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Author Archives: Moira

Two lucky girls, but Misery is back!

Today we have had two adoptions..

When one year old Kenzo arrived she was very thin and definitely in need of lots of tlc. Luckily for her Carole and Aude are great retriever lovers so it was no surprise when they offered to foster her. Putting a dog into foster allows us to assess the dog in lots of ways. We can soon tell if they are house-trained, have lived in a house before, are good with other animals and children. If they are underweight we can ensure that they get extra rations and can monitor their weight.  It also means that the foster family can vet any prospective adopters and make sure that the dog goes to a suitable family!

Today after spending a month in foster Kenzo left with her forever family, many thanks to Carole, Aude and Isa too who looked after Kenzo when Carole went on holiday.

Pistache arrived at the refuge at the end of June. We knew that this tiny weeny female terrier cross would not have a long wait and we were right. Today she left with her forever family!

Small, cute, young females are very popular…how I wish that all our dogs were so popular.

Today’s sad news is that Misery is back.  The other dogs just wouldn’t accept her but the adopters assure us that she is fine in the house and well behaved so if nothing else we now know a bit more about her.

We did have three arrivals, two of whom have left with their owners and we have been made aware of an old 12 year old spaniel whose owner has died will be arriving on Monday.

So a lucky day for Pistache and Kenzo but poor Misery’s luck has not yet changed!

Kenzo adopted


Pistache adopted


Misery is back..



How to catch your dog……

Today there was little news from the refuge. Two dogs who arrived yesterday were reclaimed and we had one arrival so I thought we would have a look at how we get our dogs back when all our recall training goes out of the window and the dog is just not behaving!

When you let your dog off its lead, there’s always a chance that your four-legged friend is going to bolt in a flurry of excitement. Smells, other animals and people can all prove too much for a young dog to resist!

With this in mind, it’s always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve for catching the dog when it forgets all its training..even a good dog can have a bad day!

1.Lie down…ok you might look stupid but who cares! Sometimes lying down stimulates prey drive in some dogs and they will come          rushing back to you!

  1. Run in the opposite direction…again, sometimes this is such a shock to your dogs that it races back to catch you. You need to really know your dog though. You could end up even further away from it.
  2. Use a squeaky toy or ball….whatever gets your dogs attention.
  3. Hold up the lead…for some dogs seeing the lead means walkies and sometimes you can trick them into rushing back to get their lead on, forgetting that they are already on a walk.
  4. If you are near the car and he wont come back…try opening the door and stand back. Hopefully he’ll jump in and you can simply close the door.
  5. Treats…for those food oriented dogs..rustle the treat bag and back they come! That works well with my Labs!
  6. Forgotten treats….pretend you have them…rustle anything you have in your pocket. If this catches him reward him with a cuddle instead.

Now they say that you should never chase after your dog as the dog will think it’s a game and the bad behaviour will be reinforced. But, I don’t know anyone who is going to watch their dog disappear over the horizon and not try and catch it. My advice would be to run, run fast and get your dog!

Of course we need to all need to do recall training with our dogs and keep them safe whilst they are learning. If you have any tricks, then please leave a comment…anyone can lose a dog for all sorts of reasons and it would be interesting to know what you do!




Two adoptions and a sad goodbye…

Today the refuge was closed so we will catch up with yesterday’s news.

Yesterday, 14 year old Sasha crossed to rainbow bridge, after spending 7 months with foster mum Evelyne. He arrived at the refuge in December and at 14 years old we just couldn’t put him in a concrete kennel. Luckily for us Evelyne offered him a home under our FALD ( long tern foster) scheme. Sasha has without doubt spent the best months of his life at Evelyne’s, surrounded by love and creature comforts.

Thank you so much to Evelyne, it really takes a special person to foster an oldie knowing that they won’t have them in their lives for too long but wanting to make sure that their last months are spent in comfort and that they feel loved.  Evelyne stayed with Sasha during his last hours at the vets and was with him right until the end. We all know how sad she will be feeling but I hope that as the hurt passes she will feel proud of what she has done for Sasha.

On a happier note we had two adoptions..

