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Author Archives: Moira

Babars foster diaries….

We always say that we learn so much about a dog when in foster and this really helps us target the perfect home for them.

Babar has been in foster for 10 days and we have learnt so much about him. He will be leaving for his new home in Scotland in two weeks but until then I am sure that you will agree that he is in expert hands!

Here is his second foster report by his foster mum, how many dogs come with a instruction manual????!!!!

Observation of Babar: week ending 25 March

We have now cared for Babar for 10 days. He is a total sweetheart but he is very timid and easily frightened, especially of men and people in dark clothing, as well as sudden movements and unexpected noises, so will need quiet patience for some time. He will make a sweet and affectionate pet after he has built up his confidence. He is much happier and perkier dog than when he first arrived. He trots around after me and goes to Philip now for affection. He loves his walks on the beach and would run around for ages. We keep him on a long lead so he is a little limited but is full of enthusiasm.  He likes other dogs. He has started eating very well. He would like to chase cats. At first he was nervous about getting in and out of the car but now happily jumps in or out as required. Once in the car he seems fine, interested in seeing what is passing by.

He is a quiet, well behaved dog but he doesn’t know the usual commands in French or English. He pulls on the lead if he is not wearing his halti. He is anxious to please and eager not to do anything wrong, so he should not be hard to train. I thought about taking him to a class in Agde while he is here, but I think he would find it too scary, so we are trying to teach him through the consistent use of words and signs.

Babar has apparently been house trained in the past as his preference is to go in the garden. For the first few days, I noticed he ‘marked’ first thing in the morning and after a meal, so I put him into the garden at these times. I let him into the garden pretty regularly and then let him back in as soon as he wees. We have had no incidents after the first few days.

We are able to stop any unintentionally bad behaviour like chewing the door mat. He stops as soon as he is told ‘No’ (said firmly, but not crossly or loudly). We are using ‘Wait’ (for a short wait such as getting out of the car in an orderly way) and ‘Stay’ (with my first finger up) and he is getting a wee bit better on the Halti collar. As he reaches the end of his extending lead I say ‘Stead-ee!’ in the hope that he will learn to slow down and not jerk himself.

We have had friends over for dinner. They are quiet people who understand dogs. He was fearful when they arrived, but OK by the time they left. Today we went to the beach with our friend Tony and his dog. By the end of the walk, Babar was happy to go up to Tony for a sniff.

 Babar’s Routine

Morning: We get up at 8.00. When I am dressed I put Babar into the garden to do his wees. He stays there until Philip is dressed and then we go out. We fix the Halti colour on an extending lead. We keep it short for a walk to the park. We walk very quickly but allow stops to sniff trees and do more wees. In the park I extend the lead, slip off the nose part of the halti and follow him as he sniffs around. Then the ‘nose’ back on and a short lead for a brisk walk home. Breakfast is in the garden where he stays for 10 minutes or so to do No 2 (sometimes he waits till his afternoon walk). Then he is let in.

Day time: He has a ‘safe’ mat next to the sofa where he likes to sit by my feet. He occasionally likes to snooze in his crate during the day too, but Violet often steals his bed. Being with another dog, even the thief Violet, seems to give him confidence. He often copies her, e.g. going outside when she does, chewing the antler after she has finished.

We go out for short periods each day so he gets comfortable with separation. We put him in the crate when we are out.

Mid afternoon we take him for a long walk on the beach. I start him on the extending lead and the halti collar: he is not fond of it, but it helps me to manage him and it teaches him that pulling is uncomfortable. Our halti is too big for him (it is Labrador size), and the ‘nose’ part rides too high and interferes with his eyes when he pulls. This is obviously not ideal, so after a short while we put him of the very long lead and fix it to the collar in the traditional way. By then he has remembered that pulling is a bad idea, so this works well and he has a great time. He loves the beach and will run around, splash about in the shallows and sniff. He enjoys a little play with other dogs. If Philip has the lead, he will run up to me periodically and wag like mad to say he is pleased to see me, and occasionally give a welcoming ‘woof’. Other than that, he is exceptionally quiet. He is nervous of other people we pass walking on the beach and is always interested in other dogs. He does not show any signs of aggression.

Evening: Supper is about 6.00 in the garden or, at first, on his ‘safe mat’ when he was too stressed to eat unless he was close to me. Sometimes I had to hand feed him some or all of his food, but now he eats very well. He stays out for 5 minutes or so to wee.

