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Author Archives: Moira

Elsa adopted..

Just before Christmas the ‘Frozen’ litter arrived at the refuge. Three tiny pups who were named Anna, Elsa and Olaf.  They were very cute and asElsa and Anna being females were the first to be adopted. Olaf soon followed but no sooner had he been adopted when Elsa came back.

Karen, one of our volunteers shared Elsa’s profile with her son Christian and family who live in the UK, they wasted no time at all in reserving her. That was great news but Elsa was 11 weeks at the time and couldn’t have her rabies vaccination for her passport for one week and then there would be a 3-4 week wait before she could travel.

It would have been very unfair to keep a pup at the refuge that long but luckily Shirley our fosterer who is also a dog trainer offered to foster her.

What a lucky pup and what a lucky family as they are getting a housetrained, cage trained, very well socialised pup who also has the basics like sit and down, a pre-trained pup you might say!

Karen and I popped over to Azille to puppy class last week and spent a wonderful afternoon watching Elsa play with the other dogs, one of who was her brother Olly ( ex Olaf).  There were 6 ex SPA dogs in class that afternoon so if anyone is looking for a doggy class then do contact Shirley via https://www.facebook.com/CECAdogclub/?ref=page_internal.

On Wednesday I picked up Elsa from Shirley, took her to the vets for a check over and worming, completed her TRACES paperwork and as you read this blog I am waiting on the transporter picking her up.

Many thanks to Shirley and her doggies Jake and Ellie for looking after her so well. I know that Jake will be missing his playmate, she is a pup that everyone loved!

Its sad when pups leave but I can just imagine how excited her new family are at the prospect of the ‘doggy bus’ arriving with their new puppy. We will of course have lots of updates and Elsa will have a doggy sister called Chloe to show her the ropes.


Elsa adopyed




Finders keepers…????

Tonight’s story will make everyone smile!

I am sure you remember Shadow and Dreyfus who were adopted by Nikki and Dave. Shadow was adopted just over two years ago and Dreyfus about a year ago.

When I took Dreyfus over to Pau to meet Nikki she told me about her previous dogs and one who was called Hector, a lovely border terrier who had simply disappeared. In fact, she donated his doggy coats to the refuge!

Well today, two and a half years after going missing, Hector appeared on their walk! He still has the same collar and has obviously been very well fed wherever hes been. He recognised Nikki right away and seemed delighted to be back.

I can only imagine Nikki and Daves delight tonight..they simply cannot believe their luck! Shadow and Dreyfus seem quite happy with their new ‘brother’.

Hector was of course microchipped and yes Nikki tried really hard to find him. Also, you don’t see many border terriers in France! So, I guess someone found him and never checked to see if he was identified. I wonder how he found his way back and if all of this time hes been local…who knows but tonight we have one happy family! What a happy ending!

If you do find a dog who appears to be lost please always take the dog to a vet to check for identification. Its not a case of finders keepers with animals…anyone can lose a dog, that’s why identification is so important!

Tomorrow we will hear about two great adoptions, an oldie and a puppy!

Hector…home after 2 1/2 years!




Animal mistreatment in France…

The mistreatment of animals, abuse and neglect are reasons many people contact the refuge. Every week we get calls or emails from people about dogs on chains, stuck on balcony’s, donkeys or horses in a poor state…the list goes on.

The first point to make about animal abuse or neglect is that it is often difficult for people to understand that something they have seen is not tantamount to neglect or abuse in France. What people believe to be abuse or neglect is largely subjective and depends often on the situation.

Animal welfare is largely agreed to be composed of five “freedoms” which then go on to govern much animal welfare legislation.

The Five Freedoms are:

  • Freedom from hunger or thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort (the weather, temperatures etc)
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour (access to space, facilities and other creatures of their own kind)
  • Freedom from fear and distress

These Five Freedoms are the basis of legislation in France concerning animal abuse or neglect. When investigating animal abuse or neglect cases, these are the rules we try to bear in mind. They are not always possible and neither are they enforceable.

