog trainers and behaviorists so just ask if you need help.

We would love to get some more of our dogs out of the cold and into homes especially with this cold snap! We have puppies and adult dogs of all breeds and sizes so please come along and adopt if you are thinking about a new dog. You will be saving its life as well as making space for another dog who really needs our help!

Fido adopted!



Timid dogs and keeping them safe!

Today we are absolutely delighted that All Black is back home. He escaped from his new home last Friday and we were all very worried. He was trapped in a garden not far from his house and was recognised by a very kind gentleman who had seen his poster. I am sure that his new mum and family will be really relieved, what a fright this boy has given us but as they say ‘alls well that ends well’!

Adopting and keeping a very nervous dog safe can be quite a challenge. You know that you have done a great thing and are full of love and encouragement but it takes time for a timid dog to realise this.  A timid and nervous dog can move very quickly and can be very determined so its very important to keep it safe.

The most important thing to be aware of is that many of our dogs were strays or hunters and have been used to living on the streets or in the spa for some time.  Given the chance, some of them may make a bid for freedom if they have the opportunity, so you need to be extremely vigilant at all times.

The golden rule is to keep your dog on a harness AND collar with either two leads or a double ended lead. This means that if the dog panics and backs away, if one fails the other should keep him nice and safe.

Collecting your dog 

It is vital that you can secure your dog on the journey home. The best way for a dog to travel home is in a crate  and will ensure that when you get home your dog won’t jump out of the car and run!

Don’t stop to walk your dog on the way home – better a wee and poo in the crate, than a lost dog!

Arriving home

Take your dog into the house using its double lead. Some dogs have never lived in a house before so may need encouraging (or carrying) into the house. Again, every dog is different but always err on the side of caution. Everything will be strange to your dog, from strangers voices on the TV to the washing machine or hoover. Keep everything really calm and low key, I remember accidently really scaring a pup by shaking out a bin bag!

In the garden

However high your fences are, keep your new dog on a lead or long line in the garden for the first few days until you have judged how likely they are to try to escape. Every dog is different, but we have had instances of dogs attempting to jump six foot fences in their panic to get away. Scared dogs become very athletic when panicking. Keeping them on the lead until they know where the door is to the house and until they are familiar with you, is a wise move. Better to have the dog on a lead in the garden for several days, than risk losing it!

In the house 

Having a quiet place for your dog will make him feel more secure. A crate with the door open and a cover on makes a great den. Feed your dog in there so that it becomes a happy place to be. Some of our dogs have food issues – they have literally been starved and even the most gentle soul may turn into a maniac when food arrives!! Feed your new dog separately from other dogs until you can judge how he will be with food. Putting up a ‘baby gate’ can separate dogs when needed, or feed your dog in the crate.


Please make sure that you are extra careful when people come to your house who aren’t used to your dog. Danger points are open doors and gates. There have been very sad incidents recently of rescue dogs slipping out through an open door or gate. It takes a split second for a dog to slip through! Don’t be tempted to show your dog off to all and sundry for a few days. He will be physically and emotionally exhausted so allow him plenty of rest and to get used to you and your family.


Don’t over-compensate in the first few days. A bland food is ideal – mine have rice and chicken for the first few days then I add kibble  gradually over a few days.

Some of the dogs have an upset tummy when they arrive – sometimes caused by the stress of travelling and changing homes. If it doesn’t settle within a very short time, ask the vets’ opinion but most upset tummies settle quickly.


I have found that the dogs are a little dehydrated when they arrive home, even though they have fresh water available at all times! Make sure that they have water available and don’t panic if they don’t wee for a day, it will happen!!


Don’t be tempted to let a timid dog off the lead until you have practiced recall and are sure that he wont bolt or run off.

As your dog settles into its new life and you begin to understand and respect each other you can relax and give your dog more freedom.The best thing is to allow them to progress at their own pace,keeping then safe as they do. It really doesn’t matter how long they take – they all get there in the end.

Double lead system…one lead attached to collar and one to harness..






Happy Halloween….

Some people love dressing up their dogs and some people are very against it, so how many of you out there will be dressing their dogs up for Halloween tonight?