We let him out last thing at night to wee and then he goes into his crate for the night. Some evenings he puts himself to bed in his crate.

Recommendations for a new family

Do you know if the new family are indeed going to pick him up early April? They are going to be very lucky people.

Before they set out, they may appreciate a little advice based on what we have learned up till now.

  • Having his bed in the crate works well. He needs one about 80cm long or larger, preferably one where one complete side will open, as he wasn’t keen to go through the small opening to the one we have. Nervous dogs often feel safer in a crate and are highly unlikely to have accidents during the night.
  • He needs a bed about 70 cm long. A soft one is easier to get in and out of the crate.
  • He pulls a lot on the lead so a halti collar and extending lead will make life easier. Perhaps also buy a very long lead if there is somewhere open to exercise him. If he is let off the lead before he is trained to recall, if he is frightened by something or starts ‘hunting’, or both, he may be hard to catch.
  • At first, we made sure he was secured/his lead held when we opened car doors with him inside so he didn’t escape. Until he feels safe, he will be frightened and if he escapes and may be hard to catch. Now he knows us, this is no longer necessary.
  • It might be wise to follow our routine at first. If he goes off his food like he did when he first came to us, feed him cooked chicken and rice with a warm chicken gravy to bring out the flavour, twice a day. After a few days, we substituted increasing amounts of his normal (Royal Canin, medium sized, adult dog) food.
  • Introduce him gradually to new people, ask them to let him come to them in his own time and make sure he has a safe spot to retire to until he feels ready to come out.

Could you foster for us? If so please get in touch..


Babar in foster….

Adoption of Belle…

Today puppy Belle was adopted and as she only arrived on Monday she has been very lucky indeed! As we have lots more pups who will leave over the next few weeks I thought that I would remind potential adopters of their responsibility.

The reality is this – a puppy at eight weeks requires your attention about as much as an eight-week-old human baby would.

The puppy needs constant supervision – and if you are adopting him, that’s your job!

If you want to raise a dog who is well behaved, has a normal temperament, is not predisposed to behavioural issues such as separation anxiety, toilet training issues, fear or general anxiety… the work starts as soon as your pup is home.

With pups prevention is advised. Prevent what you can wherever possible and manage the pup’s environment so that he has little or no opportunity to go wrong.  This means puppy proof the house, move books from the lower shelves, put bins behind cupboard doors, use stair gates and close doors to prevent access to areas where the pup may chew  furnishings, pick up all Persian rugs temporarily and more importantly put things away such as shoes, children’s toys etc. Any time your pup engages in an unwanted behaviour, take a step back and ask yourself how you could have prevented it.

Interrupt unwanted behaviour.  I know from experience that it is not always possible to prevent all unwanted behaviours when you have a puppy.  So you teach your dog a positive interrupter.  This can be a word or a noise, anything you like, as long as it doesn’t frighten or startle your pup.  You could use a “Yay!!” or a kissy noise for example.  Once interrupted redirect him onto something more productive.

Of course pups are great fun and really do keep you on your toes…enjoy the fun and madness as it passes so quickly. Those of us with older dogs would love to turn back time for a day with our pups




Tuesdays two adoptions…

Today the sun was shining and lots of dogs were walked. On my ‘to do’ list was to take more photos of Danov. He wasnt long back from his walk,when I saw him being being led to a car….et voila, he was adopted!  I am not surprised that the family chose him as he is very calm and loves affection.

Danov arrived with his brother Bogdan at the beginning of February. At the moment we have quite a few spaniels so he was very lucky not to have too long a wait!

Danov adopted!

Next to leave was puppy Vitto. This lovely little lad only arrived yesterday and after a trip to the vets he left today.  Wouldn’t it be great if all of our pups were so lucky!

Vitto adopted!

For anyone wanting a pup, we have plenty! We have little Belle, a chocolate berger x as well as a litter of 6 pups ( 3 boys and 3 girls).

Belle needs a home!

For anyone adopting a pup remember that pups are hard work and really need lots of time and patience.  If you want a dog that you can take anywhere you need to be prepared for lots of training and socialising. We have leaflets available  on housetraining, crate training  and don’t forget our training diaries on our website too.

