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Author Archives: Moira

A quiet Saturday…

Today we had no adoptions which really is quite unusual for a Saturday so I thought that we would have a look at how you can help by sponsoring a particular dog.

Lots of people sponsor and there are many reasons and may ways for doing it. Sometimes dog lovers are at a stage in their life where for practical or logistical reasons the cant have a dog. Often these people fall in love with one of our dogs so come along regularly to walk, play with and groom the dog. They spread the word amongst their friends in the hope of finding their dog a great home.

Others with good and creative IT skills create superb posters or ‘adverts’ as social media makes it really easy to share a dogs details and a high percentage of our dogs are adopted through sharing profile details.

For those who live too far to visit their ‘sponsor dog’  they often send collars, toys and treats which are really appreciated.

Donations towards their adoption fees are also very much appreciated. This often helps adopters who really like the dog but are a bit financially challenged.

If you would like to sponsor a dog, have a look at our ‘dogs in need of a sponsor https://www.facebook.com/SPA.CARCASSONNE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=635813599794989

There are of course people who just want to donate a small amount regularly and of course that is very welcome too. You can do this by paypal, bank transfer or just popping into the refuge with ash or a cheque.

So to all those sponsors and supporters we would like to say a special thank you.  Your’re generosity helps us make a real difference to our dogs lives.

Look at Dumbos super poster..



Dinky Doo adopted….

Tonights blog is both an early one and a short one  as we have a committee meeting to go to but at least its good news as we had an adoption!

Dinky Doo, a tiny little terrier cross who arrived at the SPA at the end of August is todays lucky boy. He had probably been knocked down by a car and had a fractured pelvis.  After an operation to repair the damage and lots of tlc he was finally ready for adoption a week or so ago.

Small, cute dogs generally dont have a long stay at the SPA and as anticipated, as soon as his photos and video went onto facebook we had lots of inquiries about him.

Today, just three days before his first birthday he went off to a new home.

I am sure that he will settle quickly but please remember that if you do adopt from us and have problems, we will do our very best to help you work your way through them. The most common problems are housetraining, recall, fear of new situations and integration with other animals in the household.

We are more than happy to talk you through most problems and if we think we need expert advice we have a dog trainer and behaviorist to help.

Dinky Doo..adopted!


Autumn hazards..

Today was a dull day at the SPA but there were plenty of volunteers and lots of dogs were walked. We had no adoptions and two arrivals who were then reclaimed so no change in numbers either way. We are lucky here as most autumn days are bright and sunny during the day so a  fantastic time to get out there with you dog and enjoy some super walks.

Like all seasons Autumn has its own dangers and one that is very hard to avoid especially where I live is conkers!  If ingested they can cause serious gastro intestinal problems so contact your vet if your dogs eats them.

The toxic substance that is contained within grapes and raisins is unknown; however these fruits can cause kidney failure. Pets that already have certain health problems may have an even more serious reaction so this is certainly one to avoid.

The worst of all the cold weather hazards are chemical spills of antifreeze, which can leak from a car’s radiator. Ethylene glycol ingestion is very dangerous. It is sweet tasting and very palatable and even a relatively small quantity can cause serious kidney damage and be fatal. The first signs of intoxication can be that your dog appears ‘drunk’.  If you know your dog has ingested ethylene glycol or you have any concerns, contact your vet without delay.  The prognosis becomes less good the longer the delay between ingestion of the anti freeze and initiation of treatment.

With Halloween just around the corner, there’s one simple rule for sweets: No! This is especially true of chocolate, which contains ingredients, like theobromine, that are toxic to dogs. Hide the treats well out if reach and male sure that the children don’t leave theirs lying around,

So get out and about with your dog this Autumn,enjoy the cooler weather but do be careful and avoid known hazards.



Rabies reminder…

For those you who travel with your dogs and have a passport, your dog will have had their rabies vaccination.

Previously, those dogs vaccinated in the UK were lucky enough to only need the vaccine every three years but those in France, annually. This was changed about 18 months ago but is still causing confusion.