I don’t have strong feelings either way but will probably put devils horns on my dogs when they run to the door for the trick or treaters. We have many children locally who know the dogs well and the dogs love them coming to the door so that’s fine with me.

Playing “dress up” with your dog needs to be handled on an individual basis. Every dog is different, and some dogs that are fine wearing costumes one day might change their minds the next. Also, any costume that obstructs your dog’s ability to do dog stuff is not a good idea. Nothing should prevent your pup from reaching his food or water bowl, and nothing should stop him from lying down or moving freely. If your dog is walking funny or showing any signs of discomfort, it’s time to remove the costume.

So if you are dressing up your dog and they are fine with it….send us a photo. If they are uncomfy, take it off and no harm done!

Here are some safety tips for tonight..

Trick-or-treat sweets are not for pets.

All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t leave pets out in the garden on Halloween.

If you live where there are lots of trick and treaters around, keep your dogs inside, Some of these costumes are pretty scary!

Keep pets confined and away from the door.

Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes. This, of course, is scary for some of our furry friends.

Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.

Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.

IDs, please!

If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date.

Today at the refuge we had one reservation and two arrivals. Tomorrow is All Saints day and as its a national holiday the refuge will be shut so these two doggies will have to wait until Wednesday, even if the owners are looking at them!











Happy dogs in happy homes…

Its really great to get news and pictures of dogs after they are adopted and we already have pictures of Bleu and Maddox who were adopted yesterday.

However I was really delighted last night to get am email from the adopters of Volt, one of our border collies who went to Border Collie Rescue.  Volt was an adolescent who needed a lot of help and that’s why we work with such rescues. The have the staff and facilities to work with the dogs and it gives them a great chance ensuring that their next home is their forever home.

Here is a little of what Volts new family have to say ‘ Volt is still fixated with playing ball and finds a new  tennis ball in the grass everywhere he goes. He likes to climb on the sofa or the garden chairs and , after being very active with his toys or a ball, sleeps a lot. He also likes to climb on us. He is a terrible food thief and we have to put everything out of his reach.
We live in two places, London and Dorset, and fortunately he travels happily in the car with us. He was cautious of strangers, particularly men to start with, but now enjoys the company of other people who make a fuss of him although he barks at passers by and takes his guard dog duties seriously. He also now likes coming to the pub with us and being fed dog biscuits by the bar staff. He has even got used to lying by our feet and being patted on the head by everyone who passes, as is the custom in the country. We have a stream in the garden and the way he works up and down it makes us think he may have been used for duck hunting and he appears to be part Pointer. Perhaps this is how he originally got lost!’

So after spending three quarters of his four and a half years in a refuge Volt has his happy ever after family! Thank you to BCR and to all of the associations who help us!

Last but not least is a photo of recently adopted Teasel , who is having great fun with Pepper ( ex Flavie) and sister Tally. Its great to seee dogs in happy homes so please do keep sending us your photos!

Who remembers Volt?


Bleu exploring his new garden..


Maddox…tired out after his journey home..


Teasel and Pepper with Tally in the middle!




Two adoptions but 5 arrivals!

Another beautiful day here and a very busy one at the refuge!

First to leave was Poilu or Bleu as he is now called. Volunteer Ellen spotted him the day after he arrived and reserved him on the spot. She has been visiting him regularly during his ‘pound’ time, getting to know him and today he left looking very pleased to at be out of his kennel!

Next to leave was Maddox. When I first met Maddox he was sitting in a pool of bloody diarrhoea…yes he had parvo and was really quite poorly. This little setter x is a survivor and he pulled through, bounced back and off hes gone to live with a Dutch lady in France.

After seeing Balou on last nights blog, one of our supporters has offered to pay his adoption fee.  She would have loved to have him herself but already has two of our doggies so felt that if she paid his adoption fee she might just be able to help him find a home before winter!

Five dogs did arrive, 3 hunting types, a Belgian Shepherd and a very cute little terrier cross. I did see the little terrier leaving later on in the afternoon but that still leaves 4 to be reclaimed.

There were lots of volunteers and lots and lots of dogs walked and we did have a very special reservation!

We did have a very special arrival an aiguana who had left with a volunteer. Yes we normally just accept dogs and cats but we have had a few other species too!

Bleu adopted!


Maddox adopted..


Our special arrival..