In France, the law stipulates that:

  • The owner must allow the animal access to appropriate food of a sufficiency to ensure the animal is kept in good health.
  • The owner must allow the animal access to clean water in an appropriate, clean receptacle that is kept free from ice in winter.
  • The animal must not be enclosed in a space that has no fresh air, is dark, insufficiently heated or inappropriate for their physiological needs
  • No animal should be shut in the boot of a vehicle that is not sufficiently aerated.
  • Any animal shut in a parked vehicle must have sufficient air and must be parked in the shade.
  • In case of injury or sickness, the owner is responsible for ensuring appropriate care.

But, a space big enough for their physiological needs can be much smaller than you might imagine. A dog who lives outside permanently with access to shelter, water and food may not be considered mistreated or neglected.  So our idea of what is ideal is often not illegal here.

There are laws about animals being tethered :

  • Any animal kept tethered (usually a guard dog) must have a collar and tether that are appropriate to its size and force. A chain in itself cannot be used as a collar.
  • The tether mustn’t be too heavy.
  • The tether mustn’t interfere with the general movement of the dog (other than to prevent it from moving further than the distance of the tether, of course)
  • The chain or tether must be strong enough to protect any visitors.
  • The chain or tether must be fixed either to a horizontal cable or be fixed appropriately to prevent the animal escaping.
  • The tether must be at least 2.5m if attached to a horizontal cable, or be at least 3m if fixed to a permanent position.

So what do you do if you still feel that the animal is in danger or that the law is being broken?

The first port of call should be the mairie and then the gendarmerie. If they don’t take action you can contact your local department vet (DDSCPP Aude)

The contact numbers below may be helpful…

The rights of animal welfare associations in France are limited but they do have experience at dealing with local police and mairies.

When reporting neglect you need:

  • Full details of the animals you have seen, including number, size and exact location.
  • Photos if possible (clear ones will definitely help) or video footage.
  • A description of how the animal is being harmed.

Its not an easy process getting something done about neglect but we animal lovers can’t turn a blind eye either. Just persevere, be insistent and be assured that its always worth the effort to save an animal.



Another great ‘home to home’ and an adoption..

It seems that there are no end of dogs needing new homes but the rehoming that I enjoy the most are the ‘home to homes’ where the dog stays with its owner until we find the perfect home for them. This means that the dog never has to come into refuge which is far less stressful for the dog and both of the families involved.

Leo is our latest home to home. Pippa contacted us to say that she had rescued Leo from her elderly neighbour who had been given him as a pup as a present! This elderly lady could not look after him and poor Leo was stuck inside day in day out with lots of cats. Pippa asked the elderly lady if she could walk him daily and then eventually if they could help her by rehoming him.

Life with Pipp was great for Leo but Pippa knew that the best she could offer Leo was a temporary home as she was going back to Australia.

She asked DRC to help find a home for Leo and we were happy to help.

The power of social media is immense! Pointer lovers ,Carole and her hubby who live in the UK saw our post about Leo and contacted us to say that they would drive over with their two pointers and if all dogs got on they would adopt him!

So last week Carole and family arrived in France, met Leo, introductions went very well and Leo left with them for a great life in the UK.

Many thanks to Pippa for saving Leo, organising his passport and getting him ready to travel, to Carole for bringing her dogs all the way from the UK and to everyone who shared Leos story.

This just proves that there are super families out there who will really go the extra mile to help a dog!

Today’s adoption was that of puppy Nita. As soon as her details went online she was reserved and no wonder….what a pretty girl she is.

Lucky Leo….now with his forever family!



Balou and Rex

Milena, the sponsor of Balou and Rex has been busy..

My name is Balou and I am 10 years old!

I don’t care what car you drive.

I don’t care who you know.

I don’t care what you wear or where you live.

I only care that you are there for me

As I shall always be there for you….

So what do you think?

 A big beautiful boy waiting for his forever home. Senior tariff, 50%  paid by his sponsor.

My name is Rex and I am 10 years old!


I know I’m old, a little nervous and shy.

You might just want to walk on by.

But please look again.

Talk to me and just maybe you’ll see the boy I’d like to be.

 A beautiful boy waiting for his forever home. Must be cat -free. Senior tariff, 50%  paid by his sponsor.



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..