Rabies vaccines are manufactured by Nobivac, Versican and Rabisin to name but a few. In France the length of recall now differs depending on the vaccine used.

If your dog has previously been vaccinated with Rabisin R, its next vaccine will last three years in France. Its really worth noting that most of the other common rabies vaccines are still 1 year.

Have a look at my dogs passport. You will see that he had Rabisin R on 13/2/14 which lasted until 13/2/15. When re vaccinated on 13/2/15 the same vaccine now lasts 3 years! Both vaccines were at my local vet in France.

If you look at your dogs passport and don’t see the Rabisin R vaccine sticker it may be worth speaking to your vet about changing the vaccine used so that you only need to vaccinate every three years. This means less money spent and less chemicals in your dog!

In France its not only dogs that travel that have a rabies vaccine. Some people elect to have this to protect their dogs against rabies and others to protect themselves and the dog should it bite anyone.

Any dog that has bitten a human must be evaluated by a vet.  Three visits are necessary, the first within 24 hours of the bite a second visit after 7 days and a third at 15 days.  After 15 days the vet will (assuming no risk) issue a certificate in triplicate declaring the animal free from rabies.  If it has had its rabies vaccine the papers can be issued right away!

So check your passport, speak to your vet and you should be able to vaccinate every three years.




Save a senior…

Today we had two reservations which isn’t bad for a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Both were recent arrivals, one an adolescent and the other a pup. Both will be leaving over the next few days.

This morning we had word from Twilight to say that Fred was settling in well and my thoughts turned to our other oldies in the refuge.

I am not quite sure whether they struggle most with the extreme heat of summer or the freezing cold of winter but life is a concrete kennel is very hard for them. With one walk per week all they live for is a kind word, a cuddle or some tasty treats from the volunteers.

There are many conversations with adopters about the age of the dog that you should adopt but most feel that if you adopt a younger dog you will have less vet fees and will have the dog longer.

Well you might…but no dog come with a guarantee.  There is no guarantee that a two year old will live to be 15 or that a 10 year old will only have a couple of years. And at some point your young dog will be older and you will have that cost anyway.

Some of our older dogs are very fit and healthy and have no ongoing vet costs. If they do have ongoing costs then they can often leave under FALD..foster of long duration. This is a great scheme where by the dog is yours for its lifetime but it comes to our vet and we pay the bills. This means that you have no vet bills if you are kind enough to take one of these oldies!

Older dogs have so much to offer. They are usually housetrained, easy to walk and a 20 minute totter around the park a couple of times a day is enough for them. They make instant, loyal companions…..all they ask for in return is a bed and affection.

So lets look at some of our oldies…and see if we can get them a home before winter.

Kipnak..Why this lovey boy has not been adopted I don’t know! He is 12.5 years old but you wouldn’t think it. He  loves his walks and other dogs…hes a really easy older boy in great health.


Larsouille..At 13.5 years old he is our oldest resident. A lovely older gent who just wants a  bed to call his own and a garden to potter in.


Claudius..Ten year old Claudius has not had an easy life. He is in desperate need of tlc and a warm bed before winter


Balou..A ten year old lovely griffon cross who is fine with some other dogs. Hes an affectionate, easy to walk boy!


Once a Flatcoat lover always a Flatcoat lover…

When its too hot to do much walking I often have a walk around the kennels giving out treats and saying hello to the newbies. About two weeks ago I was doing just that when I came across Lotus, a lovely 3 year old Flatcoat boy.

I have to say my heart skipped a beat as I do love Flatcoats and I know quite a few real doggy lovers who are fans of this breed. I took some photos and sent them to a lady who I know has a Flatcoat and has lots of doggy lovers as friends in the hope that we could find him the perfect home.

This lady adopted Pepper ( ex Flavie)  from us about a year and a half ago so has two dogs and had no intention of having a third but when she saw his photo it didn’t take long to get back to me to say that that they would in fact adopt him. Although that hadn’t been my intention I wasn’t a bit surprised!