Read how to..

toilet train your pup..http://dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk/poppys-training-snippets-toilet-training-and-feeding/

crate train..http://dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk/poppys-training-snippets-crate-training/

the importance of socialisation…http://dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk/poppys-training-snippets-socialisation/




Normally we don’t use the blog for individual dogs but needs must and Taser really deserves a home.

Taser is 7 and has been with us for about half of his life! Why? Well, we really can say that it was down to no fault of his own…his owner was murdered.
Is it because he resembles a bull breed, is brindle coloured, is male…why has he not been adopted?
He is a very loyal boy who loves people and most dogs ( not cats though). He’s strong but very trainable as he loves treats and squeaky toys and he knows all of the basic commands. He is a boxer cross and the boxer playfulness and cheekiness is very endearing.
Taser has shared his kennel with many dogs, usually scared females who he helps restore their trust in humans he really is a sensitive lovely boy!
He could go to the UK. We will transport him to any good home.
So, if you are looking for a loyal, loving dog to share your life then please contact us.

Taser really deserves a family!

Lafille leaves at last…

When Lafille arrived at the beginning of February as a 5 month old cute pup we were all sure that she would be gone as soon as her pound time was up.  Its unusual for a cute female pup to have to wait long at all, especially a blond one!

Never mind, a four week wait isn’t too long to wait and today she left and is now to be called Tina!

shar-pei x

Lafille adopted!

We hate seeing pups grow up at the refuge. Pups need to be out and about, meeting other dogs, other animals, people, children, traffic and to be part of normal day to day activity. Unless they experience all of these things as a young pup they can develop a fear of them.

At the refuge Lafille was socialised with as many suitable pups as possible and after her buddy Marcus leaving earlier this week it was great that she too found a forever family today.

When a pup arrives at the refuge we all have fun guessing what breed (s) they could be. Lafille had a wrinkly look that is typical to Shar- pei’s and was the shape of a labrador but really we are just guessing. As most pups arrive as strays we cant guarantee their breed but our vet has a good idea if they are going to be small, medium or large as adults.

For those of you who really want to know what breeds your pup is made up of then you can purchase a DNA kit from amazon. It only takes 3 weeks from sending off the sample until you get the results.

I did this with my boxer cross Phoebe and the test revealed that she was also part labrador and newfoundland.  This didn’t surprise me at all as she is a big girl.

Tomorrow is our open day and Sebastian has organised another group walk. Keep an eye on the weather though folks and if its raining watch for an update on the facebook page as to whether the walk will go ahead or not.





Coping with a teenage dog

Poppy now almost 9 months old is no longer a puppy but an adolescent.  BANG! Just like that and seemingly overnight, my lovely, cuddly, obedient, follow me anywhere pup is now an unruly teenager!!

A dog is generally considered ‘ado’ once they have their canine teeth, at around 7mths, and until 18mths of age. During this time a pup’s brain changes and matures.! Just like their human counterparts an adolescent dog can be willful and obnoxious. They will test you, ignore you and push the boundaries. Recall goes to pot. They can be jumpy, bitey and downright disobedient! It can be disappointing, discouraging and challenging to say the least! If you are going through this stage with your pup or have adopted an adolescent dog don’t despair, what seems like complete disaster is a temporary phase. Here are some key points to help you cope.


Like a human teenager an adolescent dog often has lots of excess energy that needs to be channelled so that it is not used negatively and destructively. Plenty of exercise, appropriate to age and size, is therefore important. Consider starting agility or cani-cross training, or make a walk more challenging by playing hide and seek or laying a scent trail.


It’s important to keep up and reinforce the basic training during this critical period of development but also to make it more interesting.  Practice in different locations and add in more brain-challenging exercises.


Make sure your dog gets plenty of opportunities to socialise. Have ‘play dates’. Go to a good dog school. Not only will your dog have fun but you will get professional advice, be able to talk with other ‘parents’ going through the same thing and exchange ideas.


Play with your dog, this is a very underused and undervalued training tool.

Take a breath

Above all be patient and calm, don’t get stressed. You will weather the storm and come out the other end with a stronger bond with your dog.

Shirley Reddell




Teenagers playing at dog training club Azille…

Our Year of the Dog Appeal..

Last week saw the start of the Chinese New Year. As it will be the year of the DOG, we at Dog Rescue Carcassonne are hoping to raise even more money for the animals at SPA Carcassonne.