Lots of you will remember Misery the 5 year old griffon x who arrived in April in a terrible state, with several large tumours and as thin as a rake. Well after several operations and lots and lots of tlc she was adopted yesterday. This poor girl really has had a life of misery but that is now behind her and she now has the family that she truly deserves. Just goes to show that coming to the SPA really is a life saver for many dogs.

Next to leave was Hermine. This lovely shepherd cross was only with us a couple of weeks. Lucky girls as we have several shepherd crosses who have spent a long time with us!

We also saw the sad return of Klitchko, returned after a month as the family is moving and three more dogs arrived too.!

So a day of both good and sad news…such is the life of dog rescue!

RIP Sasha


Misery adopted


Hermine adopted


 Klitchko is back..


Keep your pets safe on 14th July!

Warning..tomorrow night will be very scary for animals in France!

France commemorates the start of the French Revolution with a national holiday on 14 July. So there will be mass celebrations up and down the country which inevitably involve fireworks!

At the SPA we prepare ourselves as we know that we’ll get a large number of stray animals and lost dog reports on Thursday for animals that got spooked with the fireworks and happened to be outside at the time. Last year on the 15th we had 11 reports of lost dogs and then more during the week as people realised their dogs weren’t going to come home on their own!

As a responsible dog owner, please do everything in your power to protect your dog tomorrow night which will be filled with loud bangs, pops and sizzles!  Remember, your dogs hearing is 10 times more sensitive than yours!

Your best bet is to keep your dog indoors somewhere where he is likely to do the least amount of harm to himself, and your house! You should also turn on the TV or a radio, with the volume turned up loud to make it less likely that he will be able to hear the fireworks outside. Since the flashing lights can scare your dog just as much s the loud noises, be sure to close all the curtains and blinds inside your home and turn ON all the lights in the room. This will make the bright lights from fireworks less noticeable to your dog. Plus, closed curtains and blinds offer a small degree of sound-proofing in your home, lowering the high pitched sounds a tiny bit.

Here are a few precautions you can take way ahead of time to prepare your dog for this stressful night:

Make sure your dog has his collar and ID tags on. In the worst case scenarios, dogs have been known to chew through crates, doors, and even jump out of windows due to their anxiety.

Let your dog outside to toilet before people start setting off their own fireworks. Have him on a leash, even in the garden.

Exercise your dog earlier in the day by taking him on a longer-than-usual walk. This will tire him out and make him less likely to over-exert himself later if/when he becomes stressed from the sound of fireworks and play some music to drown out the fireworks noise!

So please don’t take any risks, no matter how steady you think your dog is. It’s only one night a year and simply not worth the risk…keep all pets inside and safe!

Tonights good news if that recently adopted Asame, who escaped from his new home has been found as is safe and well!

Carcassonne will be a scary place for dogs tomorrow night!



Not any news from the refuge today so I thought that we would have a look at some FAQ’s..

  1. Why does it cost 170 euros to adopt a dog? Well the short answer is that although we are a charity, like any other business we need to viable. For 170 euros your dog will be identified, vaccinated, had kennel cough, wormed, flea treated and of course sterilised. We also have overhead costs which seem to escalate every year. So the 170 euros is a contribution towards these costs.


  1. Can we take a dog on a trial basis? In theory this seems sensible but we no longer offer this. Mainly because adoption should be a lifelong commitment and we like to make sure that we discuss any foreseeable problems before you adopt. We also offer support after adoption and can talk you through most problems.


  1. Can you transport the dog to me? Yes. Logistics have never been a problem!



  1. Does the dog get on with cats? Well that would need a blog to itself but we can ‘cat test’ the dog to rule out that they are out and out cat haters but most dogs are very intimidated going into the cat house and can seem to be scared or ok. We always advise safe and careful introductions to your cat.


  1. Can I bring my dog to see if he gets on with X? Yes…we encourage adopters to do this and will help you do careful introduction and then advise whether we think the dogs are a good match.


By far the most common request is ‘ I want a female dog, not too big and not one that barks or digs or chews. And not one that sheds, or that isn’t house trained. I have grandchildren so must be ok with children and I also have a cat so not a cat chaser’.


We do get dogs that fall into that category but it may take a little while to find the perfect dog so please bear with us and we will find your perfect pooch!