Next we had to test him with cats as there is a 15 year pussycat in the household and we certainly wouldn’t want him stressed, so off he went for a cat test but no problems there, he was fine! Only one more thing to see to before he was good to go and that was castration. After a visit to the vet on Thursday he was then ready for his new family!

This afternoon, on their way home from holiday they stopped by the SPA, introductions went well with doggies Tally and Pepper and off he went!

To be adopted after two weeks in kennels is very lucky and to go to such a special home even more so!

I am sure that we will have regular updates and pictures..maybe even a Life After The Refuge story too!

Not long after Lotus left, Harley also left. The family who adopted him came along to meet him at last Sundays open day. They have no other dogs or cats and their previous dog was a Rottweiler so they are used to handling large breed dogs. They have an enclosed garden and understand that Harley, like all of our youngsters really need time, patience and training. This really is great news for Harley as he had been adopted from us as a happy pup after being in  foster with a volunteer. Its a fact that young males are statistically more likely to come into refuge and stay there the longest!

Parvo has unfortunately reared its ugly head again. A pup left at the gate had to be rushed to the vets as it was in a sorry state. Our vets are very experienced and we hope that the pup will pull through.  Dumping a pup with parvo at the gate really puts all of our dogs at risk. Reception had to be disinfected as did the vet van and cage. It could be of course that someone found a sick pup and thought it better to bring it to us. If you do find a dog who needs immediate vet care..take it direct to any vets. That way they get the care that the need and our other dogs are not put at risk.

Lotus saying hello to his new family,,,




Three adoptions!

From the time I left the refuge yesterday until I arrived today we had three adoptions! One of them was Jingo who was being cat tested as I left. He passed with flying colors so this lovely 2 year old berger cross left with his new family!

Next to leave was Ibis, a one year old levier cross followed by Flight a 2 year podenco cross. Both Ibis and Flight have one to live with the same family although not in the same household. That leaves one reservation from yesterday that you will hear about later in the week.

Today we had a visit from a couple who traveled from Brittany to meet us. When Terry and her husband moved to Brittany they knew that they wanted to extend their family. They came across our website and facebook page, liked it and started following the stories about our dogs and cats.

Lots of people see a dog on our site and after a long chat we have the dog transported to them but for Terry and John it was important that they met the animals and us before choosing their furry friends. Although their remit filled our heart with joy..two dogs and 2 cats, it was always going to be quite a task finding two dogs, small to medium sized who got on together, didn’t pull on the lead and were ok with cats! That would have been a big ask but I am happy to say one dog and two kittens were reserved!

The said dog and two kittens will be transported at the end of the month to Brittany.

When choosing a dog there are lots of things to consider…

  1. Size and exercise needs
  2. Breed traits
  3. Other family members ( human and animal)
  4. How much time that you have available for walking and training?
  5. Food and vet costs

Do your homework and ask questions! We know all of the dogs and what kind of lifestyle would suit them best.  Ask us for advice…we are happy to help!

Jingo adopted!


Ibis adopted!


Flight adopted!









Bye bye Fred and two reservations!

Day two of our open weekend and it was an early start for two of our volunteers!

When Fred ( ex Pepe) was found by the roadside, little did he know how much his life was going to change.

Without doubt this boy has had a hard life. Granted he is a bid breed Labrador cross but at only 10 years old he has cataracts, bad arthritis and had been left at the side of the road to die. What luck that he was spotted by Debbie’s friend who knew just who to call! He was of course covered in ticks and fleas, dehydrated and confused but nonetheless Debbie popped him into her car, kept him safe overnight and brought him to us the next day!

When Debbie told the story to Leanne who runs Twilight, a retirement home for older doggies, Leanne suggested that after his 10 day ‘pound’ time that he came to live out the rest of his life with their pack of about 30 elderly dogs. All of the dogs at Twilight live in the house with Leanne and Mike and have a wonderful life with good food, plenty of garden time, great vet care and of course lots of tlc! What a lucky boy, no concrete kennel for him!