If every one of you lovely people gave just €1 each, that would mean we’d raise a total of €2900. With that money, we could make the lives of the many dogs who pass through our doors so much better.

Last year 622 dogs and 348 cats passed through our doors. To get each dog or cat ready for adoption it costs us..

2 Vaccinations
Kennel cough
Flea and worm treatment
Rabies vaccination, passport and travel costs for any dogs travelling out of France

And then there is the vet care should any dog need it as well as refuge overheads. These costs would really make your eyes water!

I know that many of you have SPA Carcassonne or rescue dogs and that there are lots of you who are dog lovers.
Please help us help even more dogs this year by donating 1 euro or more and help make this year of the DOG very special for our dogs!

You can donate by:

  •  paypal : website@dogrescuecarcassonne.co.uk and please mention YEAR OF THE DOG APPEAL in the comments.
  • By following this link to pay by card : https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=Yc6pK08c9VssBVul6K-FV7n6SMq_C9-Bp2irYbfODfdFX75nm-_HbkiPViUEBypFlWhT_0&country.x=FR&locale.x=
  • A cheque, payable to the SPA,  SPA Carcassonne, Chemin de la SPA, 11000 Carcassonne.
  • or Cash, of course!

Adoption of Baxter..

Today was Baxter’s lucky day. This very handsome boy arrived in October and I am really surprised that he spent so long with us.  Blond dogs generally go very quickly especially when they are as good looking as Baxter!

It’s true that had Baxter been a girl she would most likely have been adopted much quicker. It’s a sad fact that young adolescent males are much more likely to find themselves in a refuge than females and generally stay much longer too!

So why do lots of young males end up in rescue? One thing is sure it’s not their fault but usually that of the owner. Too little training, too few walks, too little socialisation and of course not neutering males will make them want to chase after the girls.

Lets not forget that when you take on a pup, male or female you take on the responsibility for that pup for life. You take on the responsibility of socialising, training, exercising and caring fir that pup right throughout their life. Its very naive to think that over 15 years your life circumstances wont change and if you take on a pup you need to be willing to adapt to accommodate that pup no matter what life throws at you.

So what reasons do we hear every day when people want to abandon their dog? Divorce, work schedule changing, don’t have time to exercise, moving house, expecting a baby, the dog hasn’t trained himself! And these are just a few!

Luckily for some of these poor dogs who have been let down by humans, there are fantastic families out their who are happy to welcome them and ensure a happy ever after but for some poor souls there is a long wait in kennels, years often.

We don’t know why Baxter arrived in rescue, he was found as a stray but please make sure that if you commit to a pup don’t let it end up in rescue because you don’t carry out your side of the bargain.  Be responsible….and make sure that you understand that a dog is for life, not until your circumstances change.





Adoption of Achille and Poly..

Today we had two adoptions, one pup and one oldie!

First to leave was Achille a very cute Jack Russel cross. Achille arrived in December and was lucky enough to go right into foster.  When in foster we learn lots about a pup and can begin the basics such as housetraining and socialising.  Small breed cute pups seldom have a long wait and today he left for his forever home.

It’s never easy fostering a pup. Pups need lots of attention, regular trips outside to toilet and like babies often keep you awake at night! So a big thank you to Achilles foster family whose house will be much quieter tonight!

Achille adopted!

Next to leave was Polly. Polly arrived as a stray on the 26th December and at nine years old could have had a long wait. Luckily for her, a super family contacted us to ask if we thought that she could live their elderly springer and Labrador cross.  We had already determined that she was a lovely sociable lady and so off she went to a loving family where she will be adored for the rest of her life.

We are always so very grateful when families will take on an older dog and give them a second chance at happiness. Without people like that dos like Poly would spend their last years in a concrete kennel and that really is far too grim to contemplate.

Poly adopted!

We were also very happy to hear that Teasel, an ex SPA dog who went missing after a very exciting fox chase is back home safe and sound. Any of you who have had a dog go missing will realise the panic and fear that owners go through. The best thing to do should your dog go missing is to get the word out there. The more people who are aware the greater chance you have of getting the dog back.


Once upon a time..

Once upon a time, there were two little Border Terriers, Gimli and Hector , who moved from their home in London to their new home in SW France. They were so happy when they arrived to find that their humans had bought them a lovely little farm, with lots of lands to run around, explore and have adventures! They settled in very quickly and soon Hector was regularly bringing mice in from the barns, happy days .