A Monday Adoption

It would be a miracle if we had as many adoptions this week as last but who knows as its only Monday and we already have the adoption of Tyson.

Tyson was found straying in Limoux but guess what…he was chipped but the owner had moved without leaving a forwarding address!

What a shame as he is a large, friendly, gentle giant who loves everyone and I bet was a very loyal pet!  Never mind, his 5 month stay with us is not as long as some large breed dogs have and he has left with a super forever family.

There are lots of reasons why people cannot keep their dogs. Some are feeble and pathetic but some are genuine and it really is in the best interest of dog that its rehomed.

If you find yourself in this situation please don’t just abandon your dog in the streets or at the gate, please come in and speak to us, we will arrange an admission date and we will ask you all about the dog.

This means that we know what and who your dog likes, if he has lived with children or other pets, if he can be trusted not to roam etc. etc. and we can find him the perfect forever family much quicker.

We have so many families come to us and ask for a dog who is good with children it really increases their chances of spending as little time with us before being adopted.

Adoption is a lifetime commitment, not a decision to be taken lightly so please think how you would cope with your dog should your circumstances change, A little forethought can save many abandonment’s!

On the arrivals front a Jack Russel arrived who is identified so we hope that he will be leaving very soon.

Tyson adopted..



Is your dog’s microchip up to date?

It’s a fact! Lots and lots of contact details on the ICAD and other pet databases are incorrect as owners have forgotten to change them when they move house or the dog changes ownership.

Implanted under the skin, each microchip, the size of a grain of rice, has a unique barcode and 15 digit number. When your pet arrives at the SPA we then use handheld scanners to read the code and trace the contact details held on one of the national pet identification databases.

However we often we find that the details are not up to date and this delay in reuniting pets with their owners can cause additional stress to a lost dog as many find the wait in kennels distressing. Sometimes we simply cannot trace the owners! Whether it’s due to moving house, a change of phone number or owner, it’s important to update this information straight away.

If your dog is already microchipped, you can easily update the stored details by contacting your dog’s registered database directly. Its easy and quick to do and you can often even do it online.

Please remember that all dogs in public places must also wear a collar and tag marked with their owner’s name and address, which can also help lead to a quick reunion. If someone finds your dog wandering, they just need to read the disk, call you ..et voila..your dog is back home!

In the future I am sure that we will have microchips with GPS and we will be able to track our pets from our phones. Lots of people already use GPS trackers for their dogs which are small devices attacked to the dogs collar. If the dog then runs off the owner can track the dog using a computer or smart phone.

Its so very worrying if your dog runs off and gets itself lost so make life easier for yourself, your dog and us by updating your database details.

reading chip


Hot cars….kill dogs!

Tonight is a reminder about dogs being left in hot cars! There is an easy rule on this one…dont do it..not ever!

It can be an easy mistake to make. If you think that you’re only going to be a few minutes, you may feel that it’s safe to leave your dog in a car, even on a warm day. The problem is that it’s far more dangerous to do this than most people realise. A car can heat up astonishingly rapidly, with some vehicles reaching 40°C in just twenty minutes. Dogs cannot sweat: they can only lose heat by panting, and if the ambient temperature around them is high, this means that they cannot lose any heat at all. They’ll pant furiously, but will just get hotter and hotter until they collapse. It’s a dreadful way for an animal to die, and that’s one of the reasons why there’s such an outcry whenever an incident like this is reported in the news.


On a sunny day, leaving a dog in a car is as dangerous as putting the animal into an oven and turning it on “roast”. It’s not enough to leave a window open, or to leave some water inside for the dog. It just gets too hot inside the confined space of a car. Dogs cannot be left in cars on sunny days: end of story.

This message has recently been the focus of a ‘Don’t Cook your Dogs’ campaign by Dogs Today magazine. The aim is to highlight the issue as widely as possible, to prevent more unfortunate dogs from dying. Ignorance of the risk is a common excuse, and the campaign aims to ensure that nobody in any country remains ignorant about it.

So what should you do if you see a dog locked in a hot  car? This is what I would do but its only my opinion. If the car was outside a store I would ask for an announcement to be made asking the car owner to return to the car, if the owner doesn’t appear I would call the police, but if the dog was really distressed I would take a photo or video with my phone, and break a window to get the dog out. Now common sense prevails here, but its better having to replace a window than having a dead dog!