So early this morning, he was picked up by volunteers Debbie and Julie and off he went. Once he has settled in I am sure that we will have lots of news of how he is doing. Thanks so much to the lady who spotted him in distress and called Debbie, to Debbie who helped this lovely boy and to Julie who helped with the transport.

Many, many thanks to Twilight. It’s not the first time that they have helped us out by taking an older doggie, we are very grateful!

Have a look for yourself at how wonderful a place Twilight is! (http://www.twilightchiens.com/)

The refuge was very busy this afternoon and we have two super reservations. Thanks to all of the volunteers and visitors who came along!

We would also like to say happy birthday to Benson who is six years old today and who was adopted by our volunteers Rebecca and James. He’s a lively little fellow who is loving life in the UK. He spends his days walking on the beaches or playing with his friends at doggy day care.

Fred who is now at Twilight!



Happy birthday Benson!


Vaccinations and immunity…

One question that we are often asked is ‘are the dogs vaccinations up todate’?

When you adopt a dog from the SPA, unless we tell you otherwise, it will have had its 1st and 2nd ‘CHPPi’ or combination vaccinations as well as its its kennel cough.

So what is in the shot? It’s a combination shot against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and para influenza.

To protect your pet from contagious diseases, you need to keep his essential vaccinations up-to-date by means of an annual booster and the date that this is due can be found on their health card or information sheet which we give you on adoption.

Most boarding kennels and some club canines do insist on the vaccinations being up to date otherwise you can elect to vaccinate or not. As vaccinations have become safer and better customized to each individual dog, it is becoming more common for vets to recommend less frequent vaccinations that are tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

This is a very controversial subject and doesn’t mean just ignoring the vaccine date but means liaising with your vet who can do a blood test to see whether you dog has immunity or not against these diseases.

Personally I choose to vaccinate annually as I am around all sorts of risks at the refuge and wouldn’t forgive myself if I infected my dogs. I have seen some of the nasties so would never leave my dogs unprotected. However,if I wasn’t a volunteer I wouldn’t vaccinate unless necessary but would have the blood test to check immunity levels.

So if you want your dog to have protection against these diseases, vaccinate annually or when they need it. No one, not even your vet can guess how long immunity lasts in each dog so use science to your advantage…a simple blood test is all that it takes.






Three super adoptions….

Despite the intense heat, adopters were still out and about today! Three very lucky dogs were adopted and one was reclaimed by his owners.

First to leave was Kenzo, a beautiful young golden retriever who was abandoned at the refuge when he had just turned 1. He was extremely thin so he went to foster where he proved to be a great family pet. He was fine with cats, children and other dogs, so was quickly adopted. Despite a home visit, the family turned out to be far from ideal, and in fact about a month later they were unable to keep him for financial reasons and an upcoming divorce. Kenzo went back into foster and today left with his forever family who will really appreciate this lovely young chap! Thank you to Aude and Carole for fostering this lovely chap and for giving him the love and care that he really needed.

Next to leave was Carl, a stunning German Shepherd who was admired by everyone that met him. He arrived having been found at the end of May and has now just turned 1 year old. For a young male shepherd, he is a dream, no jumping up, no pulling on the lead and he’s ok with cat’s! He was spotted on the facebook page by a super family who travelled over from Pau to meet him,so off he went to an experienced home where he will have the company of other dogs too!

Next to leave was Matahari, the really cute spaniel cross pup who was in foster with Estelle. This lovely girl was found straying and taken to a local vet who contacted us. Luckily for Matahari, Estelle stepped in as a foster mum and she didn’t have to endure refuge life. When a pup goes into foster we really get to know all about them and she proved to be a delightful little girl who was clean in the house and very sociable. Many thanks to Estelle for opening her heart and home to this little pup!

The fourth dog to leave was Dreyfus ( ex Omega) ‘s double. Luckily for him his owners were looking for him and he didn’t have too long a wait in kennels.

So four less dogs tonight for the SPA but two foster families who will be feeling delighted that their doggies have found their forever families but sad too, as its impossible not to fall in love with such super dogs!

Kenzo adopted..


Carl adopted..


Matahari adoped


Drefus went home..