Tragically, after only 3 years in their new found paradise, poor Gimli had to be put to sleep, a chronic spinal problem, leaving an utterly devastated Hector. For over a month he pined and only left the house to do his business, leaving his humans even sadder. They could take it no more, so started to research adopting a puppy. A litter of Griffons needed homing from the SPA near Bergerac and so it came to pass that Porthos came to cheer Hector up and bring the sparkle back into his life! As soon as they met, they became real buddies and they played and they played!

About 18 months after Porthos arrived, there was a terrible problem in the garden with foxes coming in and out in broad daylight, trying to steal the chickens. Both dogs were very good at guarding the chickens and after about 3 weeks of constant raids by the fox, both dogs took chase one afternoon and disappeared! After a week of searching and agonising, Porthos just trotted up the garden one afternoon! He was definitely worse for wear, but home in one piece. Hector had gone on the chasse of his life ……

There is a happy ending to this tale, but you’ll have to wait a bit, and you may need a box of tissues! Porthos continued to live happily enough with his humans, except to say that he had started fitting occasionally. The vets did tests but said that as he was so young he would probably grow out of them. He did n’t. One night he passed away in my husband’s arms, unable to control or stop the massive and fatal fit that just kept going on and on. Absolutely heartbreaking. And then there were none, no dogs at all, and the house was still. But we still hear them, don’t we?

The humans were too heartbroken and needed time to grieve. But as the months passed, the void needed filling, so enter SPA Carcassonne ! It was time to give an older dog a new start and the story of Shadow, with his little face looking at us out of the website, had us sold! His papers say he is a Pyrenean Berger X , so he’s a medium-sized dog, and the vet said he should weight about 20kg . When we adopted him, he was just over 30kg !!! Lots of short walks and a controlled feeding plan slowly got his weight down, improved his fitness and therefore his joie de vivre! He wasn’t always the easiest at the beginning, as he was the best thief I have ever known, and once he had something in his mouth he would make a terrible noise until left to eat it at leisure – whatever disgusting object it was! He must have the most amazing constitution! Anyway, we love him dearly now and so much so, it was decided to get him a pal.


SPA Carcassonne came good again with a super young Griffon who we have named Dreyfus ! He was only just over 2yrs when we adopted him. I was always sure he was a lovely boy, but when he first came to live with us , he was incredibly timid. More of men than women. The saving grace was that he really wanted to stay close to home, to us. So when people came to the house, we would make sure that he was free to hide or come and say hello as he wished, and over time this did the trick! A good ignoring by guests was always the best way for him to find the confidence to say hello. He is an absolutely adorable chap and loving constant attention from us now, we are never alone !!!!


Ah, that happy ending, I hear you say! Not just yet! Wait for it ………

One rainy day in May 2017 , we went up to the village for a coffee. But en route was noticed a scruffy, fat little dog in the rain, by the side of the road. I told my husband to stop the car, which he did, I opened my door and called “Hector” !!!! Within 5 seconds he was on my lap going crazy! It was our Hector! Still wearing our collar, although a bit tight as he was so fat! So, 2 years and 7 months later, we found him !!!


A Chien Perdu notice appeared the next day, so I managed to find the lady who had kindly taken him in. It transpires that an elderly man had found him and taken him in, and kept him for 2 years as a lap dog and companion until he passed away. The family didn’t want the dog, so Videane offered to look after him for a couple of weeks until a more permanent owner could be found. That’ll be 7 months then! She is a really lovely lady and was delighted to get “Dog” as she called him, back to his rightful owners. She pops in regularly to say hello, and he is always very pleased to see her.

So, there you have your happy ending ! We now have 3 dogs !! They all get on very well, although Hector is top dog! The really lovely thing about our two adoptees is that they haven’t got a bad bone in them, they are never aggressive and get on with every dog they meet out and about. It’s so nice never having to worry.

So, there ends the tale of the three dogs who at this moment are laying in front of the fire, blissfully unaware of what I am writing about them. Occasionally a twitching paw and a little squeak gives away a dream, and I’m happy that they are safe and warm. It’s a dog’s life and I’m glad that their Once upon a time has ended with a Happy ever after 😍

Shadow, Hector and Dreyfus!