This year, let’s try to avoid any more hot dog crises. Please do not risk leaving your dog in the car at all, leave them at home in the cool!


hot car


Stella and Banjo leave..

In yesterdays blog I mentioned that there were 2 other dogs who were lucky enough to leave.

First to leave was 10 year old Stella. One of the most common reasons for abandoning a dog is divorce and it seemed like poor Stella was to be a victim. However, when one of the parties heard that she was at the refuge they organised themselves and came for her as soon as they could. This is the best possible outcome for Stella, she may have had to spend a little time with us but has gone ‘home’ to someone she knows and who clearly really loves her!

Next to leave was 1 year old Banjo. He arrived in March with a lady who found him and left with her yesterday. Sometimes a dog just pulls at your heart strings so the lady had her entire garden enclosed before adopting him. Now that is sensible and shows commitment!

Next week is going to be hot, very hot. So please remember how dangerously hot your car can become and plan any travel with your dog very carefully.

When you are travelling with dogs in hot conditions there are several ways to ensure that they stay safe but there are also many considerations and sometimes day time travel just too hot and not safe.

Do you have efficient air conditioning, if not how will you keep the car cool enough for the dog. If you don’t, even with windows open, when the ambient air temperatures is in the twenties or above its every hard for dogs to cool themselves.

What happens if you breakdown in searing temperatures where there is no shade, what are you going to do to ensure the dog stays safe?

Well here is what we recommend for very hot days:

No air conditioning, don’t take you dog. Instead travel at night, early morning or late evening.

Take water in a cool box and stop frequently to give the dog a drink.

Check the inside temperature of the car regularly, if it’s too hot stop!

Use cool mats / coats.

Sun visors on the windows can help keep out direct sunlight.

Monitor you dogs all the time!

Keep something in your car to make temporary shade in case you break down…a sun umbrella or a cage with a sheet is ideal.

All these measures will help you stay safe with your dog but if you do have to travel any distance why not travel at night, you may arrive a bit bleary eyed but you will have a less stressed dog! Don’t forget that if you are travelling to the UK at peak times, you may very well have a long queue to check in to the ferry or Eurotunnel.  Yesterday there was a 90 minute delay at border control! Many people aren’t prepared for this and it turns a half hour Eurotunnel ‘crossing’ into a lot longer a journey. Even with air conditioning this is simply too much for many dogs so don’t risk your animal’s health and only travel when you know you can keep them safe!

Stella….home at last!




More midnight manoeuvres!

Well we knew for definite that today we would have at least one adoption! We did in fact have 3 but tonight we will talk about our long timer Gus.  At 1am Darcey crept into the refuge to hand Gus over to the doggie transporter and he is now well on his way to his new home in the UK.

Gus arrived nearly 2 years ago when he was 3. He hadn’t had the best start in life and its been a long wait for him but as they say ‘all good things come to those who wait’ and at last he is off to his forever home in Yorkshire!

Like all of our departures to the UK he left with a DEFRA type 2 licenced transporter under TRACES.  This sounds a lot more complicated than it is. All we have to do is submit a form with passport and health check scans to our local DDCSP  and they issue us with the appropriate paperwork. This ensures that there are no delays at passport control in Calais and that he is a legal ‘import’ as far as DEFRA are concerned. It also ensures that there is no risk of our dogs being seized in Calais and put into quarantine and that we don’t get a very large fine!

I am sure that Gus is going to be very happy with his new mum Jane who is avidly watching his journey on a real time tracker!

Later this month we will have another doggy leaving for the UK in exactly the same way so watch this space!

As Darcey said in yesterday’s blog two years is a long time for a dog to wait but better that and go to the right home. It’s just over a year ago that Blackie went to his new home after three years wait.For any of you nervous about adopting a long termer, have a read of his story in the Life After The Refuge page on our website. The transition from refuge to home life was not at all dramatic, he is very happy and Wendy has a faithful, loyal companion!

I often think that long timers know when they are in the right home and are ever so grateful!

Tomorrow will be about the other two adoptions….and one of them is an oldie, so dont miss it!

Gus….be happy!